How do you balance a public profile being a private person? I’m writing while I’m thinking, because the subject often comes up, especially, as a blog writer.
Often the stories, poems, and prose are not even about me. But sometimes they are. Other times they are about parts of me or the people I see if that makes sense. Whatever the true subject or objective, the words used to express or describe are indeed mine. So, however, I dress it up, essentially, they are subjectively about something connected to me.
On a personal note, I keep everything close to the vest. I rarely disclose personal details about my life, my friends, my plans, or my family (directly). I’ve been this way as long as I can remember. If I do, then that means you’ve earned a level of trust somewhere in my mind and heart. A level that says similar to how I treat those who share their lives with me, you’re not going to go and shout what I say from the mountaintop. I cherish these relationships because they are difficult to find and hard to keep.
I’d liked to say this originated when I first heard the story of Zachariah in Bible school pre-adolescent, and subconsciously, it may have. However, I’m not convinced that’s true.
I’ve watched people over the years and in watching them, I’ve learned a great deal about boundaries. Everyone’s boundaries are different and I like to keep mine like a fortress at times, if not all the time. The problem I learned about living in a fortress is when you need help, it’s hard for help to find a way in. So the almighty and I struck a balance. He places people in my life I know I can trust and confirms their placement by their actions. It has been working thus far.
I’m sure I’ve been burned in the past, but that’s not what this is about. I am also an artist as I previously wrote earlier in this written dialogue currently happening in my head. And the craft of an artist is extremely public and often very personal. Whether the craft envelopes the artist’s personal challenges, triumphs, or something in between the content is almost always raw.
Thus my actual personal life, I like to keep personal and private. Not necessary a secret, but definitely private.
I had an encounter today with a friend girl of mine who innocently indirectly shared a personal component of my life on a public platform. She was only providing encouragement. Encouragement, I greatly appreciated. However, upon having a quick conversation she quickly understood and respected my wishes that I’d rather not have certain components of my life publicly discussed or commented on overtly. I am grateful for that and for her because others might have misinterpreted my call for discretion. And, turned a molehill into a mountain.
Said interaction brought me back to this confession moment. I regularly share my thoughts, experiences, and beliefs on an array of subjects on my blog and on my community Facebook page. I do so willingly and without reservation. Mainly, in hopes, it liberates someone secretly struggling with similar issues. If my transparency can save a life, provide hope, or simply let someone in the universe know they are not alone, then it’s worth it!
We live in a society where fear, shame, emotional distress, and emotional pain are bottled up until they blow up. So I write to let others know, they are indeed not alone, and most of what we battle are temporary distractions. If my public artist heart can save one soul then the open declarations are worth it every time.
Having said that, I was raised in the church. More specifically, I was raised in a church where every Sunday before communion the Pastor would call all those who had “sinned” during the week up to confess their sins one-by-one into the microphone, publicly, in accordance with our church doctrine before the entire church body. Sometimes these lines were ten to fifteen people deep. And, even after confessing their “sins”, they would each have to stand before the church before he prayed for them out loud about their specific “sin” before they were allowed to be seated.
This practice struck me as odd and invasive. Yet, for 18 years I watched the same people, week after week form a line down the right aisle waiting to be redeemed before as a church body, we could take communion. The practice troubled me, but it was tradition and it was not until years later I would experience something different, so I watched in silence week after week, month after month, and year after year until I was 18th and no longer required to attend church. Did my need for personal privacy stem from this, who knows? But, I do know I had my own silent struggles, I never felt comfortable sharing because of this practice and they followed me into adulthood.
So there was always an invisible shield on my internal thoughts for most of my life. I’m not saying I was muted but definitely guarded. And as luck would have it, for good reasons at times. So it’s rare and special when I really can be truly open on a personal level. I’m not harboring dark secrets. I just enjoy the sanctity of my personal life remaining personal.
Still seeking the right balance between publicly transparent and privately personal.