The vulnerable & brave art of authentic blogging

I used to be more authentic with blogging. Back before I knew people didn’t share those things with the general public. But then the judgment came.

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I’m listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast, and as much as I have refrained from liking her too much, I have grown to love her. Seriously, I thought Glennon Doyle was the equivalent of a Pumpkin Spice Latte, where she’s basic and pretends to be more special than spices and milk, and we all love and hate her at the same time. I never hated her, but I never thought she was super unique either. Maybe I thought she was too saccharin sweet, kind of like a PSL.

Somehow that changed. I think I fell in love with Glennon Doyle for the same reason everyone else fell in love with her – because Glennon is authentic. I thought she wasn’t. I thought she said things all of us were thinking and just made everything dramatic. But she was SAYING ALL THE THINGS WE ARE THINKING because so many of us aren’t….because so many of us feel unsafe to do so. Glennon Doyle has created a safe space where messy vulnerability and imperfect human thoughts are the norm, and all of us get to feel less weird because of it. 

I used to be more authentic with blogging. Back before I knew people didn’t share those things with the general public. Like when I shared about being a Wine Country soccer mom who bought the team snacks with food stamps, or when my daughter wanted to leave my nest to move in with her father, or when I fought hard against the lack of humanity within my faith, or when I spoke about the scary hard stuff in my divorce, or when I had to ask for help as a single mom. The authenticity was contagious, and through the comments I found my tribe. Sharing my truth became a passion of mine. 

But then the judgment came. Perfect strangers showed up in the comments, telling me I was doing it wrong and attacking my character (or my kids!). I began to hesitate before pushing publish because I was afraid of the backlash. Then, once published, I’d disappear for a while until the storm had passed.

And now here we are. I have my moments of openness, but I’m still very cautious. My personal thoughts stay in my private journal, and the words I pick for my blog are carefully chosen. They’re safe. They’re things I don’t mind perfect strangers knowing about me, or they’re things I think someone else might benefit from. But they’re still safe enough I avoid the shame storm. Most of the time, that is. There are a few personal things that leak out there

I think it’s okay to hold things back, though. I don’t need to make all my thoughts, musings, and happenings public, especially when it feels unsafe to do so. But here’s where I’d like to grow: When I’m holding back because I’m afraid of what people will say. When I’m cautious because I think they’ll judge me for having those thoughts. When I fear they’ll tell me I’m doing things wrong. When I believe they’ll capitalize on all the fears I already have about my private thoughts, and make me even more self-conscious about them. 

Or when I refrain from writing because I’m afraid readers will grow bored of my rambling, which, honestly, makes up most of my private journaling.

I’d love to regain some of that early bravery (or, rather, naiveté) I had in blogging when I was transparent about things like my messy faith, my mistakes and doubts in parenting, and so on. Back when I found deep connections with others going through their own messiness in life and were grateful to find an ally. Because, honestly, we’re all messy. We all have dark thoughts. We all wonder if we’re the weirdest person out there while everyone else is living their best Instagram life. 

I’m here to tell you I’m not. And even though raw honesty over the hard stuff can sometimes leave me with a vulnerability hangover, it also has the potential of leaving me lighter and able to move on. And, like Glennon Doyle, I would love to create a safe space where people can be authentic without fear.

P.S. Glennon, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for calling you basic.

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