Too Careful

imgresLast week I was inspired by blogger Kitt O’Malley’s succinct-but-potent post titled “No Trigger Alerts Here”.  Her writing served as a welcome catalyst to change my blogging perspective .  Hopefully my altered views will be reflected in this blog in the weeks to come.  However, as usual, I digress!

I was intrigued to learn what Kitt thought of trigger alerts, for I had published a blog post containing a suicide trigger alert on that same day.

In “No Trigger Alerts Here” Kitt asserts:

“I write from my heart and from my mind, not heeding any internal or external censor. That is how I think.  That is who I am.  Each individual reader must decide for themselves whether they can handle reading potentially disturbing material.  The best writing is often disturbing, mining the extremes of human experience.  Reading such works challenges us.  We must challenge ourselves. We must challenge the perceptions of others.”

I posted the following comment in response:

“Hmmmm.  I do agree, without a shred of doubt, that some of the best, most influential writing is disturbing.  I gravitate towards reading that kind of writing when I’m stable.

When I’m depressed it’s a different story.  Give me cotton candy reading, or actually when I’m really down, I sleep and even books can’t drag me out from under the covers and release me from despair.

When I write about suicide in detail, I feel obligated to post a trigger alert.  That sense of obligation comes from reading other bloggers who post trigger alerts – I basically thought it was the ‘thing to do’ in the blogging community, of which I still consider myself to be a newbie.  I admire that fact that you write what you wish to write without internal or external censors – the word that comes to my mind is “freeing”.   I will read anything you write without reservation or hesitation, as long as I am stable!!!”

One of the true beauties of blogging is when we learn from one another and not simply pontificate from up on high.  After reading Kitt’s post, I realized I’ve been really afraid to write posts that may offend readers – readers whom for the most part I’ll never meet.  I’ve been caught up with writing in a politically correct way to the point where my cautiousness has shut me down rather than fire me up.  I’ve felt stilted writing this blog for a long time, and I knew I was holding myself back.  But I had become complacent.  I’m a lazy person and that’s what us lazies generally do – change is scary.

Moreover, I’ve been avoiding writing in depth about topics that are on my mind every day such as body image, sex and bipolar, judgement, binging, family relationships, writer’s block and much more.  I’ve held back because some of my opinions won’t be popular, pretty, p.c., and certainly not poetic!   I’ve enjoyed reading about these subjects in others’ blogs, so it’s rather ridiculous that I don’t allow myself the same opportunity to write about what matters most to me.

The thought that what I write here could turn off someone “important” and “influential” career-wise down the line has lurked in my brain from the moment I started blogging. As long as I’m not throwing around racist terms or write offensively on purpose, it seems perfectly reasonable to write more freely about complicated topics.  Perhaps I’ll include topics and details that might make some sensitive readers press the “unfollow” button, but so be it.

Here’s another truth.  Even though I love to curse, whenever I’ve wanted to insert a foul word here or there in a blog post, I usually don’t do it.  In turn, by tamping down my true self, that has taken juice out of my writing. I’m stopping that habit now.  It’s pointless to freak out about any of this – I’m not even a career blogger  or have a zillion followers, so I don’t need to fret about losing a lot of readers, sponsors or blighting my reputation.

Today, June 1st, it seems like a good day to officially worry less about writing this blog.  I’m more excited than frightened about my resolution.  I may be potty-mouthed, “bipolar-wrinkled” (a topic for another day), frizzy-haired, and anxious, but I’m also silly, compassionate, creative and unique.  I have something unique to offer to the almighty blogosphere.

As a born Jew, I grew up being told that I couldn’t be too careful, and I took in that worldview with every fiber of my being.  While I’ll continue to be too careful in the “real world” in many respects, I will no longer be too cautious in this blog.

Too careful no more! 😉

For more of Kitt’s writing please follow her blog Kitt O’Malley – Life with Bipolar Disorder and Thoughts about God at:

http://www.kittomalley.wordpress.com

 

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