I just spent four days at my friend’s vacation home in Maine. It was a blast – the house was full of people. There was music, beer, ping pong, corn hole, and lobster in abundance. We spent all our daytime hours in the pool and then sat down to long boisterous dinners fueled by alcohol and great food and the irrepressible energy of long-lost friends playing catch up.
One night at dinner, we started discussing the shocking posting habits of some of our most eccentric Facebook “friends”. Within moments, iPhones were circulating the table so that we could all see the photos and posts for ourselves, cueing laughter and oh my god I can’t believe she wrote that and I can’t believe he’d post that, and so on.
And sure, we all said stuff like, “oh my god we’re going to hell” as we laughed, but in a weird way it was hard to feel too bad because when people post the details of their lives for all the world to see on Facebook, they must expect the attention, right?
And by the same logic we were using as we stalked people on Facebook, I have to be open to that possibility because I’m putting it out here for all the world to see. I guess it wasn’t until I saw that kind of judgment play out right before my eyes that I realized how truly scary that possibility is to me.
It made me want to get on my laptop and delete this entire blog and pretend it never happened.
I couldn’t do that, though, because it means too much to me. And realizing that made me feel even more pathetic, because my blog is small and sometimes really mindless and for all the good days I have on here there are countless more bad ones. You know, days you pour your heart and soul into a post and your pageview numbers seem to plummet.
Or days when you check out other newbie bloggers who already have this whole blog game on lock, and suddenly you’re back in the third grade when yours were the only parents who refused to help build your model teepee, leaving you to present a tent made of chopsticks and a puff-painted pillowcase to a room full of parent-made, straw-thatched wigwams worthy of a display at the Denver airport.
We all know comparison is the thief of joy, but let’s just say I feel like I’m getting robbed on the reg.
I’ve met amazing people through blogging, and in the process of learning about others I’ve learned about myself. From all the honest, heartfelt bloggers who are so open and generous with their weirdness, I’ve learned to embrace my own a little more.
So the question now is whether I can accept the fact that being authentic is a risk that carries the toughest of consequences: judgment.
If I’ve learned anything about how to handle those moments, it’s this: lean into the fear, take a deep breath, and then wave that freak flag a little higher.