Being Vulnerable Online
This year, am I right? I've had days where I've thought, okay, just do the first thing you have to do, then do the next thing, and then do the thing after that. I'll get through the day, then wake up the next day and think, oh God, I have do that all over again.
Where do you share that? Facebook is a dumpster fire, hardly anyone I know in real life is on Twitter, what Instagram-worthy picture encapsulates: hello, my life is on fire? Do I start a newsletter? I Made It Through This Week: The Kim Baldwin Weekly. And more importantly, will I regret it if I open up online? Are people going to judge me and talk about me behind my back?
In the ten year (!!) history of this blog, there are a lot of vulnerable, personal posts. Do I regret writing any of them? No. Have I regretted being vulnerable online? Not really. Now, I've certainly written things, hit Publish, and then spent the next thirty minutes feeling like there were fire ants pulsing through my veins. But I have never received anything other than love and support in response to showing my real self online.
This year has probably been one of, if not the, hardest years of my life. And I have written nothing about it, at least not here. Why? Because I run a client-based business. I can't tell you how many meetings I walk into where the client or potential client says, "We love your blog!" And then I walk back to my car thinking, thank God I didn't write any personal posts this year. They don't know I lost my confidence, lost myself, almost lost my marriage, secretly work at a restaurant two days a week, see two therapists, attend a weekly group meeting, and am not allowed to weigh myself. They just think I'm funny. Hooray!
I was thirty-one when I started this blog, and I didn't go into therapy until I was thirty-eight, so there are seven years of posts where I'm airing grievances or vaguely crying for help. In my defense, isn't that what your thirties are for? But now, in my (early) forties, I'm struggling with how to be vulnerable online from an older, tiny bit wiser, perspective. Do I just want to share that I'm struggling, or do I want to wait until I'm out of it, and then share what I've learned? Usually, by the time I'm out of it, I don't feel like taking about it anymore. The struggle is where my voice shows up.
Here's what I want to say. Life knocked the wind out of me last July. I made it through the year on auto-pilot, then in April, I bottomed out. I have PTSD and attachment trauma and for the first time, they were both activated at the same time. I felt so much perceived emotional and physical threat, that part of my brain clicked off. I had to get body work done (shout-out to Reiki) to release the trauma so my brain could come back online.
I've done some heavy emotional lifting in the last four months, and I'm through the darkest part, in fact, as a friend said over the weekend, "You've got your mojo back." And I do. While I've never regretted being vulnerable online, I would have regretted not sharing this.
If you're in the cave, reach out, there are a few of us who deserve, and know how, to hold space with you. A heart on an Instagram post goes a long way sometimes.