Yesterday, someone left a comment on my blog, describing it as "a soft, fragile place". It's made me look at my blog and at myself with a new perspective. You see, until she said this, I had never thought of it as something positive. I had equated "fragile" with "flaw".
I often feel fragile when I'm writing for this blog. I struggle with it terribly. Not the writing part, that comes easily enough, sometimes so easy that I wonder whose words those are that seem to just tumble down out of my fingertips onto the keyboard.
My struggle is with sharing what has been written. I am terrified of being judged, of being not good enough, or of sharing too much on a medium that we've all been warned about in terms of protecting our privacy. Scared of being seen as weak or over-emotional, or perhaps just stupid. Scared of being wrong, and of saying the wrong thing.
I'm also a child abuse survivor, who has learned over the past decade or so, that boundaries are important. Like all abuse survivors, I have had a great deal of trouble setting boundaries. We have a tendency to share our stories with the wrong people, give our trust and our bodies away far too easily, let people walk all over us, and believe that this is the right, or "noble", way to live. I have done quite a lot of work on this, and I now know that I do take much better care of myself than I did ten years ago, and on occasion even treat myself with as much respect as I do other people. But still, I sometimes worry that sharing my writing might be one more way in which I expose myself to the world, and again, risk victimisation or abuse.
On the other hand, as a writer, I know that words written down are ultimately meant to be read. I know that there is a gift here, and gifts need to be given. As a survivor, I also know that there is a great deal of shame felt by abuse survivors, and a huge need for the shame to be dispelled and the silence to be broken if we are ever to stop the crime from continuing. I am aware that most survivors will - and should - protect themselves and their privacy, that they need to think carefully about to whom, and when, to disclose their stories. But I also know that some of us need to speak out. Long ago, I decided I would be one of those, one of the ones who would try to "bell the cat".
So there's a constant struggle between what to share, and what not to. Where do I draw the line between what is too personal, and what needs to be heard by others? I am always afraid that I am doing it wrong.
Yesterday's comment by Chandan told me that perhaps I am not doing it wrong after all.