I have been struggling with writing lately. The sudden jump in my blog’s popularity has my head spinning a bit, both in trying to be worthy of the praise, and to side-step the criticism. How does one continue to think of such a space as safe and quiet when it feels more like a field that hosted an outdoor concert, that is left trampled and muddy?
I keep bouncing back and forth between feelings, and it all has me dizzy with warring emotions. One moment I will be fine and confident and “rolling with the punches” as they say, and the next I will be biting my tongue to hold back the tears, feeling like my insides are trying to sink in on themselves to avoid any more hate.
I, all at once, understand the hate and am repelled by it. What was it in the MASTC post that sent people to one wall or another? What turned what I truly believe to be a sane group of adults into people who would take time out of their day, which I assume is precious, to let a perfect stranger know not only how angry they are, but how worthless she is?
I don’t have the answer, but I feel like I am skirting around it. It has something to do with our Truths, and how scary we all find them to be. What I try to do with every post of mine is to reveal a part of myself to whoever should come upon this website and read. I try to peel back the layers that I unconsciously built during grade school, high school, college, and the early years of my marriage and parenthood. Sometimes, I meet that Truth right along with my readers, letting her spill out onto the pages without inhibition.
This was never scary for me. I never felt brave as I hit Publish. It was being opened up to my People. It was safe. Until it wasn’t.
The MASTC post was funny. It didn’t seem scary as I wrote it, it didn’t leave my skin raw as some of my other posts have. I didn’t sense the Truth that was weaved in and out of it, a Truth that I believe scared people enough to choose sides.
The problem with Truths is this: We try to corral them into something that we have control over. If this thing right here is Truth, then that thing over there must be False. If how I feel is Truth, then how you feel must be False. If how I shop is Truth, then how you shop is False. We divide each decision and opinion we see into Truth and False, Light or Dark. We set our flags in our camps and do our best to make them Safe, Right. When someone else’s Truth makes us question our own, Fear and Anxiety whisper in our ears that we must Protect Our Own, that we must make things Safe again. So we lash out. We belittle other people’s Truths so we don’t have to question our own. We spin words, ideas, context…. we spin them however we need to so we can keep looking out without having to look in.
I have been on the receiving end of countless emails and comments since this blog went Viral. I wrote a funny story about a funny night, and because my Truth went against other Good People’s Truths, mine was attacked. It was not questioned, it was not inquired about, there was no attempt at understanding. It was lined up and shot at by a firing squad.
I told the world that I am not a perfect parent. I told the world that sometimes I struggle with the enormity of what my Life asks me to do, to give. I told the world that sometimes, I just want a moment to breathe, to look around and take in my surroundings. And the world responded by telling me that it is not OK. It is not Allowed. You cannot be broken and imperfect. You are not yourself anymore. You are Mom. Parents everywhere, most of whom I would assume struggle with their own identities as Mom or Dad, told me that I broke from the script, and they let me know that that’s not ok. Get back in line.
And I am saying No. My Truth does not make your Truth False. Our Truths make each other more beautiful. If we allow our Truths to coexist, they would each blossom, and at the end of the day, we would have a field full of different colored flowers that would make each of us stop and stare with wonder that someone could create people that are so different but so very alike.
We live in a world where our Scary Bits are labeled dark. But I disagree. The parts of us that lay, sometimes dormant, inside, that we are terrified of showing other people… that’s where the light lives. Most of us walk around blind, having gotten used to the dark. The dark is safe. You don’t have to be seen in the dark.
It’s when people decide to shine their Light… to be seen and thus let others be seen… That is scary. That is terrifying. And terror turns us into people that we don’t recognize. It takes Good, Solid parents, who honestly want the best for their children, and turns them into a Father who fat shames a complete stranger because she didn’t like miniature carts. It turns them into a Mother who tells a fellow mom who admits that she is struggling that yes, you are doing it all wrong, you are breaking your children.
So know this, whether you actually know me in the flesh or not. This will continue to be a place that acknowledges that there are many Truths when it comes to Parenthood. This will continue to be a place that opens itself up to my Mess so we can perhaps understand each other and our own journeys more. This will continue to be, as much as I can make it, a safe place for you to hold your Truth up to my Truth and perhaps see beauty in them both.
And thus ends the Viral saga of 2016. We will be going back to our regularly scheduled posts soon. 🙂