Following Up on Abbey’s Article, “Why Blogging Scares Me”

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.

2 thoughts on “Following Up on Abbey’s Article, “Why Blogging Scares Me”

  1. I had fears when I first started blogging, fears about all the points you mention here and probably a few more! What I discovered over time has erased my fears … wonderful, encouraging, funny, humble, talented, silly, creative blogging PALS! A whole new community has opened up to me, online, people who never fail to evoke emotions in me, and I’m sure in others. In fact, I have stopped calling them ‘readers’ and without being aware of it, have merged to calling these terrific e-friends, “you”! I am glad we found each other out here in the blogosphere, and I am going to continue to enjoy your thoughts, feelings and the information you share on a tough, tough topic … elder care!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cheryl. I love your description of blogging pals! When I was a young mother, I wrote scads of letters, mostly to one confidante, usually after putting my son to bed. Later, when I was working as a one-woman band on issues affecting women and families, I’d write a quick paragraph on life at the scene for our weekly newsletter. So writing Joyous Paradox feels a bit familiar, but the instant dialogue part of it is amazing.

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