How Blogging and Vulnerability Brought Me to My Truth
I recently created and launched a blog in an effort to process my grief after losing my sister to suicide. It contains stories and poetry about love and loss, and the content is raw and revealing.
I’m realizing as I write, that I am revisiting subject matter and emotions that have not been entirely processed yet. It hit me this morning that the blog itself is coaxing me into a new phase of healing, and I don’t mind telling you, it scares the shit out of me.
Initially, the plan was to put pen to paper, to release the immediate emotional pain in any way that felt organic to me. This simple process produced several poems, most of which moved effortlessly through me, as if I was a channel for some wayward spirit (and maybe I was).
It was spooky at times, but beautiful, and I was relieved that the words in my head finally found their resting place, next to the art that was created around the same time. The main purpose of the blog though, was to tell my story, and I couldn’t get it started.
After several months of frustration, I eventually found some clarity and the words started taking shape. I had hoped for an ebb and a flow, one that would make sense to a prospective reader, but I drove myself crazy trying to organize my grief. I decided instead, to focus on my own needs—one blog at a time. That had to be enough for now.
I wrote the first story and published the website. I felt a sense of euphoria! The silence was broken and I had been liberated! I sent the link to everyone I knew, and the site traffic increased. The next story was written and posted the following morning, and the overall feedback was positive and encouraging. My vision was realized, and I was on top of the world…
The funk that proceeded, revealed the classic earmark signs of a syndrome Brené Brown refers to as a “vulnerability hangover.” I felt irritable and exposed. I had just revealed my open wounds to the entire world (or 350 people—Tomatoes/Tomahtoes). What the hell made me think that was a good idea? I panicked and second guessed everything I had written, but there was no turning back. I couldn’t press undo, so I hid in the bathroom.
It took me a while to get a grip, but I eventually opened the door and reentered the human race. I came to realize that speaking your truth comes at a price, but not speaking it comes at a much greater one. I knew it was time to walk my talk. I forged ahead, tossing fear to the wind.
A couple months later, I reached out to my creative cohorts; a group of lovely, diverse women I’d met while taking an online class in manifesting creative living. We had spent more than six months together as a group, which ended last October. I was stuck and knew they could help me. Because, well, they always do.
True to form, they rallied with their unconditional love and encouragement, offering kind words and fresh ideas. Communing with them always renews me in a magical sort of way. They are like a breath of fresh air…with fairy dust. I mustered my courage, and got back to work.
It’s funny how writing tends to take its own direction, leading you down roads you never intended to travel. In my futile attempt to drive, the blog took the wheel and pulled me another direction, right into the middle of more unfinished business.
Well, shit. Either I face it now, or it will hunt me down like a wild dog. “Fine,” I thought, “I will look at you, but I don’t have to like you.”
“No,” I heard it whisper back, “But I do need you to love me.”
The freak out was absent this time, but the grief and anger was aching to be seen and heard unaccompanied by analysis and judgement. After six months of this push and pull, I think I’m finally learning to trust the process, though honestly, this isn’t easy work (but it is work.)
The business of waking up and living your truth is not for the faint of heart.
I decided last year I wanted to take a break from intimate relationships. Maybe forever. They were just too much work after all, and I had nothing left to give. Maybe staying soulfully single wasn’t the worst thing in the world. After all, I could avoid a lot of pain and heartache that way. It was then, that I heard the Universe giggle. “You already are!”
She and my blog made other plans.
This post previously appeared on Medium.