Little Fox just went down for a nap. I'm setting the timer to write for 20 minutes, then move on to try and get everything else on the list done before he wakes.
I work with some really incredible people. Professionally they are awesome, and every so often we get to connect on a more personal level. Facebook has really opened up the level of relationships that I have with some of these folks.
Since I had Little Fox, and have made it a priority to integrate him as much as possible into my professional life (thank you Boss!) I've seen the lines between professional and personal blur even more. There are definitely benefits to sharing the vulnerability of being a mom to be seen by colleagues. It opens the door to deeper personal connections that ultimately support our professional work. (I'm sure that there are others who disagree with my approach to work-life balance and will argue that it negatively impacts our work, but I'm not having that conversation right now.)
Through Facebook, I've stumbled upon the somewhat anonymous blogs of three professional peers. Clearly not totally anonymous, but maybe posted, or referenced during a time of vulnerability. I found myself devouring their words, their posts, their most personal thoughts, seeing them in a whole new light, deepening my respect for their life journey, understanding and knowing them on a while new level. Yet feeling a little bit like maybe I was violating some sort of unspoken rules by reading their blogs and not sharing mine with them, not even commenting to let them know that I'd viewed theirs.
The first was a profoundly powerful personal account of a colleague who was undergoing the transformation from a woman to a man. I was of course observing the outward transformation, but to read the inner experience seriously moved me. When I see him now I want to hug him and tell him how deeply I respect the choices he has made, but instead simply look for random opportunities to support him and his work.
The second was a newer blog of an older woman who has been recovered from an eating disorder for many years. Her blog reveals that it remains a daily struggle for her. I did write to her to express my admiration for her work, for her writing, and for her bravery in being so open about her experience. I told her that I too Have a blog, but didn't offer to share. I ultimately hired her to do some contract work for the non-profit that I was board chair of. There were other equally qualified individuals, but I felt a connection to this woman, because she had revealed her vulnerability.
Most recently, another colleague indirectly posted a link to the old blog that she wrote during her battle with cancer. Again, I knew about her experience as a result of working with her while she lost her hair, and underwent treatment and recovery, but reading her posts about the personal side of the experience was really incredible. She is someone who I've wanted to connect with on a more personal level for years, but haven't been able to make the leap from professional to the personal. Except now, I have an intimate knowledge of her most significant life struggle. She may know that we fought hard for our little fox, but has no idea the extent of our struggle or the scars that it has left behind.
So, my question today.... What do I do with this most personal knowledge of my peers? How do I respect their most private and personal thoughts, while knowing that I am not prepared to share my own? And significantly, are there people in my life who stumbled across my blog and are sitting in a similar position wondering if they should reveal their knowledge to me or not?
my disaster of a kitchen calls.