While talking about your child’s poop has become acceptable and expected practice online, discussing the personal details of your marriage still seems to be considered rather “radical”.
Especially when you’re not anonymous.
From the moment I hit publish on a post like Friday’s, I brace myself for the inevitable “what the hell were you thinking?!?!” from friends and strangers alike.
I’ve heard it enough times to recognize it in the “have you lost your mind?” emails and the “I don’t think the Internet is the best place for this” comments. And still… I write it. I edit it. I post it.
And then I wake up the next morning and open my email and see the comments, from friends and strangers alike, on the state of my relationship with my husband. I read the empathetic and the encouraging messages. I skim through the advice and the admonishments.
After about 10 comments I ask myself, “what the hell were you thinking?”
Marriage is a sacred thing. A relationship more private and personal even than parenting. So why hold it out for public consumption?
I sure as hell don’t do it for the advice.
Or as we bloggers like to call it, Internet Assvice. That’s not a slam on anyone who has ever tried to offer a helpful suggestion via blog comments (raising my hand on that one! all the time! I’m like the fucking Dear Abby of the Internet comment sections!) But it’s the truth. The chances of anyone’s assessment of your personal life being completely accurate because they read your blog are about the same as receiving the Secret Of Life from the Magic 8 Ball.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot from comments on this blog. And I’ve definitely been poked and prodded into new directions from the varying perspectives offered here. But even still – I never blog about my personal life because I’m waiting for the Internet to solve my problems
So, why then? Why bother? Why spill the details here?
A few reasons.
When I can’t think, I write.
Having to pull the thoughts out of the tangled underbrush and lay them out, each one, side by side in words and sentences creates order from the chaos. It forces me to think in terms of the tangible and the real instead of wallowing in the rawness of colors and feelings.
Of course, not everything that was written was meant to be read. Was it?
Maybe not. I used to write in a journal when I was a teenager, and I poured out my heart about the wrongs of the world. I was the star and the damsel and the victim in every page, and I knew that no one would ever challenge that assertion as long as my words remained safe from scrutiny.
Writing to be read forces me to be accountable, for my words as well as my ideas, beliefs and actions.
Because of that accountability, there are limits to what can be written. I will never post anything that I wouldn’t say “out loud”. I will never attack someone here who can’t defend themselves. And I will never, ever say anything to The Internet that I wouldn’t and haven’t said to my husband.
I might say it more clearly here, but the concepts themselves do not make their debut online.
(OK, that’s less of an explanation for why I blog about my marriage and more of a DEFENSIVE REACTION. Heh. ANYway – am. not. retard. Moving on.)
There’s another part of this equation for me, another reason why I detail the roller coaster that is married life here. And it is probably the most egotistical reason of all.
I do it because I think I was meant to.
I am a sharer. Some people sing and some people dance. Some people do miraculous research that cures cancer and slows beach erosion. I? Share.
I do it without thinking of the consequences or potential for humiliation. It seems I was wired together without those protective measures in place. I also seem to be missing a filter and something called shame. Naivety is A RARE GIFT, PEOPLE!
ANYway, it took me a long time to realize that not everyone was made this way. It took me even longer to realize that that did not necessarily mean I was some mutated freak. And it was longer still before I began to see that maybe I was made this way for a reason.
People seem to need sharers.
I know I do. I seek them out and cling to them to be reminded that I am not the first to find myself Right Here, wherever that may be Right Now. They can’t walk my path for me, but I’m grateful for the light they can shed on the next few steps I have to take.
About a month ago, I said that I couldn’t make a difference. I was lost and shaken by the notion that I was useless in the world.
The night I wrote that post, a friend of mine called and asked how I handled internet hate. I laughed at first and asked her why in the hell she would look to me for guidance on anything that involved “handling” and not “publicly falling apart”. Her response surprised me.
“I know you’ve been through it, and I’ve seen how you’ve handled it.”
Over an hour later, just before she hung up the phone, she said something that will stick with me forever. “Thank you. That’s exactly what I needed. What you said made perfect sense. You made everything clear for me.”
I knew, in that moment, that in some small way I had made a difference for her. I had helped her in a way that no one else had been able to. And not because I was wiser or smarter or more talented than anyone else she could have asked.
I had helped simply because I had been there before. And she knew because I had told her. She knew because I had shared, never thinking that anyone else would ever find my own struggle helpful in any way.
And that’s why I talk about my marriage in front of the Internet.
Because not everyone can. And somebody needs to.