Looking To Share In All The Wrong Places

by Bill Brenner on May 24, 2011

I’ve become aware of an interesting problem since starting this blog. Somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to separate blog posts from personal conversations.

Mood music:

Last week, Erin noted that I’ve been more tight-lipped lately. Some of it’s the depressive effect a lot of gray weather has had on me. But on further reflection, I realized something else: I tend to spill all my thoughts into this blog. Many times I think of things and write about them early in the morning, and what you see is what comes together in real time.

That can be good in that I’m sharing where I’ve been with all of you. But it can be bad because to those closest to me, they have to come on here to see what’s in my head.

I’ve already seen one of the side effects of this. Two of my closest friends, God Bless ‘em, always think they can read my mood in real time based on something I wrote in this blog a day, week or month ago. Though I put stuff out there in real time, the conversations we have take place days later. So if I’m in a perfectly good mood, they think I’m feeling down because of what I wrote.

Meantime, I’ll think I told Erin about something when in fact I just put it in the blog. You can probably see why that’s a problem.

Then I’ll put something on here as a message to a particular friend, when it would have been better to just talk to them in person. I recently asked one friend if I could share an experience relating to something she’s going through right now. That pissed her off, and rightly so. She didn’t mind that I wanted to write about it. But she didn’t like that I was talking about writing it up instead of just telling her the details first.

Sometimes I believe that sending people messages that way is appropriate. In “It’s a Disease, Not a Choice,” I was sending a message to a family friend this way deliberately. I deliberately did the same to a couple of friends when I wrote “Love Hurts, Love Stings, Love Endures.” In one case, I felt an open letter that didn’t name names would spare my intended target the discomfort of a face-to-face.

In two other posts, “Message to a Young Friend” and “Out of the Closet, Into The Light,” I was sending messages to people I didn’t know quite as well but related to experiences I knew they were going through. I wanted to give them something they could print out and re-read when the going got tough.

The question now is how to balance this stuff out better, saving some things for personal conversation before writing about it and doing what I described in the previous paragraph when I think it might be helpful to someone. 

I have another challenge further down the road:

As part of this AA Big Book Step Study program I’m in, the time will come when I’ll have to do a lot of journal writing for each of the 12 steps. A lot of what I’ll be required to write will be deeply personal, but a lot of it will be stuff I’ve already mentioned here.

Other, even more personal things will spill onto the page as those exercises progress. Chances are good that I’ll feel an enormous urge to blog it.

There will be times where it’s not appropriate to do so, and I’ll have to watch my trigger finger closely.

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