When it comes to my shit, I don’t ask permission. I don’t need a green light or a thumbs up of approval to tell my experiences in hopes of healing, but this year I found myself running concepts and ideas and future blog posts past people, out of respect because they were involved in some capacity. I had to take someone else’s feelings into consideration and put myself in the back for a little bit, in a year where I finally said – and believed – me first. During this year of self, I found myself conflicted in my writing at points, wondering if I should push beyond prior boundaries and no longer play it safe, or implement boundaries more in my work. I opted for option A.
There’s pros and cons of personal blogging: You’re doing what a lot of people can’t, refuse to write, or aren’t good at, and for that alone, you feel a sense of exclusivity in your work, but the bigger your audience grows, the more you feel the need to nurture the people who read your content than feed your actual art for yourself. As more women reached out and told me their secrets, I catered more to them. I shared extra for them.
I fought with it. I fought myself later that night, wrestling thoughts a little past 2am, contemplating if I should just go on and write it without his consent and his blessing. The next day, I came across a piece on xoJane and one line stood out: “Right now, over-sharing is most definitely on trend. In the past decade, confessional-style podcasting and blogging has become an entire industry. Over-sharers, this is OUR time!”
And if nothing else, 2014 showed me that it is my time, but how did I get here? In this moment, I’m still trying to draw that line in the sand in telling my unadulterated truths versus practicing discretion and keeping some things to myself because they’re sacred, because they’re not to be shared in such detail.
A lot of people still don’t get ‘personal blogging,’ as evident in some of the nominees year after year for Black Weblog Awards. There’s a gift and a curse in it, wanting – like any other blogger on the web – to develop a budding audience that anxiously tunes in weekly for a new post on your life, and upon achieving that goal, struggles with what to do next as a writer. Do you continue to do what opened doors – dig deep and hurt all over again as you tap letter after letter, reliving scenarios for dedicated and encouraging readers? Or do you continue to spill your own tea, taking the risk for others to hold your own words and experiences against you?
Reflecting back on this year, I’m uncertain with what’s next for me for my writing. In a matter of months, I’ve watched Tyece shift her voice in her writing, choosing to back off the intimate aspects of her life as a twenty-something, to speaking more on topics that mirror her audience – the Black woman and our plight. I’ve wondered if I too should take a different direction with this blog. I’ve sat up thinking about the people who were subjects behind many posts, the resentment my children might feel if I bought myself to write about my relationship with their father, and the anxiety I’ve experienced wanting to blog about something that my spirit compelled me not to.
I think about those women I spoke about who suffer in silence. When my spirit convicts me, I think about them – the ones who didn’t leave, the ones who didn’t make it – and I write, but basking in my own solitude and finding peace in silence myself this year, I wonder if it’s best to fall back on what I blog about. People think they know me and can speak on my experiences, and who’s to blame for that?