I’m exploring my reluctance to share these blog posts with my Facebook friends. Normally I only share these posts with my Facebook group, Emotional Diabetes. I shared my post on getting a new dog from California on the main site because many of my Facebook friends have known me a long time. They may remember my old dog Sparky, or at the very least, they know how much I love dogs.
The other day, I meant to share the post, Assuming you’re alone, to my Facebook group Emotional Diabetes, but almost immediately got notifications back from some of my regular friends. I’d accidentally posted it to my main page. My friends said they liked the post. I couldn’t very well delete it at that point, so I added a comment that the posting was somewhat accidental but I may add the occasional post in future.
It sounds like I’m snatching away a new toy from a child, saying “That’s not meant for you!” I really had to examine my feelings on sharing, and the big question is why do I feel more comfortable sharing deep thoughts with strangers than I do people who feel they know me?
It’s not simple. In one aspect, talking to a stranger on a flight about your personal problems can be cathartic. You’re kind of stuck with each other, and hopefully you have a good sense that it’s okay to talk and you’re not yapping when they’d rather be tuning into their own thoughts or watching a movie. The flight analogy is like sharing on WordPress Reader or a Facebook group where you don’t know your audience.
My Facebook group includes my brother, my old babysitter (she was 12 when I was born), a collection of women I met on a Weight Watchers chat site 20 years ago, hiking friends, former journalism colleagues, friends from the horse world, cousins, workout friends, my former fasting coach and his wife, a retired police officer and former zoologist I met through journalism and a few friends I’ve known since childhood.
So what’s the problem with sharing this stuff on Facebook? The answer lies in how I will feel about the inevitable responses and the inevitable lack of responses. Regular followers will find I go fairly deep here. Even today, I paused and asked myself ‘Do I really want to write about this topic?” The answer was no. So I did it anyway. For me, life is all about personal growth and sometimes we need to push our own boundaries to get to a better place.
I have Facebook friends who are very nice people and will routinely respond positively whether they get what I’m saying or not. That’s not a bad thing, but I guess I wish people would push themselves out of their comfort zone as I try to do. A meaningful response for me is someone saying, “Hey, I get what you’re saying. I’m going to try to be more vulnerable as well. It’s hard, but I’m going to try.”
There are some topics I discuss on Facebook that I know make some friends uncomfortable. Like sobriety. I’m not trying to shame those who like to drink when I declare how many days or years I’ve been sober. I’m just saying it’s really hard but I’m doing it. And I’m proud I got this far. What other people do is up to them. I don’t judge. At least, I try not to judge.
Following a camping trip over my birthday weekend last year, I wrote an extended post on how my glucose spiked when I thought about my mother’s styling of mothering. I was still exploring this idea that my diabetes could have emotional roots and this glucose spike seemed to affirm it. As I wrote the Facebook post, my glucose actually dropped. It rarely drops without insulin. I got feedback, of course. Some of it surface-deep, some much deeper. A former colleague wrote on Messenger that he appreciated the deviation from the usual banal Facebook material, and that I wrote something meaningful, and he told me about his childhood. His experiences growing up were horrific. I find it unsurprising that he lives with a serious heart condition.
The other difficulty of sharing this kind of thing on Facebook is people will feel I’m disloyal to my mother. They may have met her and thought the world of her. True, she was a wonderful friend to many. But I’m sure a lot of people can relate that mothers who have friends who love them may not be the best mothers. Again, I’m not picking on my mother. Read this post.
I returned to the wilderness this past September for my birthday and, again, I had an unexpected glucose spike. I wrote about it here. I posted it only to my Facebook group, Emotional Diabetes. I didn’t share it with my Facebook friends.
I suppose I’m somewhat self-conscious about, metaphorically, stripping myself naked in public. Most observers might feel uncomfortable with the level of vulnerability I display. For me, it’s like asking someone you trust, “Hey I just got my hair cut. Do you like it?”
If there’s anything but an immediate, positive reaction, I’d feel wounded. The slightest pause indicates insincerity, like they’re trying to find the right words to reflect their true feelings and are coming up short.
In mediation, I learned about underlying values. It’s almost impossible to be both truthful and kind. You have to pick one or the other. Those who tell the truth can seem ruthless and lacking social skills. Those who are always kind leave you wondering how they live with themselves when they lie so much.
One way to handle the question about the hair cut is to respond with a smile and “What do you think? Do you like it?” If they say yes, then it may be that their opinion is the only one that matters. But hey, in friendships the truth has many grey areas.
In the end, I wrote a comment on the accidental Facebook post directing those who are interested in my blog to go to my group page and follow me there. That way, they’ve got access to all the posts I’ve written and will get a sense of context.
I want to thank everyone who follows my blog. It feels wonderful to be heard and appreciated. It’s Remembrance Day in Canada. No matter where you are in the world, please pause and thank our veterans for our freedom.