Writing a blog that purports to be “real” and “authentic” presents a number of challenges:
1) I am more comfortable “under the radar” and, although making myself write a blog has been a very good exercise in stretching outside of my comfort zone, it is still not a totally comfortable space for me and I constantly struggle with how much vulnerability I can tolerate.
2) I am a generally optimistic person, but writing only about the positive, sunny side things is not an accurate reflection of the way I see things. I am a realist who has faith in the natural order of the universe and fervently hopes that everything will eventually work out for good.
3) I want to write about all of the things that are on my mind, but the difficult, imperfect parts of my life are sometimes, well, sad. I don’t want to bore people with that stuff. I want my friends and readers to feel uplifted, not brought down, but real life is filled highs as well as lows.
A few weeks ago, my friend, Doug, died in his sleep. We don’t know why. He was a couple of years older than me and had lived with admirable enthusiasm. He rode his motorcycle, hiked, biked, climbed, played sports, worked out, had a lot to say on a wide range of subjects, and smiled and laughed easily. He was a real smarty. He helped build the internet. Really. He designed and installed a complete solar heating system for his home. He had rebuilt his life after a divorce and was a special man who threw himself into being connected with his son, his family, and his friends. He was willing to share himself and be vulnerable and real. In the words of Thoreau, Doug “sucked out all the marrow of life” and lived fully.
I have come to believe that a willingness to be vulnerable is the foundation of intimacy – and intimacy is the foundation of connected relationships and a fully lived life. Doug was a living example of this and I am so sad to see him go. I can’t write my blog with authenticity and edit out all of the not so happy parts of my life. The messy, sad, incomprehensible experiences of life are equally important. Sharing them is what connects us. In happiness or sadness, taking the risk of sharing our true selves is what allows us to connect with each other and makes life rich and full.
Do you notice that you feel more connected to people who are willing to share their true selves?