Putting it all out there–why I spill it online

I had drinks with a friend last night.  We were talking about my blog. He said he’d read it, but it made him feel uncomfortable, like he was intruding upon my privacy. He commented that I “put it all out there” and he felt like he shouldn’t be seeing it. I found it ironic, since my choice to put my thoughts on the ether is deliberate, and I live to see the view count, likes and comments build over time.

In the last month, I’ve written about depression, fear and doubt, feelings of inadequacy–crap, I really do put it all out there.  I suppose sometimes it is like  reading my journal aloud.

So why do  I do it?

Stories have lives of their own. They can heal and they can destroy. I can own these stories, or they can own me.  I choose to set them free.

I had never written about my depression prior to my guest post for Robert Lee Brewer, although it was a watershed moment, a true turning point in my life. I was protecting myself and my reputation. Who wants to have a strategy brokered by a lunatic? People might judge–I always knew she was a wacko bitch. But the story was a ball and chain. I’d been dragging it around for years, and it was getting heavy.

Through writing, I cast that story into the wind and let it drift away, while holding those few seeds that I needed for myself.  By the time I’d finished the final version I felt weightless.

Information holds enormous kinetic potential.  It can move people to act, to shift direction. It can change opinions, clarify misconceptions. But this can only happen when it’s shared. When we hold a story inside, it binds us, and if the energy is great enough, it can blow us to pieces. When we unlock it, we release its energy and claim it for ourselves and transfer it to others.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t stories that I won’t write about.  I do have lines that I refuse to cross.  I save the stories on the other side of that line for my fiction, when I can change the names of the people involved and claim I made it all up. It’s what writers do.

Where do you draw the line? What stories are you holding on to? Is it time to let it go? Leaving a comment is a great way to start.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Nouspique

10 comments on “Putting it all out there–why I spill it online

  1. Veronica Roth says:

    Hi Jeannine,
    Your shark story is brilliant and I completely related to it. My partner Robert tells me that I write the blog spilling open, but don’t you find you write at your comfort level? I do. I write my emotions during difficult times, but I hold back to my comfort level. Maybe our friends and partners have a different comfort level. Recently I wrote about taking Chloe to see Cats the musical and my memories from my first divorce and heartbreaking custody case. I thought for a minute about how I would feel if I knew my ex was reading it and it felt ok. The way I see it, these are my issues I write about, mine to write about. And a big difference, one I think we share, is I don’t vent, accuse, or attack others, just spill my heart; that part of emotion which belongs to me.

  2. This is beautifully expressed, Jeannine. I have always felt that the secrets we keep, especially our own, destroy us. I wrote a novel about that theme, which will soon be out, Walls of Wind. It takes a lot more courage to expose yourself in non-fiction, though, as I learned writing my memoir of PTSD. Good for you for having that courage, and your skill with words to express it so beautifully.

  3. Jeannine,
    You have expressed this so well. Bravo to you for having the courage to share your secrets and the skill to write about them so beautifully.

  4. whimsygizmo says:

    Jeannine, this is raw, and beautiful. I am a firm believe in truth told in love, and the deepest, most important truths are those we tell ourselves. Keep spilling that beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing yourself so freely. Many will be blessed by your words.

  5. hiyacynthia says:

    Oh my God, I love you! I swear I have found another long-lost sister with you. I wholeheartedly agree with what you’ve said here and I’m sorry your friend felt uncomfortable reading your blog. I have a guest post getting ready to hit that is definitely going to elicit some of that same emotion in readers who know me on a personal level. I am going to share your post. You’ve said this well.

    I share my stories to help others. Out of 50 stories, if even one person says, “Wow, that really helped me come to terms with my own (whatever, whatever)” then I know I have done my job well. I don’t ever regret my words. You shouldn’t either and I don’t think you do. You’re a great writer.

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