Friday, October 01, 2010



The response I got from my last post has overwhelmed me, in the best possible way.

Over the years, I have been asked how it is that I can write about all this personal stuff so publicly. Why do I put it "all out there?" A question, no doubt, that I have asked myself many times. There have been a few posts that I have typed up and then stared at for a solid ten minutes, not knowing whether to hit the "publish" button or not. Some of my posts I read and re-read multiple times, knowing that the writing is little more than the rantings of a raving lunatic. I have grimaced, closed my eyes, and pressed the "publish post" button. Almost every time, it has been without regret (though there are definitely a handful of posts that are out there that I wish I could take back!!!!) Occasionally, I don't publish. Or I delete. Or I leave the post sitting in draft mode forever - sitting there to remind me what I was feeling at the time, but not out there for the whole entire world to see. Yes, indeed, there are things I don't write about here, believe it or not. I am not ENTIRELY an open book. Mostly, but not entirely.


This is the reason that I chose to publish my very private diary to the internet: you. It is because of all of you who read this and, more importantly, respond to this.

It is quite a process to put pen to paper (or, in this case, put fingers to keyboard) and pour your heart out in black and white. It IS therapeutic. It is a method of taking a raw emotion, tossing it around, chewing it up and spitting it out and, eventually, making sense of it. Gradually, you are not simply making sense of your emotions, but you are understanding them. When you can begin to understand why you are feeling what you are feeling, you can begin to heal. At least, that is what I think. For that reason, I have always found journalling to be helpful.

But to turn around and publish your journal to the world, you give it a third dimension, because you can now have INSTANT FEEDBACK. I have found feedback to be a really good thing, even when the feedback has been negative. And boy have I had negative feedback! (My favorite, back in the good old days, was the commenter who called me a 'complete' nutjob and prayed for that I would never have a child because I would be a horrible, horrible failure of a mother. This commenter, naturally, posted "anonymously," as most cowards do).

The best part of the feedback is the honesty that I get in return. It can be scary to put yourself out there and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It is far less scary when you get equally honest responses from real people. Whether they are total strangers, family members, or my closest dearest friends, I find that people are willing to open up and share themselves when you open up to them.

This blog has been my therapist. There are times it has been the only thing in the world I could count on. This blog has introduced me to some of the most wonderful people that I have (n)ever met. I have a whole internet family because of this place, a group of women I love and trust and have shared so much with, and yet I have never met them in person. Correction: I have met one of them in person, and she was even lovelier than I could have ever expected.

Now with the evolution of facebook and my difficult but conscious decision to allow my blog to publish over there, it is being read by people who ARE in my real flesh and blood life. Which was VERY scary at first. But again, the feedback I have received has been amazing. On my last post in particular, I received so many comments, private messages, chats, personal emails, text messages, etc., all with kind words to say to me.

The kind words are sweet and I will ALWAYS take them - but that is not the sort of feedback that I am looking for or that I care about. I am not writing so that people can turn around and say "Oh but Dawn, you are great." I already know I'm great (ha ha! KIDDING!).

The feedback I have been receiving that I LOVE and that I NEED and that I THRIVE ON is the feedback where you tell me "I understand." And then you tell me how or why you understand, because you have gone through something similar, or you are about to, or you supported someone who did, or you haven't experienced THIS specific issue yourself but you've had your own obstacles to overcome....etc etc etc. When you reach back to me and share your own stories, your own points of view, your own perspective, it amazes me. This sort of feedback is invaluable. It is the most precious thing in the entire world, because it reminds us of that human connection that we all share. It reminds us that we are not alone; that life can be really, really hard sometimes, but there are indeed other people out there who GET IT. There are other people out there who have been where you are standing right now, and they know what you are going through, and they survived it. And they assure you that you will survive it to.

Seriously, what is greater than that?

Ultimately, I think the only thing we all truly want out of our time on this earth is to be loved and to know that we are not alone. Lonliness might be the most difficult emotion in the world. I was pleasantly reminded, once again, through the awesome feedback I received from so many of you, that I am NOT alone. What a gift.

THAT, my friends, is why I write this blog.

So....thank you.

(I do plan to respond to everyone individually who reached out to me with private messages and emails - please know that responses are coming. As soon as I can!)