I think I was more honest when I started this blog a year ago than I am now. Not that I’ve started to lie or hide, but I think I may have become less spontaneous in the way you do once you sense you are being watched.
You adjust your hair. You become self-conscious. You wish you’d worn your favorite Frye boots. You adopt a faint smile hoping it will make you appear kinder than you really feel.
In the case of my blog, it looks like this: I notice that I have some readers and I want to keep them. So instead of writing what’s most true, I write what makes me go down smooth, what I think you’ll like, and probably agree with.
Pretty soon, I’m not blogging about the latest book I’m reading in the morning because it is by Marianne Williamson and I don’t want to freak out some of my more conservative readers.
Pretty soon, I’m hesitating to hit publish on a post that is so blatantly Christian I’m afraid I’ll lose recovery readers who are here for help, not to hear about my faith.
Pretty soon, I’m trying to protect you from my truth while I impress you with my transparency, which is about as absurd as blogging gets.
This last year, I’ve taken some small steps toward just being who I am. I’ve quoted authors who might seem risky, like the Sufi mystic, Hafiz. I have let it be known in ways big and small that I often find Truth in the most secular of places.
At the same time, though, I’ve become more aware than ever of various camps around the web, each with strong positions on matters of faith, politics, social issues, and even recovery. I’ve wanted to find the one camp that fits me best and become a star. It’s what my publisher would like to see happen. And I owe it to them—quite literally—to try.
Trouble is, I’m all camped out. And platforms make me dizzy. I just want to be myself, and let the chips fall where they may.
But it’s not that simple, really. I don’t always know when integrity demands I take a public stand on some issue. I can’t just adopt an attitude that says, “Screw what my readers think or believe. This is what I want to say today.”
That’s not love, either. And I never want to be that person who, in the name of authenticity, waves around her opinions like a two-by-four.
Somewhere in the middle, between public-pleasing and a reader-be-damned approach, is a swath of honest ground I want to claim this year. I suppose I’ll know I’m making progress if a few people say, “I’m so glad you said that,” and some others walk away thinking, Yep, this girl done pickled her brain.
I originally came to blogging in order to find a “readership.” Instead, I found you—a warm, beautiful, and oh-so-real community. And despite all my silly self-monitoring and embarrassing hang-ups, I believe that God speaks here—not just through me to you, but through you to me and to each other.
My job—and increasingly my joy—is to show up and let that happen as best I can.
This is not a New Year’s resolution. Resolutions involve will power, which for obvious reasons, I don’t put much stock in. I think this post is more of a living prayer that I will take loving risks to be more real this year. And I’m writing it here because you are my witnesses.
I’d love to hear how you are thinking about the New Year, and what changes you might be inspired to make.