As a social worker we’re not supposed to share deep personal details about our lives. As a practitioner, I keep myself out of it and focus on my clients and communities of service. As a teacher, I don’t bring up my political opinions, personal beliefs, or over share about me. I simply focus on the task at hand. I know boundaries are essential to great practice and to living a respectful and respectable life. I mean, let’s be honest, no one wants to become (or sit next to) that person on an airplane who gets drunk and leans in too close to their seat-mate to tell the five hour tale of their divorce, their BFF’s gum disease, and their son’s erectile disfunction. But (and I know this will come as a shock because I’m here writing a blog, which is basically my online journal open for public access ;)), at other times, I think sharing about our lives is important to de-stigmatizing human struggles.
Everyone’s lives are touched by experiences and truths we would rather hide from ourselves and others. Physical ailments, mental health issues, layoffs, interpersonal struggles…We all have something that feels like dirty laundry we’re ashamed of. The truth may make us feel weak, afraid, judged, or self-loathing, so we feel it should be hidden. But should we be ashamed of struggles shared so many?
I posit that even the ‘dirtiest of laundry’ (times that we failed our morals and values with intentional actions of hatred or cruelty) can be reconciled and learned from, by ourselves or others, if we ‘speak it’s name’ and own it as our reality.
Maybe having to admit to something we were afraid to talk about can do more than remind us that we are normal and that others have been through what we are going through. Maybe laying ourselves bare also allows us to forgive ourselves and begin fresh. Maybe we can grow from being honest about our pitfalls. Or, maybe someone else can grow by knowing our pitfalls. (Just to be clear, I think sharing our joys and triumphs can also result in growth. It’s just not as controversial. I mean, how often would your mother say, ‘Don’t tell anyone about your new high powered, high paying job. I’d hate for them to know how brilliant, successful, and respected you are. It might shame the family.’)
I have been blogging here for the past six months to better myself and to connect with other people. Why, you may ask? Truthfully? As silly as it may sound, I do it in hopes that by all acknowledging our universal joys and foibles we raise each other up and improve humanity. And, in turn, we all move closer to becoming our best selves. A reach for this little blog I know, but a girl can dream.
So, on this anniversary of sorts, I want to express my gratitude to anyone reading this. Thanks for sharing in this crazy blogging thing I’m trying here. Cheers to healing humanity one self-deprecating, open, borderline over-share at a time :)!