Friday, October 4, 2013

20 minutes - vulnerabilities

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.


  1. Hi love! I have SO missed you...we should have a phone catch up! Call me anytime, I am not working right now to get ready for our big move so I am free whenev.

    So excited for your new blog! I am getting ready to start a new one too, it just doesn't feel right blogging at my old space anymore.

  2. I once found the blog of a classmate who cheated all the time. I really didn't know what to make of it.

  3. I also plan my life around naps!
    About your dilemma. I don't know. I am also wondering whether to be more public with my blog because I like writing and I want to make money from it. However, some things I say I know others will disagree with e.g. parenting styles, or anything really. I guess it does take courage to tell people, maybe I will wait till the time is right.
    At least reading these blogs connects you to these people, even if you don't tell them.

  4. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.
    I also don't really know how to answer your question. I try to be as anonymous as possible when writing my blog, so I can say whatever I want without filtering. We are not open about our IF struggles (past and current) and I would not want anyone IRL to find my blog. I would personally feel very awkward if someone approach me about my blog. I would do the same to others, keep it private, unless they are not concerned about secrecy.

  5. Hi! This was a great post! It also makes me really want to branch out and find some other blogs to follow that are not related to IF.
    I am very open about my blog and many many people know what we are going through. The downside is that I cannot say whatever I want due to the possibility of hurt feelings. I have never had any backlash and everything about my openness has been positive. I found I received a tremendous amount of love and support from some unlikely places :)

  6. Hi from ICLW...I prob would not let them know you know about their blogs most ppl write to get their feelings out and get support from ppl that they do not know IRL

  7. I love this post! It really makes you remember that you DON'T know what others are really struggling with just by looking at them.

    I don't really have any answers for your questions. I feel like if they posted their blogs on FB then they're okay with the people on their friend lists reading them. I don't know how you'd bring that up in conversation, but you could always comment when you think you can?

  8. Hi from ICLW! Me too, I would recommend you do not let them know that you know about their blogs. As "not totally anonymous" bloggers they might guess you know, but unless they themselves start a discussion on that, I would just keep quiet, especially if you are not ready to share a more intimate side of yourself with them.

  9. Hi from ICLW! What a tough situation...I wouldn't let them know you found their blogs. I, personally, would probably not read them any further knowing they didn't tell me about them and may not want them read by me. I know the internet is not private, and having them out there means they're willing to let people read them, but I think it would be easier to "not let anything slip" when talking to them if you really aren't reading them. It's a reminder to us all that our blogs are not private, and anyone could find them!