I’ve been a little quiet for the past couple of weeks. From the high of daily (ish) blogging it was a bit of a comedown. So, without excuses or blame, I want to tell you what was going on in the hopes it might clear the way for some words to show up.
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
― Anne Lamott
You know the quote, right? Maybe you’ve heard of it. I was never sure how I sat with that. After all, we each have our experiences of things, who says our version is THE version. In fact it’s something I’ve always been cautious about on this blog, because even when people THINK I might be talking about them, usually I’m not.
So I avoid blogging about experiences that aren’t mine or commenting on things happening in other people’s lives. Which, like I said, has served me. However, this past month and I felt like there was nothing to say that wouldn’t be seen as commenting, alluding to someone else’s situation or even offering an opinion/preaching.
I’m questioning everything.
It’s the worst.
To shake it, I just sat down to write. Monday was our anniversary, we celebrated 13 years. While I was pondering what I write about marriage and relationships, I worried about how that would land for some people in our life. Then the other day, I was feeling overwhelmed by social media and when I went to write about it, it felt like I was having a dig at people who ‘do the thing’ that was overwhelming me.
See what I mean? Those are just the two most recent examples. I’m sure it occurs to some of you (myself included) that my procrastination technique of discarding everything I write before it has been published might be back. I get that, I wonder about that too.
But, I also wonder if sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
The last thing I would want is for someone to read what I have written and feel like them enjoying their Instagram moment was making me feel like crap and they should stop. Or that someone who has recently confided in my is now the topic of a blog post. I choose to share my life here, others have the right to choose too.
Boundaries has long been a question for bloggers, certainly those that share their children’s lives, but it goes further than that. We are responsible for the words we use and the stories we tell. Most importantly to the context of this post, how we tell them. The tone and the intended outcome.
How do I write, share and document my life when my thoughts and ideas feel so tied up in my experience (and the experience of others) right now? This is the question. My current age-old question which, as I write this, it occurs to me that there’s a pretty simple resolution.
Ask myself, what is the intention of my writing?
If I’m worried that there’s judgement or opinion about how someone is living their life, maybe there is. And I need to take a look at that. What if what I’m writing is coming out as judgmental and preachy because that’s the space I’m in right now? Possible, right?
When I look at a post, and the intention is to help or serve, not shame or judge, that should be clear. It’s something that I can stand by if it does come up as a problem for someone. I think that’s the way I’m going to go about it. Because giving up and saying nothing, well that won’t work for me. I think we all knew that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts? Have you ever crossed the line with someone else’s story? How do you balance sharing what is true of your experience and other people’s version of things? Do you think my intention thing will work or am I just giving myself a free pass?
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.