I've noticed that my blog posts recently have become much more "topic-focused" and much less "stream of consciousness". I've been thinking quite a bit about why that is. Part of it is that blogging has become more of a "job". Not in a bad way or in a something-I-am-forced-to-do way, but more of it's something I take pride in and put a certain amount of regular effort into and take seriously. I do sponsored posts and reviews and giveaways sometimes. But this is not, and I can't imagine it ever being, a major source of income in our family, so I don't consider it a job in that respect. Anyway, there is something about being a "more serious blogger" (read that with a bit of sarcasm and furrowed brow) that lends itself to writing posts on set topics.
More focused posts are easier to write. Sometimes they take longer as they often marinate in the "drafts" section. But I find that if it's a topic that interests me, when I'm actually ready to sit down and type, it comes out faster. I'm sure that you can think back to your English classes in school and remember teachers trying to get you to focus on topics and narrow down your theses because it's easier to write clearly about one thing. So it's easier to write in a way that is not all over the place and confusing and overly complex if I just write about one thing (and still, I know, sometimes my writing is all over the place and confusing, though I am not sure about complex).
It's easier emotionally to write this way as well. I can compartmentalize my life. "Today I am going to write about X and in doing so, I can avoid Y. Because Y is painful/difficult/embarrassing/shameful." It seems to be a common topic recently that blogs only show the sunny side of life and leave readers feeling inadequate. (One of my favorite recent posts on this topic is this one by my friend Dwija.) And I get this. I get it from both sides. Some of the blogs I read (and in "real life" the people I meet) can make me feel inferior. When I compare myself to these amazing women, I come up really, really short (metaphorically and usually, literally, as well). And I know, that while there are a few people out there that really do live perfectly charmed lives, those people are very, very rare. People present the best that they have to offer and that is what we are comparing our whole person - the best, worst, and in between - to.
I've had to stop reading certain blogs and avoid specific people at different times in my life because I just couldn't handle it. But I want to be clear that during those times, it was not the other person's fault. I was the one who couldn't handle it. I'm not to be blamed either of course, but neither are they. Sure, some people may go out of their way to show off and that may be a form of pride or other sinfulness, but simply putting your best foot forward is not something intrinsically wrong. There are two sides to this coin:
We are not required to show our messes and our pain and our suffering publicly.
We should not feel like we must suffer in silence.
Ultimately, it us up to the individual to decide what to share of themselves. If someone chooses to share the not-so-pretty side, they should be shown support and love and never, ever shamed for being less than perfect. If someone chooses to be reserved, they should be given privacy. Simple as that. There is no wrong way. There is no right way. And I think I do it a little bit of both on this blog.
I've written quite a bit about pregnancy loss since my miscarriage in October. I did think briefly about whether I would share about it on my blog given that I had not publicly announced the pregnancy yet. But I quickly realized that I needed to share it for a few reasons. I write about all the important event of our life on this blog. Unlike most of these, losing our child was not a happy event, but it was one that completely changed our family, more than a new job or a move ever would. To me, not writing about it minimized it. Our child, though he/she never lived outside the womb, is a unique individual who has touched our lives and will forever be a member of our family. It just didn't seem right that I would keep it all from my blog. I also shared because I was looking for prayers and guidance. The prayers and kind words and advice shared by readers has been incredible and has greatly helped me through the grieving process.
I've received many comments and emails that say something along the lines of "Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story." And I appreciate those comments. But I don't feel brave. I greatly hope that my words and resource sharing may help other men and women who have experienced pregnancy loss (and their family and friends understand what they are going through), but that was only a tiny bit of my reasoning in sharing. I share because it helps me heal. Because the process of writing my story and getting responses gives me peace and allows me to think through the complex emotions. Because it's the best way I know to get the most people possible to acknowledge the life of my child and that acknowledgement is important to me. Because I want someone to listen. So I don't feel like it's an act of bravery. The women who do not share their stories, who suffer the pain of a loss alone - either because they choose to or they have no support, no one to listen or bear the burdens - they represent bravery to me. All women and men who lost a child, no matter how they deal with it, no matter how cowardly or self-serving they may feel in the healing process, they all exhibit bravery in their own way.
This post is getting a bit off topic, but what I want to come back around to is why I usually write on topic. My miscarriage posts, they've all been about a specific topic. Our pregnancy loss story. Remembering my pregnancy. Reviews of pregnancy loss resources. My grief "to do" list. Etc. Like I said, it's emotionally easier this way. I can write on a specific aspect of my loss and yes, it's painful, but I can kind of compartmentalize the emotions. I can approach each topic individually. And I can hide the rest. You haven't seen any posts titled, "How I feel. Right now." because those would be ugly. If I shared all the emotions I have inside it wouldn't be so neat. There would be pain and fear and anger. Frustration. Jealousy. Hopelessness. There would be healing too. And beauty. And gratitude. And hope along the hopelessness. But it would be complex. Messy. Uncontrollable and indescribable. And most likely too much for me to handle, at least right now. So I don't go there. Instead, I write about the various emotions and aspects of my loss a tiny piece at a time so they are small enough that I can handle them. Separated from the rest of the murky emotions soup, they can be inspected and understood and shared.