Apr 8, 2013

On Vulnerability as a Blogger

Today I'd like to welcome Stephany from Stephany Writes. She set a writing goal for herself this year, part of which includes guest blogging a certain number of times, and I'm more than happy to help her meet her goal! One of the things I love most about her is her raw honesty - but I'll let her do the talking today!
It was never my intention to be a blogger who inspired people by her vulnerability. I never set out to tell my story in such an involved way. It all happened naturally.

When I started Stephany Writes, I wanted to tell my story. I wanted to be truthful about my path. I wanted to talk about things other blogger shied away from - faith and heartbreak and struggles and pain. I wanted to be honest, first and foremost.

And somehow, through it all, I became known as a girl who gets down and dirty with her feelings. I am a blogger who writes about her vulnerabilities. I don't sugarcoat my life. I don't pretend I have anything figured out or that everything is perfect. When things are bad, I write posts about it. When things are good, I write posts about that. Being vulnerable means accepting that what you have to say is going to be messy and not everyone is going to agreed with what you have to say. And being okay with that.

If you knew me in my real life, you'd think that it's pretty funny that I consider myself one who can open herself up. Because, in real life, I am the exact opposite. If my blog wears my heart on its sidebar, my body keeps my heart tucked inside as close as possible. Talking about my feelings and emotions does not come easily for me and I tend to keep to myself, stay quiet about my problems, and rarely open up. And maybe that's why I blog so freely about my emotions - it's my escape, my safe place, my therapist, my journal. It's where I can finally let out all those emotions that are beating inside my heart. I can let them go. Release them. And find camaraderie in how I feel.

I write so much better than I speak. My words come easily once I have pen to paper (or, more often than not, fingers to keyboard). But sit me down and ask me how I'm feeling and I'll give you the most long-winded, random, crazy answer ever. Well, that, or I'll give you an "Oh, I'm doing fine. How are you?" That's my tactic. Turn everything back on the other person. I don't want to spend too much time talking about my feelings to others face-to-face, so always turn the conversation back to them. I'd like to say it's the introvert in me, but I think it's more than that.

Some people love talking about themselves. They can meet someone for the very first time and within 20 minutes, you know their entire life story. They are not shy about talking about themselves and offering opinions. You always know every detail that happened during their weekend, or how their kid is doing in school, or what crazy thing their husband did last week. I don't offer up details about my life. I keep to myself. And why is that? Why is it that I can spew out 3+ blog posts a week talking about myself, but get me in front of a real, live person, I can barely string a coherent sentence together about my weekend?

I think there's the deep-seeded fear that they don't really care about what I'm saying. It's why I'm the quietest one in the room when surrounded by my extroverted coworkers or friends. It's why I rarely offer up stories about my life. And it's why I am so vulnerable on my blog. Because I need a safe place to talk about all my feelings. One thing people fail to realize about quiet people is how much is working inside their heads. I may not be the one offering up all the opinions and solutions during a work meeting, but I am the one with the gears turning and shifting in her head as she sorts through all the talking with all her thinking. I may not talk a lot, but I sure do think a lot.

When I'm not talking, I'm thinking. Constantly. My brain never shuts off. And then it spills out into blog posts and tweets. It has to. I have to have a place to get all of this from inside my head and onto paper.

I've never been successful at journaling. I've tried it before, but it doesn't help me sort through the muck quite like writing a blog post does. There's something about knowing it's going to be out there for people to read that makes me think even harder and more deeply about what I am writing about. My blog has opened me up in ways I never imagined. It has caused me to take long, hard looks at my life and discover who I am in the midst of all the crazy life brings.

So while I've spent time wondering if I should scale back, be a little less vulnerable, I know I am meant to be a vulnerable blogger. I am meant to open myself up and let people see the mess that lies inside of me. In a way, blogging keeps me sane.

Do you consider yourself a vulnerable person? If you have a blog, are you different in person than you are on your blog? Thanks so much to Stephany for this post!


Amber said...

I am a pretty private person and don't like to air my personal stuff too much. I used to do it more on my blog but then A LOT of in real life people started reading it and I don't feel as comfortable with that anymore. Also a lot of my personal "issues" aren't just about me and I don't feel right airing stuff about my family or friends. However I have noticed that once I'm through something and on the "other side" so to speak it's easier to write about it and be more vulnerable about it. Not so much when I'm in the thick of it though.

Nora said...

I think I'm a what-you-read-is-what-you-get girl when it comes to blogging & meeting me in real life. I do write about things that bother me, but usually, like Amber said above, I can't do it until after I've already gone through it. Not sure why that is but it works for me. I don't mind being vulnerable and open and honest at all except sometimes I just can't quite get the words to flow. It takes me some time, I guess.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

This is a great post. As Amber mentioned, a lot of what I have to censor on my blog is just because it affects other people. Like you, I am way more into writing my thoughts than talking about them. I like to talk and all but I won't give my life story to just anyone. On the blog, I don't mind as much. It's easier for me to write- in fact when I was in high school/middle school I think I ended every single fight with friends through notes haha. Plus the blog feels more anonymous, people don't have to read if they don't want to, etc. It's just easier :)

Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com said...

I love this post, Stephany. I really, really do.

Stephany said...

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to guest post for you, Becky! I really enjoyed writing this post. :)

San said...

Sometimes I feel the other way around - I am definitely genuine in what I blog, but I feel like I can open up to people more in person. There is a lot (!) I don't share on the blog and sometimes that makes me sad because I want to share more, but I shy away to put it out there for too many strangers to read. When you meet me, you'll meet me as the San that you know through my blog, with some extra :)

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