It's funny how blogging is cyclical. Someone writes a post and you think "Wow! That's totally me!", so you write it too, then someone else does. A month or so will go by and the next cyclical topic pops up, and so on, and so on.
Stimey wrote a post today about having safe places. This particularly stuck out for me:
It has also made me think about what I consider to be safe—and how much I value those things. When I talk here about safety, I’m not referring so much to physical safety, but mental safety. Safe means a place I can be myself. Safe means a place where I can make a mistake and it’s okay. Safe means a place where I don’t have to be ON. Safe means a place where I don’t have to hide parts of myself. Safe is where there are no unexpected, unreasonable attacks—interpersonal, sensory, what have you.*****
Earlier this month, I finally sent out Christmas cards. December was particularly emotional for me this year, we hadn't taken a picture yet, and I hadn't sent a letter since my daughter was still in high school over 4 years ago, so I knew that I needed to get it out. I had no choice but to be perfectly ok with the fact that it was late. I, for some reason, decided that this was the year to 'come out' to my entire Christmas card list that I had a blog. (I've been writing here for over 5 years and for some reason don't share that openly. Maybe that will become apparent in a few paragraphs.) (Hi! to those on my list that have never been here before! Hope you like what you see/read.) That is scary for me.
Unlike Stimey, this blog has never felt like a safe place for me. I've always worried 'what other people will think' or that I'll get attacked in the comments for something I've written. See also: Why I don't write about politics or religion.
The other side of that coin, of course, is that when I decide to branch out and say a little something, even slightly controversial or comment-provoking, it's like I've written my thoughts in a personal journal and no one but me even knows that it's there. No comments, no nothing. There's no predictable pattern.
One reason that I don't say too many controversial things, besides the fact that I don't like conflict in general, is something that happened years ago when I was new to blogging and the blogging community. It was 2008 and we were deep into election season. A friend wrote about a controversial subject that was big during that election cycle. I had a polar opposite opinion on the topic and left a very carefully crafted comment about how I saw her point but respectfully disagreed and gave a reason or two why. Shortly thereafter, a third blogger (that I had recently met and thought that we were beginning to be friends,) TOTALLY BLASTED ME in the comments for my views. I was totally shaken to the core.
Polite people don't do that? Right? Was I foolish to have commented on such a sensitive topic? Was I in the wrong? Had I mistakenly been mean or inflamatory? I sent an email to the author of the blog post apologizing (Seriously, I apologized for the other person's behavior. What?) for starting that 'discussion thread' in her comments and asked her to remove my comment. The author pretty much blew the whole thing off: maybe I should have too, but it has obviously stuck with me.
I think that's why this place doesn't feel completely safe for me. Yes, I realize that it's pretty irrational for me to link that one incident, on someone else's blog, years ago, to this space and my friends here. You have all been supportive and helpful and not like that other blogger at all. But it's still linked in my mind, regardless of the evidence to the contrary.