I’m a private person. (I know – good thing I’m putting my inner most thoughts out there for the internet to read, eh?) But I don’t like to talk about my problems. I don’t like to share with strangers. And I certainly don’t like to be the centre of attention.
So I had mixed feelings when last week’s blog post quickly became the second-most read post on my blog. (Seriously, if you want to know how many people on Facebook are seeing your posts, just blog about your inner demons.) On one hand, I felt like a train wreck. My problem with alcohol isn’t something I’ve talked about at length with anyone, so writing about it was hard – but it was even harder to think about all the people out there reading it and judging me.
I began to feel a little angry. I’ve written plenty of other blog posts – like this one, and this one, and even this one – that didn’t get even a quarter of the hits as my post about battling the bottle, but people don’t want to read about that stuff. If it bleeds, it leads, they say, and alcoholism is a bloody business.
Bunch of rubberneckers, I thought. They just want to revel in my failure. This is the very reason I don’t put myself out there.
That anger, that dread, followed me throughout the day. I didn’t feel good about sharing my post. I didn’t feel good about people reading my post. I didn’t feel good about being so vulnerable.
But then I got a private message. And another. And still more after that. From people sharing their own problems. From people sharing how addiction has impacted their lives. From people telling me I’m not alone.
That was something I didn’t expect – that unconditional love and support. For too long, I’ve valued my privacy – my armour – over authentic human connection. Losing that armour left me feeling vulnerable, but it also showed me I don’t have to arm myself. I don’t have to protect myself from people. Because I’m not alone.
And I realized something then: sure, there are people out there who are judging me. There are even people reveling in my failure. But I’m not blogging for those people. I’m blogging for the people who read my posts – any post – and think even for a moment, “I’m not alone.”