I was on my website and realized I had a welcome sticky post that was seriously out of date!
“Newly retired and newly single, I’m embracing inevitable change and setting out on a year of discovery”
It’s been 16 months since my husband walked out the door the final time. I’ve cleared out and sold a house and bought a condo. I’ve visited 12 countries, including 27 US states, some of them more than once.
In the beginning, the people who followed my blog were close friends and family, motivated more by the need to keep track of my mental state and location than by their enjoyment of my writing. Grasping for something to keep me going, I gave full rein to my love of travel. If I was going to be a mess, I was not going to do it sitting at home in a house full of ghosts. For me, my blog was both practice at the writing that had fallen by the wayside and a place to reflect on what I was seeing, both in the world and in myself. Posting once a week gave structure to my life, unanchored from all that was familiar.
Today, people I have met on my travels and people I have never met follow my blog. It is not quite as anguished as in the beginning, but it is still very personal. That’s my style.
Yet for the first time last month, I was reluctant to let someone read it. Well past the time where I should have friended him, for group messaging if nothing else, I held back, and I even install a new messaging app to avoid it. I realized it was because I share my blog posts on my Facebook page, and I didn’t know if I wanted him to see them.
I spent a week thinking about what this meant. Was I interested in a relationship, and wanting the revelations to unfold slowly and mutually? Was I concerned that his knowing so much about me could be used to (once more) manipulate me? Or was I simply getting tired of being an open book, and wanting to put up the walls again?
Over sharing, TMI, openness, intensity— it does send some people running. And that can hurt, as it is my true self that is being rejected, not my facade or an adopted persona. But the ones who stay… I think of the new friends I have made, the old friends where our relationship has grown and deepened, even the passing yet not casual conversations I have had with so many others. My life is so much richer than it was.
I’m not a proponent of “radical honesty” as I feel its practitioners are imposing their beliefs on others. Even though I express what one friend called “brutal honesty,” I only direct this at myself. Perhaps a better description of how I live is “radical openness.”
I weathered the challenge. I have limits: I still don’t friend people I have not interacted with in real life on Facebook; I rarely invite strangers into my home or my life. But I will continue on the path of openness that can quickly turn strangers into friends.
Brave starts in the heart.