Blogging and Authenticity: How Personal Is Too Personal?

My name is Michelle and I am putting snippets of my life on the Internet. I don’t expect everyone who reads what I write or sees the silly GIFs I post to love me. But I would be lying if I wasn’t looking for some unit of approval from you. And in this searching, which can manifest as desperation in my lower times, I often wonder if I should be more “bold” in sharing my personal life – bare it all and speak my mind with absolute freedom.

Donald Trump funny face | The Lonely Tribalist
A tried and true tactic.

However, I’ve made my identity more or less public. I’ve put not only my face but my partner’s face on this blog, as well. I use my real first name and his real moniker. It wouldn’t take much to find out who I really am, where I work, or where I live. This is the Age of Information – the “TMI Age,” as we like to call it – where everything from learning how to knit to Spock-Snape-Dr. Who slash fiction is just a Google search away.

So with this in mind, how wise is it to talk deeply about my personal life? And I’m talking about more than spouting my “Feel the Bern” political views and my tiny tantrums of existential angst pondering the inevitable heat death of the universe. I’m talking about the nitty-gritty, HBO stuff – how much do I want to share about my personal relationships? That’s where the juicy bits lie. From the open and vulnerable to the dramatic and sensational, people [myself most definitely included] love hearing about relationship. Romantic, historic, modern, sexy – all the categories of human relationship produce mass followings from avid readers. I want to share my relationships with you, faithful (or unfaithful) readers. I want to explore what it means to be in relationship without the restraint of a puritanical-based moral system.

But I can’t have everyone know. We’ve all read and heard of sustained humiliation and lives being ruined from sloppy oversharing. This is information I would be uncomfortable having co-workers read. I’d even blush to have friends and acquaintances read about my theories and practices regarding relationships. And Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid parents, grandparents, or any other family members ever laid eyes on such activity. I can’t even decide how much to fucking swear on this site.

Flying Spaghetti Monster prayer | The Lonely Tribalist
I’ll be praying hard these coming months.

So what is a gal with a desire to express herself to strangers in 2015 to do? How do I strive to be authentic in a medium, when I’m still held captive by fear? I love reading people’s blogs that go into raw detail about their lives. Reading those narratives and experiences makes me feel un-alone in my carnal and philosophical depravities. I envy their expressiveness. [I’ve posted some of these people’s blogs here and here]. And, as I said in the beginning, I have a craving to be validated. The Internet is a cesspool, but it’s pretty freaking glorious, as well. It has brought millions of people together who otherwise wouldn’t have.

To hell with excuses – I shall sally forth, my noble steed Moose by my side! This will likely be something I’ll mull over for quite some time. Slowly and surely, I will be delving more and more into my personal life and sharing my findings and experiences with you lovelies. Bear with me as I test the open waters of vulnerability, while trying to entertain and discover value in this untested vessel of a writing voice, as well.

So thanks for reading this far and I look forward to joining in your humanity in intimate and – hopefully – hilarious ways.

Cheers,
Michelle and Moose

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17 Replies to “Blogging and Authenticity: How Personal Is Too Personal?”

  1. This post is great. This blog is great. You’re great. Greatness.
    I have the same thoughts as you do. How much is too much? Does what I write make sense to anyone? Am I being true to myself and vulnerable There’s something alluring about the internet and blogging because all of these things depends on you (or in my case, me). I have a picture of myself floating around my blog, I write about what I am really feeling, but at the end of the day, how much does one really know me? If I walked pass someone in the streets it’s doubtful that I’ll be recognized because of my blog alone. The internet give me the power to be anonymous and not at the same time. Few of my friends know that I blog, and even fewer have seen it. Is it because I’m embarrassed of myself, or because I crave the ability to release part of inhibitions and be as vulnerable as I see fit without context getting in the way? Anyway those are my thoughts on this wonderful post!
    Like I said, you’re great!

    Like

  2. I think it is a personal thing on how much you want to share. When I first set up my blog, it was to be partly anon for no other reason than I have a son, once its out there its out there and there is no getting it back. However my friends and family know who is writing it, and I am myself online, what I write about I would say in real life as well.

    I wouldn’t for example chat about my sex life, it is a personal thing between me and my partner however I do follow blogs which are very open and honest about their sex lives

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points all. I think that’s the key. What would I say in face-to-face conversation? And then looking ahead to expanding the authenticity of what I say in person, so that all my personal thoughts and feelings are not just relegated anonymously to strangers on the web.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha this is great. I’ve struggled with this as well, how much info is too much info? Lol But I confirm that you should be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. People will either love you, or they can keep trotting down the cyber road. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vulnerability is such a great word to describe this… When you’re honest you’re so vulnerable. It scares me to share my blog sometimes outside of my small Facebook group because it’s an opening into my mind, and an invitation to critique or put down. I struggle too, with how much to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been keeping that word in mind since I came across the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. My partner read it and would tell me about it. I need to read it myself soon. It focuses on the power of vulnerability – backed by research! Thanks for the comment 🙂

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  5. Love that you brought this up. I feel you this situation. I have too many clients, family members, etc that would be quite snotty if they were to find my blog and some of my thoughts. Here I can be myself and very open. It’s me and my thoughts wide open and no holding back. I love it!

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  6. I get this. I haven’t even tied mine to m own first name, and yet that refrain of “what if $person finds out/reads this?” runs through my head.

    I’ve come out about my sexuality and romantic orientation, and my wife has come out about her gender to pretty much everyone we know…but there are other things I talk about that sometimes make me hesitate. And yet–authenticity. Freedom to be me. And a phrase I’ve read, “If they wanted you to write nicely about them, they should’ve treated you better.” I struggle, but I also want to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have definitely struggled with trying to find the fine line between ok and not ok to share. But at the end of the day, it is your blog! And I think it’s an awesome thing when we get to learn more about each other over blogs. But you have to see what you are comfortable with sharing and what you would rather keep away from the Internet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Authenticity is certainly key… But I feel your pain regarding the dilemma about just how much to put out there! It’s a hard decision when so many people from real life know about your blog. You don’t want their opinion of you to decline, but if you censor your blog too much, it becomes less interesting. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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