Two of my three blog fans recently asked why I haven’t been writing much lately. I have, I told them. I just haven’t been sharing. A lot of my writing from the past year is an oversized, not-so-pretty jumble of missives, due to processing several recent relationships of mine that have unraveled in very different ways. I’ve felt abandoned and/or betrayed by some I once called close friends. The mess of all THAT has been plenty. In addition, lesser acquaintances devoted to those with whom I’ve experienced conflict – loyalists to the other party, as it were – have made their disapproval of me clear. In those acquaintances’ show of support to my used-to-be friends (which I get), I’ve felt discarded on a secondary level. Because the fallout of those relationships has consumed so much of my mind this past year, I’ve spent plenty of time writing about it. Just not HERE. Because…anger and deep hurt have been driving out a lot of my words, and I can’t see how sharing rage-infused commentary is at all productive. And because…is it fair to share someone else’s behavioral stumbles, even if it’s anonymously? I’m perfectly fine sharing mine, but not sure it’s my place to share others’. At the same time, those relationships HAVE contributed to my story in very distinct ways. That’s my truth. As salty ol’ Anne Lamott says, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” But how to tell the truth without prompting more discord? The thing is, as much as I sometimes want to share my experiences – the truth of my life – because I know it would resonate with someone else out there, and while YOU might not know the antagonists-in-question, THEY would know. Why dish out more hurt? They’re people with feelings and egos, just like me. Dealing with their own demons in their own time. Just like me.
Despite my quietness here in this online forum, I’ve done plenty of talking about my heartache. My trusted life partner, therapist and a few friends have helped me work through the intricacies of these convoluted relationships. But to publicize it? I’ve decided there’s no need. (Not to say there isn’t a WANT. When it feels like someone is getting away with bad behavior, my knee-jerk reaction is to tell the world. You act like a ding-dong, the world shall know of your ding-dongedness by way of justice-seeking Jana Banana!!!) Dumping out relational injustices online feels like the social media equivalent of “making a scene”. Like when someone’s waiting to buy concert tickets and someone else cuts in line and a brawl ensues? Making a scene ensures that others recognize injustices are being committed. I so, SO get that. But I’m not a scene-maker. That ain’t my thang. I don’t see how it contributes anything positive to the world at large. So why would I do it in slo-mo on my blog?
This is a hard call that I’ve been wrestling with for a while now. Many of life’s most interesting experiences – the ones that often most nurture inner growth – include other people. But I just can’t seem to make peace with the idea of sacrificing another person’s feelings at the cost of a riveting blog post, even if their behavior has been less-than-stellar. It’s not worth it. I like what poet Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg says on the matter: “Even if you’re writing about a family member who physically abused you, the writing will be strongest and most transformative if it’s written from the perspective of telling your truth rather than judging and convicting your torturers. What’s the difference? Usually, it’s perspective — having had enough time, space and healing pass through you that you can tell the story that wants to be told.”
That’s where I am. In this place of passing through, from the acute sorrow and want to convict, to a position where I can look back and say, ‘Well that SUCKED. But I moved forward anyway. I survived that loss. And that one. And that one.’ And in the midst of the grief, I lived my life and fed my kids and did boocoodles of laundry and ran errands on no sleep and laughed really hard when I saw my husband tango with another man at the Christmas party. And over time (NOT overnight), the desire to tell the world how so-and-so broke my heart begins to diminish. Funny how it works that way.
All the personal relational ruckus has thrust me into this faraway, removed-from-society place of self-introspection. I’m kind of naturally like that anyway, but this experience of loss after loss after loss of companion – and why those losses have all been so searingly painful – has directed me to examine myself to a depth I haven’t before. My hope is that this soul-searching will help me recalibrate how I interact with people in general, especially those closest to me, including myself. Maybe myself most of all.
So. I will scribble out my discontent privately for as long as I need. Jot it out in my journal and tap it out on Claire (the MacBook Air). Write the ache right out of my heart, and – I’m hoping – pen forgiveness back in. The other day I noticed I had typed out several pages of thoughts that made no mention of those frayed relationships. I take that as a good sign. There’s been some healing. A little, anyway. It doesn’t mean my spirit is settled about what’s happened. I know I’ll visit those wounds again (and again) and wonder why things shook out the way they did. But “time, space and healing” seem to be doing what the poet suggested: giving me new perspective. The hurt isn’t fueling my discourse as much. Which means it feels safer to share my words again.