“How are you today?”


“I’m good, how are you?”


“I’m good.  Things are good.”


What a normal conversation.  I’ve had it a million times.  It is true, and it is not true.  I am not hungry.  I am not homeless.  I am not suffering from a fatal illness.  My body is safe.  And yet it is not entirely true, is it?  I am not a negative person, and I don’t want the world to think otherwise.  I want the world to know I appreciate all of these things that I have.  If I am not satisfied it is no one’s problem but my own.  I don’t want to whine, and I don’t want my low moods to sully anyone else’s day.


I have not wanted to write for the last two weeks.  The last time I wrote my sadness and hurt bled into the page.  If it was just me, just a journal, that would be fine.  Learning how to express myself is important to me.  But now we have an audience.  I do not want anyone to see this minute aspect of my life and assume this is all there is to me.


We began this project as an anonymous website an occasional person might stumble upon.  But our words are being read.  Some of the readers know who I am.  When I write now I wonder how the words will be understood.  Obviously, the reader’s perception is a mark of how well a writer is expressing herself, but I am not ready to come out onto the stage.


I have begun to sanitize my thoughts.  If a topic seems too inflammatory I shy away from it.  If a word I want to use might cause offense I hesitate.  I am afraid of the judgments that may come.  I am worried that recounting a new experience will cast shadows on my personal or professional life.  I am treating this blog the way I treat my real-world life.


This week I met someone who is “good.”  He sounded grateful for his job and the experiences he has had, which would be the envy of many of his professional peers.  And he admitted he wasn’t happy.  He hasn’t found the thing that gives him purpose.  Speaking with him was comfortable.  I wanted to talk for hours.  I wanted to pick apart all of his unhappy moments and compare them to the happy ones.  I wanted to swap theories on how to redirect your life.  I didn’t want to focus on the negatives, I just wanted to find the patterns.


Our conversation reminded me why I started to write.  I want to be honest.  I want to work through the layers of facts and emotions that make the path so foggy.   I want to feel emotions as they come instead of bottling them up until the least opportune moment.  Hiding behind the veneer of societal normalcy is exhausting, but more importantly it leads to misdirection.   How do you determine what you think or want when you have so many voices in your head explaining the rules you must follow?


I have never been great at sorting things through in my head.  The words jumble up like a giant math problem, which is definitely not my strong suit.  I need lists and sentences and chapters to organize me and use as reference points. Or I need a good conversation with a friend I trust.  I still don’t want to open up the coffee can, but at some point I will have to share myself in order to find and maintain the relationships that matter.  Maybe it is like the skydiving Jodi wants me to try – something you just have to jump into, regardless of whether you are ready.


I will whine in these entries.  I will discuss emotions that may be embarrassing or painful.  I will not focus on the negatives.  I will settle in for a long talk about the unhappy moments versus the happy ones.  I will seek the pattern.  I will indiscriminately trust anyone who happens to read what I write while I am learning how to be discriminating enough to find the people I can trust to be a part of my life.  I will speak as if I am meeting a new friend.