One of the great things about a public blog is that it is extremely helpful to me that I’m accountable to someone other than myself for the duration of this challenge. One of the not so great things about it is that some of the things I want to write about are difficult for me to open up about publicly. I find myself in this catch-22 wondering if privacy is a fair trade for accountability. Or conversely; is my less-than-best writing a fair trade for maintaining my privacy?
But, and this is an important but, the privacy I’m guarding isn’t about my day-to-day life, my relationships or secrets I don’t want to share. That type of privacy is something I’ve consciously decided never to sacrifice for the sake of writing. No, the problem I’m facing is altogether different; I’m guarding the type of privacy that is necessary for a writer to let go of in order to put forth anything of value and make a genuine connection with the reader. I’m referring to the privacy of my innermost thoughts, feelings and opinions.
So, in light of that information, I suppose the real question I should be asking is, “Why am holding back?” There are a few reasons I’ve been able to come up with:
- I’m afraid of hurting people’s feelings. Some of the things I want to say aren’t very nice. And I’m a nice person. I don’t say that as something to be admired or disdained… it just is. Sometimes being nice is a positive attribute and sometimes it isn’t .
- I’m afraid of disappointing anyone. Some people, whom I care a lot about, see me in a specific way and if I open myself up then their perceptions of me may change. They may like me less or, even worse, pity me for being “misguided”.
- I’m afraid people won’t think I’m smart if they know what I really think. If I offer up a different interpretation of information or have a different opinion than someone then they may think I disagree with them just because I’m not smart enough to “get it”. The idea of people thinking this actually causes me physical and emotional anxiety.
- I’m afraid I won’t be good enough. Or no one will care. The thought of taking a risk and failing is terrifying. I am NOT a risk taker by nature.
You may have noticed that each and every item on that list started with the same two words. I didn’t plan that in advance, it just came out in the writing. So, why am I holding back? I’m afraid.