In the past week, I’ve had a number of enthusiastic responses from my readers to fellow WordPress blogger Abbey F’s article, “Why Blogging Scares Me,” which you can read below (or check it out at her blog, laughinglovingeating). Indeed, this was Abbey’s first published article, which was featured as a top ten WordPress post and has received a whopping number of 595 comments to date.
For me, “Why Blogging Scares Me” struck a chord. On a personal level, I share some of Abbey’s qualms about putting my words and thoughts out there in such a public forum. Not that I would put it quite as vividly as she does.
“After spending a few weeks believing that I was clinically insane,” Abbey writes, describing her reluctance to publish her first post, “I finally realized that I am terrified of you. Yes, you, dearest potential reader(s). Not in a ‘people scare me’ kind of way, but more so of the idea that you will come, you will read, you will see the truest form of me, you will leave, and.you.will.not.care.”
Hmmm, I think to myself. Well, I’m not terrified of my potential readers, and if they don’t care, that’s OK. But suppose I offend someone? Suppose I’m too blunt about the often gritty realities of personal care (see Incontinence Briefs and A Story About My Hands)? Suppose I talk too much about my personal struggles (see Is Food a Problem)? Suppose something I write about a health care issue contains inaccuracies? And what about typos and grammatical errors? I used to be a proofreader, so I have high standards for myself, but I know that mistakes are inevitable.
Yet on a professional level, I believe it’s important for me as a paid caregiver to share my truths with you. For one thing, my guess is that people outside the profession don’t often have an opportunity to see what it’s like for us to help families provide hands-on, personal care to elders and others who need assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and brushing their teeth. So on a practical level I’m hoping to demystify the work I do.
In addition, on a deeper level, I believe that sharing truths, communicating about thoughts and feelings, needs and wishes, doubts and fears, is part of healing. As I’ve written elsewhere in these pages, the paradox of healing is that in becoming more vulnerable, in revealing to ourselves and to another person the precise nature of our suffering, we gain the power that comes with seeking and accepting help.
Thank you so much for listening.