I’ve spent the latter part of today feeling vulnerable.
I’ve had a problem with this blog of sorts. It wasn’t a big problem; at least I don’t think it is at this point. I think I might have just had a hacker of sorts. I haven’t gotten the specifics back of the scan I paid for yet, but basically it sounded like an unsavory website was trying to increase its search engine ranking by inserting code into my website to make it look like I linked there.
Or at least that’s how I understand it. Or misunderstand it. Who knows at this point.
It made me feel really discouraged. I already pay to have this site hosted and for the domain name, and now I’m shelling out more money to protect my site from people who promote content that goes against everything I believe in.
I want my site to be a place of honesty and integrity. It’s not always pretty, but it’s real. And I share that struggle because I find that’s where hope lies — in that small space where we share a piece of ourselves and find we don’t crumble in the process.
But I get bothered by things, and it’s probably things that most people wouldn’t be so bothered by. Stuff like this. And mean comments. Strangers telling me that the things that I share are pointless and a waste of their time.
And it made me question this whole lifestyle.
A few months ago, I had hundreds of readers. In the grand scheme of the web, that’s less than raindrop in the Atlantic. Now that I write for other sites as well, there are a lot more readers. Thousands instead of hundreds. And from where it stands right now, that will probably grow. At least that’s the plan.
It’s what I’ve wanted. It’s what all writers want — we want our voices heard.
And yet when they are heard, it gets scary.
I start to worry.
What if my pictures are stolen?
What if I’m sharing too much about my children? I try to write about myself as a mom rather than about them as people, but the two obviously intersect.
What if I embarrass people I know by sharing so intimately about myself and my life?
And what if they laugh at my girls, then, because of what I share?
I get worried by my insecurities — what if people don’t like what I have to say — but that doesn’t stop me from writing. What could stop me is if it hurts or embarrasses others.
But here’s the problem. I don’t know how to stop.
I don’t write because I think I have something important to say. I don’t write because I like the sound of my words. I don’t write because I want people to like me.
I write because it’s the only way I know how to exist in the world.
For many, many years, I was so afraid of touching the world. I would hole up in myself, afraid my every word or action or touch could hurt those around me. I lived trying not to make waves, trying as hard as possible not to really exist.
And obviously that isn’t living at all, and it leads to some pretty dark places.
Slowly, I started to venture out. I can’t say I’m fully comfortable now. There are still times when I want to lock the world out because I’m so afraid of hurting people. But I’m much better at overcoming that these days.
When I decided to start this blog a few years ago, it was a big step for me. After so many years of hiding who I was and what I thought and believed and how I experienced life, I decided to let people know.
And I love it.
For me, there is nothing more rewarding than sharing the less than perfect parts of me and seeing that others are still there and that in fact, others share the same doubts and trials and struggles. I don’t think there’s any better way to connect with someone than through absolute integrity. People don’t relate to the shiny parts of other people’s lives. They relate to the struggles. The struggles unite us.
And so to realize that I now have a larger audience with which to share my message is absolutely exhilarating to me. I can be real for more people and I can make more people feel less alone in their struggles. I can make a difference.
But then the doubts come in. The insecurities.
It might sound weird and probably obnoxious, but I don’t really feel like I’ve chosen to write like this. I didn’t sit down one day and think, “gee I’m going to start sharing all the dark parts of my life.”
I write because I don’t know how not to. I don’t know how to keep all of this in my head and stay sane. And I don’t know how to make sense of this whole life unless I can use it to connect with others and make others feel like they have companions on their journey.
So I don’t really know where I’m going with this.
Like I said, I’m just feeling vulnerable. And uncertain. And discouraged. And foolish.
But tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow I will begin again.