Saturday, September 4, 2010


I love blogging.  I really do enjoy being able to write about the things that are on my mind.  It’s a great outlet.  A wonderful way to clear my head of all the random thoughts bouncing around in it.  However, I’m always torn about how I feel about the public nature of it.

On the one hand, I love the idea of publicly sharing my ideas.  I love the thought of getting responses from people, the possibility of sharing a dialogue about the things I think about. Of gaining new perspectives and maybe even provoking someone else to think about things a new way. When I think about it this way, I would love to have lots of people reading my blog.  Would love to build up a following of readers.  

On the other hand, I often hope that no one is reading my blog.  In fact I am often tempted to close it down to readers and make it completely private, for my eyes only - to use it as more as a journal than a blog.  I actually tried this a while back.  I set up a blog to write my “Morning Pages,” a creative exercise.  It worked for a while, but I soon got bored with it.  I wanted feedback, wanted that dialogue.

And yet, there are many, many things about my life, and particularly my thoughts, that I am uncomfortable with sharing with others.  The one thing I learned in my life very early on is that humans are judgmental creatures.  We look at the thoughts and actions of others and we compare them to what goes on in our own heads and lives and we label them right or wrong and act accordingly.  I fear judgment.  I strive, and often fail, to not judge others, and I am petrified of the idea of others judging me.

Maybe it comes from growing up in an environment where I was so different from everyone else.  I’ve talked about it before.  It wasn’t just that I was a Black girl in a predominantly white neighborhood. It was also that I was taller than everyone, started puberty years before my peers, and had a single mother who was a very young (22 when I entered kindergarten) Playboy Bunny when most everyone else had two parents, one of which was often a stay at home mom.  Every day of my childhood was a struggle to fit in, a struggle to not be judged too different, to be accepted.

It was more than that too.  I think I’ve always been different inside as well as out.  Even as a young child, I lived in my head a lot.  I thought about things I never heard other kids talk about or say they thought about.  I  can remember being young, maybe 3 or 4 and thinking, especially in the early mornings, about remembering where I was before I was born.  I would often wake in the morning, remembering dreams of the place I had been before.  A place that was very green and beautiful and filled with warm light.  I could remember that I didn’t want to leave there to come into this life and  was upset when I was told that I had to go.  I would lie in my bed quietly in the morning wishing for the time when I was finished here and could go back to that place.

Even as young as I was, I knew these were not things other people talked about and I kept those memories and thoughts to myself.  When I did slip and tell people the things I thought, they were usually rejected or dismissed and I grew to know that, though I could pretend to be like other people, I wasn’t and that it was better to close my differentness away.  Through both circumstance and choice, I became a bit of a loner. 

I enjoyed time with other people, but it often tired me, still does.  I grew to love the time I spent by myself, with my own thoughts.  Away from the, sometimes overwhelming, ideas and needs and behaviors of other people, I could be completely myself.  And, over the years, I also learned that people judge you less harshly when you give them what they want and need.  I became a giver, a helper, hoping that when little holes appeared in my facade of normalcy, that people would like me enough for all I did for them that they wouldn’t be so quick to toss me aside because of their judgments.

Now I am older, stronger, more comfortable with who I am and have less of a desire to be what other people are.  And I write this blog and wonder how much it really matters how other people judge me.  One thing I’ve learned is that judgments come no matter how hard I try to avoid them.  I’ve also learned that those judgments have little to do with me.  People act and react and judge according to their own experiences, their own thoughts and beliefs.  No one ever really does anything to someone else.  We are all focused on ourselves.  We all act out of our own interests even when those actions affect others.  Judgments always say more about the person making them than the one they are pointed at.

So, from that point of view, I suppose I should be OK with being completely open and honest on this blog.  Yet, a lifetime of choosing to keep my thoughts, and sometimes my actions, private does not fade easily.  I think it will be a while before I can be completely open on this blog, before I am willing to accept the impact such exposure can bring into my daily life.

*Interesting that I wrote this and then immediately made a huge change in my life that I now have to decide whether or not to share on this blog.  To do so would be to break out in a run before standing or walking.  

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