When it comes to blogging or any kind of non-fictional writing, there's this so-called notion that one should appear polished and "together." In terms of grammar and punctuation, of course you should make sure that it's edited and flows well; It's hard to read anything that's full of run-on sentences, misspellings and the like. But when it comes to content, that becomes a different aspect all in itself.
During my first couple of years of blogging, it was easy to sugar-coat my life. Initially, I thought having a blog was all about discussing the good things and convincing others that I was doing all right; this was particularly true during my freshman year of college, when the majority of my readers were those that thought I wouldn't last a semester away from home.
More so, there was a side of me that I really didn't want other people to see, especially those that I was just in the process of getting to know and hadn't actually opened up to yet.
I've written a lot of posts that are very deep and insightful, but the first one that I was downright terrified to write about was my witnessing a friend go through a painful time in his life, and how for a long time I felt like it had been my fault. Up until that point, I hadn't really been honest about how much the whole experience had hurt me, and how in some ways I was still hurting. I was afraid that people would just keep telling me to suck it up and move on.
Most of what I wrote from September to December 2011 was incredibly tough. I was in therapy, learning how to properly dealing with some things that I had all but swept under the rug for a very long time. I was also living in a toxic environment with someone that I wasn't meshing with, and I had to be careful about how I handled the situation for the sake of shit not hitting the fan (not right away, that is). Throughout those four months, there were some details that I shared and others that I left out. I can honestly say that I don't regret it.
Baring your soul is a nerve-racking, sometimes terrifying concept; whenever I wrote about something deeply personal, I always expected a negative reaction to it. That's not to say that it didn't happen, but not in a way that I was aware of it. On the other hand, it was almost always extremely clarifying: I don't like purposefully trying to hide anything, or having to jump through hoops to do it. Sometimes I find it better to just say what I need to say.
The other aspect is that everyone is usually in some type of pain or coping with difficult circumstances. As cliche as it is, you never know what your story can do for someone else. I've been on both sides of the fence, having made a difference for those who have read my blog, and having been moved by other blogs as well. Sharing one's heart in writing is a huge risk to take, but understanding that you're telling the truth and being real with your readers is the greater reward.
That does not mean you should set boundaries or limits for yourself. Whenever I'm discussing a subject involving those that I'm connected to, I do my best not to include names. Regardless of my feelings toward a person or group of people, it's important to still be respectful of their feelings and privacy. Whenever I write, the goal is not to purposefully cause any pain, but to be authentic and to encourage.
And although authenticity is important, I don't always share every single detail of my experience if I am not comfortable with it. Not everyone needs to know everything. And in terms of writing, readers should be able to figure out how you feel about it without you having to spell it out. Share the facts and how you feel about them, but be careful not to get too caught up where your main message gets totally lost
Sadly, not everyone will accept or agree with what you have to say. Personally, it's tempting to want to fight back and defend myself with someone leaves a not-so-nice comment. While I haven't been "trolled" yet (i.e. those in cyberspace that seem to make it their mission to find blogs to hate, when they can simply stop reading them) I can't say whether or not it won't happen. I've said it before and I'll say it again: developing a thick skin is almost a necessity for blogging, or any kind of writing. Rejection, in whatever way that may be, is part of the territory. It will hurt and it will suck. But at the end of the day, there's really nothing you can do about it; you have to simply accept it as an opinion and move on.
Every human being has a story; often times, multiple stories within a story. Whatever they may be, and whatever you may have gone through to be able to stand up and tell it, it is worth sharing. It may have a few grisly details and it may not have the happiest of endings, but that does not mean there isn't any good that can come of it. There's always a chance of giving someone hope and encouragement; of letting them know that they're not alone, and that they're loved and cared for.
There is a chance that you might end up saving a life.
The question is not whether yours deserves to be shared, because it most definitely does. More or less, are you ready to share it, and if so, how?
Write. Speak. Do whatever you need to do. If you want to see change in the world, you have to speak up!
I won't say that my posts in the near future will be "controversial." However, they're going to be about topics that I have been mulling over for a long time. They're going to be deep, and there's a possibility of ruffling some feathers. My hope, ultimately is that we might even get a bit of dialogue going. I've never had a discussion before on my blog, and it will be interesting to see the way things turn out.