A friend wrote to me the other day and asked, “How are you really doing?”
I smiled because I knew exactly what she meant.
When I started my blog two years ago, I was entering one of the darkest, most painful times of my life. Everything seemed to hit me at once and continued to do so for the next two years. This blog became my safe place, my happy place, a spot where I could record at least one good, beautiful thing each day to help me get through the wretchedness of my life.
I posted about lovely people who inspired, comforted, and encouraged, not the ones who seemed to make it their life work to crush me.
I wrote about delicious foods that I could eat, not the ones I had to avoid as doctors tried to figure out what was causing my body to shut down and leave me doubled over in pain for months at a time.
I published pictures of beautiful places I had once traveled to, not the four white walls of my bedroom where I lay month after month longing for relief from physical pain and emotional trauma.
All the happy, wonderful things I posted were real. They did delight me, make me smile, and give me hope and courage to press on.
But they were only part of the story.
Truth be told, I wasn’t brave enough to post the ugly bits. Most days I was hanging on for dear life, the pain of my reality so acute that I needed to concentrate on the good things, no matter how small, just to get through each day.
I wasn’t strong enough to be completely real with you. I was raw and weak and afraid, so I hid behind pretty pictures and yummy recipes because I felt safe there.
And I don’t regret it. Not one bit. Because I met you there. And through your emails and comments, Instant Messenger chats and Skype talks, in person visits and long-distance phone calls I found the courage and strength I needed to start over.
You showed me that there are truly good people in this world. Through you I have experienced true kindness and acceptance and learned to have hope no matter how dark things become.
For that I cannot thank you enough. xo
Although I don’t regret the last two years, I’m also not going to remain in that place of fear and insecurity.
As scary as it is, I commit to being more real with you.
I’ve spent my whole life trying to be good enough, to win and keep the approval of people whose love and acceptance is conditional. I can’t do that anymore. It’s exhausting. 🙂
I want this blog to be a safe place for you and me to be ourselves regardless of lifestyle differences, religious beliefs, or cultural practices. A place where we can be real and know we won’t be judged if we question our faith, politics and worldview, burn two batches of roasted tomatoes, or go without make-up for five days in a row.
So, in the spirit of being real, tomorrow I will answer my friends’ question for you:
How I’m Really Doing.
In the meantime, I’d love to know: Are you ever afraid of being real? And how do you deal with that fear so it doesn’t control you?