I've read and re-read every comment and email and have been trying to sort out some of my feelings on the matter. There is still much that I'm wrestling with, and I don't pretend to have answers, but I do have some thoughts to share. It could get rather lengthy so I've decided to break this into two (maybe three) posts.
None of this is profound, or even original, but here goes...
I'm a transparent person by nature. I've never been shy and I'm not very private. If I'm happy or sad or worried or mad or grieved or struggling with something, you usually know it. I'm not ashamed of my tears, and I cannot count the number of times I've totally lost it when a friend (or stranger) has innocently asked me how I'm doing. I'm just not very good at keeping that stuff in.
I've realized that I expect that same level of honesty from others.
I've also realized that is not at all realistic. We're all different. What may come easily for me may be excrutiating for you. I'm usually willing to bare my soul and share my heart...but it comes with risk, and maybe not everyone is willing to be so risky. Maybe they don't know how or aren't practiced enough. I can live with that. Basically, I'm saying that this is my issue. If you hear nothing else, please hear this: It's my issue.
I also realize that the blog (mine or yours) may not necessarily be the best place to bare and share.
I agree wholeheartedly with all of you who commented that your blog is not a place to air your dirty laundry. Some of the stuff we struggle with involves other people, and talking about it on the blog could end up hurting or diminishing people we care about. I get that. Good grief, I've even done that.
I also believe that some things are better left discussed with real life friends. Sometimes it feels like the blog community can be a substitute for real life friendship and community. Personally, I have a lot of friends AND I have a lot of blog friends. But when it comes right down to it, there are only a handful of women who really know me. And that handful is who I will share the deepest, darkest, and messiest details of my life with. Yet I still want the "bloggy me" to be more substantive than just the happy life stuff. Does that make sense? I've yet to figure out a balance in all of this.
I loved what Moriah said in her comment about the depth of honesty depending on the purpose of the blog. I definitely agree. I also love that Mrs. Naz had a mission carnival last summer in which participants shared their blog's mission/purpose. I've yet to go back and read all of the posts. I'm actually trying to come up with something along those lines for LifeAt7000Feet. Right now, it's just a place I write about things I love...but I think maybe I want to clarify that a little more.
My friend, Teri, asked in her comment why I even care when someone isn't authentic. It's their blog, they can write about what they want to write about and if they're not honest, so what? Isn't that their "stuff". I'm always free not to read it, right?
I agree with her, and I drastically pruned my google reader last week, BUT I still feel irritation at the cycle that gets perpetuated by the "plastic" persona and how it affects other women. It's sorta like the story I shared about my friend who claimed to love everything about being a mom. I was left scratching my head and wondering what in the world was wrong with me for not loving everything. Wondering why motherhood seemed so hard for me when she was breezing through it with a cheerfulness that put Pollyanna to shame.
I don't believe she was breezing through it though, and I don't believe she was always cheerful, but for some reason she didn't feel like she could admit that to anyone. And that just makes me sad...and mad because again, I expect honesty from people and there was something going on within her that prevented honesty.
See? It's MY issue.
I know that I can't change people. That is NOT my job. I can live MY life authentically though, and I desire that very much.
I'm afraid this is starting to sound whiney. That is not my intent, so maybe this is a good stopping point...for today.
I have lots of thoughts still stirring in regard to what authenticity looks like for me, especially in regard to my faith.