“Why haven’t you been writing as much?”
“Oh, you know, don’t have much to say these days.”
Which is true. Lots of thoughts, not a lot of formation.
But the real truth?
“I read your blog — not all the time. Sometimes I feel like it’s too personal.”
So, there you go.
That’s what’s been keeping me away: this quick sentence from a friend that has made me reevaluate and second-guess almost every post I’ve thought of.
I don’t think of this blog as too personal.
“Really? You do?” I asked. “Because I was thinking how I leave so much out, how there are always these glaring holes of what’s really going on.”
~ ~ ~
This weekend, I posted pictures on Facebook of my trip to Brooklyn to visit my recently-relocated friend. We were smiling in the sun and looked absolutely ridiculous with ring pops.
What I left out was that we both tired of those ring pops before they were gone. That
I got lost on the subway a grand total of three times. That I had blisters like you read about. That I wandered the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone with a backpack weighing thirty pounds slung across my belly “to protect the art.”
That I couldn’t sleep on the train ride there or home because my mind was racing to the blur of the landscape.
Even today, I posted a picture of the girl I babysit. The caption?
A woman after my own heart — how do you not love kids who beg you to take them fishing?
The sun was beautiful on the water. It was still and quiet. The lily pads were in bloom and blue and red dragonflies swooped together among the flowers.
What I didn’t write?
That five minutes later, I had two whiney kids who couldn’t cast for the life of them (and apparently aren’t able to put a worm on a hook). There was pushing and accusations when a brother knotted the line, whining because it was so hot and the water bottles I’d painstakingly packed were “warm.”
It was only about half an hour later that I decided:
You know what? Let’s just sit with our feet in the water, ’cause this is exhausting and I can’t take it.
~ ~ ~
So what am I trying to say? Something about social media? How it’s a manicured version of ourselves? How we present only the good and beautiful and leave the ugly at home?
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some things that need to be ugly. It’s the unique parts that make someone worth reading. It’s the specific that makes writing resonate with you.
Sometimes armpits are hilarious. Sometimes they’re just gross.
More than that, though, it’s an echo of what I’ve written about earlier.
There’s always more going on under the surface. Perhaps I do get too personal here, but it’s usually because it feels comfortable. It feels like the space to write things I care about. It feels like the space to figure out what it means to be me — both as a writer and as a human.
8 Replies to “Too Personal”
I find your post refreshingly authentic. I can so relate to your assessment of what we choose to put on social media. It is a “manicured version of life” and I’m pretty sure that’s true for everyone. So, when I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself as I see the parade of fantastic happiness, I try to remember that there probably were some down to earth moments too. I’m not comfortable sharing heartaches, so I’m as guilty as the next in how I present my life to the social network. But here, in a blog, it’s refreshing to read something personal. . . Finally, someone is speaking truth. It’s not too personal!
It’s so strange because I feel like you can’t win. If you show only super groomed, happy things, you isolate those who aren’t in that place. If you’re too open about sadness and pain, people find you annoying. There really is no happy medium, I guess. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
Oh my word. You are fantastic at being you, and if they can’t take the “you-ness” of your writing, then what-EV-er. 🙂 i love that you are real and honest and share yourself. It’s refreshing and uniquely you! Please don’t stop writing…you have beauty and truth to wrestle out of experiences. I love reading that.
Thanks, Jen. I wish we could catch up more in real life! 🙂
The definition of too personal is in itself personal . You need to share what you are comfortable with sharing and if it is more personal than what someone else is comfortable with, so be it . People are trying to force everyone into a single mold in the name of progress, although I am not sure what we are progressing to in the end
I agree – we can each decide what is appropriate for ourselves. It’s about being okay when someone disagrees with us. It’s the diversity in opinion that makes us interesting; I can’t imagine living in a world where we’re all the same shade of whatever.
I relate so much to the feeling of not being able to win. And I have grown to hate social media with a passion because it’s just so damn fake. Also, lots of times a friend or acquaintance has said something off the cuff that really hurt or just plain stuck. People say things and they don’t realize how others carry those things with them for a long time.
Keep on keeping on, Catherine.
Anna, I’m so sorry you’ve been hurt. I think it’s important to remember that social media isn’t necessarily evil – we, humans, hurt each other every day, face-to-face and otherwise. The reason it’s so easy to be hurtful online is because we don’t see the other person’s reaction. We can say whatever we want and never experience the repercussions. I find my fingers are quick to type and then I stare at what I’ve written and I think, “Huh, that’s gonna come across WAY worse than I intended.” I remember this when I feel saddened or annoyed by other people’s posts. Giving the benefit of the doubt is hard, but it saves me a lot of annoyance 🙂