Monday, July 16, 2007

On the vulnerability of blogging

While getting into bed the other night I stepped over an Anne Lamott book laying on my floor. And there collided in my mind my recent conversations with people who feel protective when I am vulnerable here, with the stunning vulnerability of Anne Lamott.

Lamott shares much more vulnerably than I do (in a much more well written way). In fact it is why her books are so powerful. One reason people long for this type of sharing is because we want to know the everyday manner in which other people work through things.

I don't know about you, but I find people say things like: "Just pray about it. Just do ______. The bible says..." When what people want is a showing of life, not a telling. My biggest issue with sermons is when pastors stand up and say something like "You will find you change as you read your bible and pray” or some other kind of pulpit platitude. I don’t want to hear generalizations I want specificity! If you are going to say that in a sermon tell me a story about something real you struggled with and why and how what you did or thought about changed you. Connect the dots.

In this process of titrating me and my sexuality (and tons of other things in my life) I’ve spent untold hours reading other blogs, mostly Christian lesbians, and the soulforce forum, trying to hear their stories. Why did/do I need that? Why do we need these types of voyeuristic blogs anonymous or not? Because it helps us know we are not alone. In particular when we feel we are the “only ones” or that “no one understands” it gives us a chance to have a community when we we haven't figured out how to re-fit in ours or find a new one.

And yes when it comes to blogs I totally admit I am a voyeur. And in the beginning especially, besides talking with zuzu, I read a ton of the older posts on Deb's blog and I read this blog, and then started finding other blogs of christian lesbians blogs like: Gay, christian & confused, rising up whole, 51% sure, and light of dawn. Why? Just to know I wasn't the only one wrestling this out. Because sometimes I felt dumb asking some questions.

And so I blog a bit similarly. Because the books I crave are books by people who share vulnerably and share things other people don't. And the blogs I read are ones that are a bit more on the vulnerable side.

I bet that for every person that fears sharing too much on the internet (which does happen!) there is a person that needs to read an authentic post from someone similar to them to know they aren’t alone.

As an added bonus/perk of being in a blogging community sometimes you get to meet new people. This blogger and I are having coffee tonight.


M said...

Hear hear! I love the vulnerability of posting and think that often times the vulnerability is mostly emotional, not physical. As in, it isn't that we are giving away exactly who we are or our addresses, but giving away our fears and desires. That kind of vulnerability is scarier but is more helpful for everyone. I totally agree with needing others' vulnerability to help us feel more grounded. Well said.

Zuzu said...

The author you mention lives in my community. I see her on the mountain walking her dog frequently. She's close friends with my neighbor and we went to a reading my neighbor organized to support the local high school athletic team. I particularly like her essays. - Zuzu

just me said...

She is one of my very favorite authors ever. And yes her essay's in particular. Have you read her book operating instructions? I like her book bird by bird and her books on faith. They are the kind of books on faith I find most accessible right now. Real and non-judgmental but very christian still the same....

~Deb said...

" I don’t want to hear generalizations I want specificity!"

When people say to pray about it, I think it's the wise thing to do when someone is going through struggles. I totally believe that each and every person goes through their own thing- their own cross to bear if you will. The most important belief of mine is a personalized relationship with God, or whoever or whatever you worship.

For me, I find it liberating to be vulnerable on my blog. I have to admit that I was a bit more vulnerable on my blog in the past than I am now. I guess these days I have my guard up, but I think that should change- due to all the chastising I've been through.

The same goes for you. I think if you let yourself become open and vulnerable, you'll find some sort of peace of mind and that other people can relate to what's being said on your part.

Great post! I hope you're doing well!


Christine Bakke said...

I really hear you on this. Those are the books that I like the best, and the ones that touch me the most.

I was at the press conference in LA when Darlene Bogle recently gave a formal apology for her involvement in the ex-gay movement. At one point she choked up and cried a bit as she was speaking.

Later, she said to me, "I messed up! I cried." Of course, I said she didn't at all, that it was really moving, and that it might be the most touching part of the whole press conference. Indeed it was, and was the moment that made it on the local news and CNN.

It can be so scary being vulnerable, but at this point, I don't think I can live my life any other way.

I'm jealous you're having coffee with Suzanne, btw :)

What Anne Lamott book?

just me said...

Deb thanks for your comments. I agree on prayer being really helpful. I think my pause is regarding saying "pray about it" when what I want is to hear how exactly you prayed and how exactly it changed you.

Also I'm sad you have to have your guard up, but you have had some pretty hard blog visitors! I look forward to whatever you share in the future.

Christine: What a great example of this re: Darlene! More than one Lamott book... Traveling Mercies and Bird by Bird. Also you were at coffee in spirit. We mentioned you and your blogging at coffee. :)

~Deb said...

I guess it's easier to just brush something off and say, "Well just pray about it". How I do it, is meditating first. Get everything out of your head------clear it. Pray about what it is that's bothering you- focus on it. Then, listen------meaning to listen for the still voice within, which in my belief is God. (Some would say it's my

Be open and in tune to what God's message is. You'll be surprised.

I hope you're doing great!

just me said...

Thanks Deb. :) Good stuff.

Liadan said...

I have Traveling Mercies on my bookshelf. Anne Lamott is awesome.

You might try Gordon Atkinson's too; it's a blog at said address, but he published a collection of essays, some of which were originally blog posts, under that title. He has the same mix of wit and compassion to his faith that Lamott has.

just me said...

Liadan: Thanks for your comment and the recommendation...