Tuesday, February 28, 2012

District 14 Tribute: The Girl Who Shared Too Much

When I started my blog eight years ago, I meant for it to be an extension of the journals I’ve kept since I was a tween.  What started out as an outlet for my daily musings and dry humor turned into an intimate portrait of my life.  I started my blog right after quitting my job and beginning a series of tests, surgeries and infertility treatments in the hope of one day becoming a mom.  I shared with the world the emotions and physical side effects of going through the grueling process of Artificial Reproductive Technology.  My readers became my refuge, a safe place where I could turn when I was feeling down, which was most of the time.  Usually I hid my sadness behind sarcasm and humor, but on occasion I’d let my comedic shield down and allow my true emotions come to the surface.  It was during those times that my readers reached out to me to help me over the rough patches.  I shared my failures and my successes and as my reward, people read my words.  It is a basic human need to feel heard, and my blog had been the vessel through which people blessed me with their attentiveness. 

So why did I stop?  Did I shed the need for “blog therapy?”  Was it because I became a mother of two active boys and simply didn’t have the time?  Maybe in part, but the real reason has much more to do with fear.  Fear of the judgment, the shame or worse, the recriminations I fathomed in my mind.  I feared putting my feelings into words, public words, would make them all the more real.  I feared letting the world know that:

My husband and I are getting a divorce.

It has taken me a long time to get those words out.  The advent of social media has increased traffic to my blog tenfold, so my once intimate group of readers grew exponentially.  I struggled immensely with coming out with such private news.  I could easily write about my ovaries and cervix and the most intimate parts of my body, but the real test was when I faced revealing the most intimate parts of my heart.  Being diagnosed with endometriosis and premature ovarian failure was not my fault.  But revealing my divorce opened me up to judgments of failure I wasn’t sure I could face. 

You see, my walls were caving in around me.  My marriage was buried under the rubble and I was too afraid to share.  I kept writing, but I kept my thoughts and words to myself.  I had lots to say; my personal journals are filled with more than two hundred thousand words, written in a span of  five years.  I turned inward.  I abandoned my blog, and as a result most of my readers left. 

I am back but the landscape is not the same. 

I changed my direction with writing.  I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of being a published author and started working on my first novel.  I’ll still blog about my musings and crazy mom antics, but I added some other features to my blog as well, including book reviews and creative short stories. 

The one promise I made to myself when my troubles began was that I would always stay true to myself.  I believe in order to be a successful writer, one must expose the innermost parts of their soul.  Characters can’t come alive through a writer who is cloaked in falsity.  No matter how scared and vulnerable it makes me feel, being less than truthful is a crime.  So as I make the promise to be true to myself, I make the promise to be true to my readers as well. 

I am grateful, so very grateful, for those who read my words. 


Daisy Among Roses said...

Thank you for sharing your words. You will find, as I am learning that the more you share, you remove the shame and connect to others on a deeper level. I wish you healing in your writing.

Hugs and Blessings,


Shannon said...

Thank you, Claire. Your support is much appreciated. Thank you for sharing your words, too! They help me heal more than you know!

Patrick Burrows said...

Writing often helps people deal with things -- helps them coalesce otherwise jumbled thoughts into a complete picture. Looking at things through the lens of a writer can give a sense of distance from some immediate pain.

Choosing to share your writing can be like opening up a wound to the air. It might be painful at first, but ultimately it helps it heal. Not sharing just makes those wounds fester.

You will get past this and be stronger for it.

Shannon said...

You're so right, Patrick. Let the air in. Breathe.

Thank you for your kind words of support.

Colleen said...

Well said Shannon! Looking forward to reading your first novel. :)

Shannon said...

Thank you, Colleen.