I was chatting with a friend this morning, who said this to me:
“Well, they [your blog entries] always seem so sad….almost desperate at times and I interpret that to mean that is how you are all the time. …you sounded so sad but then you told me you’re super happy so I just get confused. I haven’t seen you in over a decade so I don’t have anything to temper the blogs with. I don’t know if that makes sense.”
This is something I’ve addressed before, on my old blog (link in sidebar), but never here. As a matter of fact, I stopped writing on my old blog because I felt like I had shared so much and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep up that same level of sharing or what I even really wanted that blog to be anymore. Blogging has always been problematic for me because it’s public, and I know it’s the same for many others. How much is appropriate to share? It’s all about personal comfort level. (Duh.)
There are some people who would never dream of revealing some of the things I’ve written about online, and still others have written things I myself would never dream of revealing. Writing, for me, is about telling the truth, or as much of it as one is able to tell without completely alienating and offending others. It’s up to the writer to decide where that line is.
One thing I never have and never will shy away from is discussing my emotional landscape as it exists at that moment. For me it is just as important to embrace the sadness, the anger, the desperation, as it is the happiness. All of these emotions are an essential part of the human experience. I realize that talking about the things that hurt often makes others uncomfortable, but it’s not my job as a writer to make others comfortable. It is my job to tell my truths. Telling my truths, no matter how painful, brings me through the darkness and into deep gratitude for all I have experienced and all that is to come.
Who was it who said that grief is the great equalizer? If you’ve lived any real amount of time, then you have lost someone or something precious to you. Grief is the common factor that brings us all to the same level, and as Anne Lamott says, “I’m pretty sure that it is only by experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way that we come to be healed–which is to say, that we come to experience life with a real sense of presence and spaciousness and peace.”
You cannot know gratitude, or happiness, or amazement without being plunged into complete darkness every once in awhile.
So last night when I wrote my latest blog entry on childbirth, I wasn’t sobbing, locked in the bathroom, holding a razor to my wrist, wanting to end it all because I had a couple of shitty experiences. I was, in fact, acknowledging where I was at that moment, just relaying a few chosen facts of my existence right now. It’s true that my childbirth experiences have been enormously painful, and it’s true that I’ve had to grieve a lot in order to find myself in a place where I have accepted them and even feel grateful – yes, GRATEFUL – for them, for every painful moment, for every tear shed. It’s true that I am scared and anxious about what my third and final birth story will be, but come what may, I am also thrilled to have one more chance to do it all over again. There is enormous beauty in the hardship of childbirth, of parenting, of not being in control. And to be quite honest, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children, unborn or outside. I can endure another C-section for my daughter because that is what is required of me. I can. And I will.