Because I can’t not: writing in community.

				<![CDATA[<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Original here.</a>]]>

Because I can’t not: writing in community.

				<![CDATA[<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Original here.</a>]]>

Since pub­lish­ing the admis­sion of my decon­ver­sion from Chris­tian­i­ty, I’ve been ques­tion­ing myself an awful lot (to put it quite del­i­cate­ly).

Maybe I shouldn’t have writ­ten it. Maybe I should have kept play­ing along so I didn’t hurt any­one. Maybe I should have kept it all to myself for the rest of my life. Maybe the tim­ing was bad. Maybe I should have con­sult­ed with any­one who would have been upset about it before pub­lish­ing. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

I keep com­ing back to the same answers. I had to write it. Lying to every­one for the rest of my life would have been more dam­ag­ing to us all than telling the truth has been. There was nev­er going to be a “right time” for it. Con­sult­ing with those who would be hurt by it would have only served to delay then inten­si­fy the pain, because their dis­plea­sure wouldn’t have kept me from pub­lish­ing.

That leads me to two ques­tions that apply both to that post in par­tic­u­lar but also to my entire blog:

  1. Why did I write it, and why do I write in gen­er­al?
  2. Why did I write it pub­licly, and why do I write in pub­lic?

Ever since I knew enough words and how to spell them, I have writ­ten. I dis­tinct­ly remem­ber sit­ting in my desk in my first grade class­room when the real­iza­tion hit me that the words and sto­ries I loved so much were not out of my grasp. That, in fact, I had the pow­er to cre­ate my own sto­ries. This became cru­cial the old­er I got, as I filled diary after jour­nal after note­book, artic­u­lat­ing my thoughts and ques­tions and ideas to the best of my abil­i­ty.

Writ­ing has always been a pow­er­ful thing for me. It helps me orga­nize my mind in a way that think­ing alone can’t do. Even talk­ing things out loud with some­one doesn’t help me orga­nize and name the things in my head. The process of hav­ing the words to name sit­u­a­tions, ideas, wor­ries, fears, and con­cerns helps take away some of their pow­er and enable me to deal with them in a healthy way.

Some­time around 2004, I start­ed blog­ging. I didn’t know that’s what it was called — I just thought it was called Xan­ga. I only inter­act­ed with peo­ple I already knew through church camp and Chris­t­ian school, and it worked well for me. I used it most­ly as a way to keep in touch with friends. When MySpace came along, I got on that band­wag­on, too. Same with Face­book as soon as it opened up to the pub­lic. As an intro­vert, I loved being able to con­trol my social inter­ac­tions online and as a very fast typ­ist (around 90 words per minute), I was able to get out my thoughts much more quick­ly than I could by writ­ing long-hand. Peo­ple would com­ment on my writ­ing, chal­lenge my thoughts, encour­age my abil­i­ty. I didn’t real­ize it at the time, but I was form­ing my own com­mu­ni­ty, culled from already-exist­ing facets of my life.

When I got back home from my embar­rass­ing­ly short stint at uni­ver­si­ty in ear­ly 2009 with a bruised heart and bro­ken spir­it, I began retreat­ing into myself. Writ­ing had always served to help me work out my emo­tions, but I found intro­spec­tion to be too painful, too trig­ger­ing, too damn hard. Even­tu­al­ly, I stopped writ­ing alto­geth­er, lim­it­ing myself to amus­ing sta­tus updates and busi­ness-relat­ed tweets, feel­ing com­plete­ly at a loss as to how to deal with the depth of sad­ness and con­fu­sion I was expe­ri­enc­ing. I lost a lot of friends for var­i­ous rea­sons in var­i­ous ways, and I was phys­i­cal­ly far away from the few friends I had. My out­let for orga­niz­ing my thoughts, express­ing my emo­tions, con­fronting my fears and explor­ing my ques­tions was gone, leav­ing those emo­tions and fears and ques­tions to sim­mer just beneath the sur­face until they began to bub­ble up and spill out of cracks that I nev­er knew I had, hurt­ing myself and the ones I loved the most.

I start­ed join­ing forums, read­ing blogs, fol­low­ing peo­ple on Twit­ter. I did a lot of lis­ten­ing, feel­ing a lot of shock upon learn­ing that I was not alone in some of my expe­ri­ences. I found so much com­fort in their words, so much hope. Learn­ing I wasn’t alone helped me find the courage to face the dark­ness with­in. I start­ed writ­ing again.

I wrote anony­mous­ly at first, work­ing out some of the hurt and anx­i­ety and fear and anger that I’d kept bot­tled up for so long that I felt alien to myself. When I began to feel like me again, like I had found myself amidst the con­fu­sion in my brain, I felt strong enough to start writ­ing here, on this blog, under my own name. I want­ed to share my thoughts, my ideas. Show how things have affect­ed me and explore how to learn from my expe­ri­ences to help me work for the bet­ter­ment of my cor­ner of the world.

My thought all along has been, “Maybe some­one will read what I write and find the same pow­er of words that I dis­cov­ered as a first-grad­er. Maybe some­one will read my words and final­ly be able to name their fears and find that the dark­ness has a lit­tle less pow­er in their lives. Maybe they will read this blog and find out that they are not alone. Maybe they will find part of a com­mu­ni­ty here.”

Some­times I for­get that. Some­times, I wor­ry that writ­ing pub­licly means that peo­ple now own my life and my sto­ries, that I’m not allowed to set bound­aries. Some­times I wor­ry that writ­ing pub­licly is just an ego trip, a nar­cis­sis­tic grab for atten­tion. Some­times I wor­ry that I’m doing it all wrong, that I have to keep all my uncer­tain­ties hid­den.

Deep down, I know none of that is true.

Hav­ing a pub­lic blog doesn’t oblig­ate me to put up with emo­tion­al abuse. If I hadn’t expe­ri­enced the pow­er of com­mu­ni­ty fos­tered by shar­ing hon­est writ­ing, I would sim­ply keep a pri­vate jour­nal and not share pub­licly — this isn’t done out of nar­cis­sism. I know that keep­ing things hid­den in dark­ness is a recipe for dis­as­ter, that truth and light and love are healthy.

And so I’m going to keep writ­ing, and I’m going to keep pub­lish­ing it. Because I can’t not write, and I believe in the pow­er of words and com­mu­ni­ty.

Posted in Fat Girl,