For the past several years, I've struggled with writing something real, something very personal and raw. Now, I can't remember the first time I faced the immensity of doing something like that but lately, there have been more and more articles from people writing about deep dark secrets or struggles, ones that they would not have voiced openly otherwise.
After watching that youtube video about Facebook fakeness, it got me thinking about things even more. Even more recently, Dan Eden wrote about his struggles last year, trying to explain to everyone what had happened. His twitter has a ton of followers so just about every tweet he makes is met with some kind of scrutiny and response.
Some ex-colleuges and friends have participated in the exercise as well. Because after all, we all have a story to share.
But, it's scary. It's a scary thought. It's easy to write about my accomplishments but not so easy to write about the opposite. And it's definitely not easy writing about potentially inflamatory topics.
In fact, I'm afraid to write. I'm afraid to voice an opinion that might either trigger some kind of backlash or may alert a potential employer about some issue I have. Worse yet, there are people who get fired over tweets almost routinely. And if not fired, then persecuted online. The internet is not a very cuddly fuzzy place.
So why write at all?
The reason I want to write about some of my personal struggles is because I am human. I want to show that I'm a human. Let me tell you a secret, not a bit of my internal struggle makes it to my facebook. Not even my friends know (other than those closest to me). It was just recently that I was talking to my best friend about some issues I was having and he was surprised at it.
But your life looks so great.
The "why" is often just that, to show who I am but instead I hide it behind passive aggressive tweets about code and stories of my grandeur (though, they're not fictional and I am proud of my accomplishments).
Beyond that, I hope to connect with others that may share in my struggles or that may connect with my writing or learn from it. When I read my friend's article on ethnic ambiguity, I found myself impressed by the fact that I never considered the cultural separation and how it can affect one's life growing up surrounded or the backlash she received for "americanizing". I also connected with her struggle when it came to distancing myself from my background and then trying to reacquiant myself with it yet again.
I hope that one day when I get the courage, I'll write about my experiences and someone else will be able to benefit from it.
The fears get the best of me but many of them are not unfounded. One sentence wrongly worded can easily become viral and make me a target. An article that a future employer may or may not understand may decide my employability. In fact, exposing myself in this way is akin to talking about these things openly. Which I don't. And not a lot of people do.
There used to be a saying:
There are two things one should never discuss in public - religion and politics
This saying can be augmented for today's internet forum where our words are etched in stone so to speak and where anyone you ever do negotiations with (whether it's an employer, or INS, or whomever) can access these words:
There are two things one should never discuss on the internet - personal information and inflammatory topics. Unless one has a VPN and an anonymous account.
Unfortunately, an anonymous account makes you faceless and lessens the impact of your words. Plus, it invites people to possibly try to find your identity so you have to watch your back.
I considered starting anonymous blogs, or just creating an entirely new persona unaffiliated with my name that can state what they mean without fear of repercussion and all the strength that comes with that. I've seen a few people do this. And I know book authors do this to either separate the genre of their writing or to mask who they are (for example, in the case of writing erotica).
But then, it doesn't feel as personal.
I'd like to be proud of what I write and post it where I want to.
I recently saw a tweet that really made an impact on me:
I am on antidepressants. So far, no intent or urge to kill anyone, particularly myself—that last being the reason I take them.
Eric Meyer posted this and I had to reply right away:
sometimes, I wish I had the strength to talk publicly about things, just like you do. It's an inspiration. And a sad reminder.
It's true. Eric has been some through messed up shit in the past year. I don't want to get into it, and I don't think he'd want others to get into it either but his openness about the subject and about his struggles has been inspiring. I instantly look for his tweets in my timeline because unlike most of the social media noise, this is a real person sharing their real-life problems and their real-life thoughts.
It's like a shining beacon within the sea of grey. One that people can connect with, feel similarly and perhaps speak out on their own as well.