The fictional Carrie Bradshaw questioned her relationships for all of NYC to read. Real life Christian music artist Carlos Whitaker writes the most inspiring and honest articles that question his very Faith and everything we think we know about the Church.
Like many other authors, I put thoughts into the world that might offend. One of my recent posts reflects on online privacy (oxymoron). Like any editorial tends to do, my post included anecdotes from my personal life. I am a writer, and pondering different questions and sharing details is what I do – it’s called “writing what you know”.
In this case, a problem-riddled relationship with an old girlfriend was my true-life example. Not that she or our history was the basis of my post, but still a rather resounding example to use as to why I feel conflicted.
She later addressed me head-on in an email, which I will admit is something I carefully chose not to do in the last year of our relationship. I point the latter out because she asserts that I am “cowardly” and “passive aggressive” for writing my thoughts, my journey, and my fears on websites instead of having called her.
Are all of our blogs “cowardly” in nature for being places where we question our own lives, our choices, our relationships, our careers, and our dreams? Is choosing to keep our mouths shut in the face of conflict and muddling through our inner questions via our personal websites “passive aggressive”?
The truth is, I had reached out in various light-hearted ways, as to show I still cared about her. If something of that nature goes unanswered, I assume, as is popularly said, that “the ball is in their court”.
What I do not assume is that I have the right to demand an answer as for someone else’s (lack of) response or behavior.
A couple years ago, I heard a marvelous quote along the lines of it not being my business what anyone else thinks of me, so why ask?
For instance, over the last few years, I have had a guy from high school contact me repeatedly, reaching out over Facebook or various other methods. I simply ignore the requests.
I have nothing against him, per se, and we were, for about three years as teenagers, close. We parted ways ages ago, however, and I have no delusions of reuniting with him as friends and how magically neat that would be.
Nothing about becoming Facebook friends over a decade later would be neat, nor magical. Our last encounters were not hostile, but also not friendly. (Why do we believe that just because we can “friend” everyone online that we once knew, that we should?)
Anyhow, this fellow ended up sending me a very defensive email, asking what I had against him that I would not “friend” him and why I was making it personal. I never replied to that email either. We had not talked in over a decade. If he took it personal, that was his choice. I really did not need to share how I do or do not feel toward him. He does not need to know how I feel in order to resume his life happily. (Update: after a second, pushy email asking what he did to hurt me, I finally wrote back, gently explaining how it was not personal, and explained what I did above. He wrote back saying me not “friending” him was the most personal thing in the world and he cannot understand why I do not see that. Agree to disagree, I guess.)
Case in point.
Back to the drama at hand -
I get it – if you feel anger toward someone, you should confront them. If you have a problem with a friend, try talking it out. Otherwise, you are acting in a cowardly manner.
Only, without delving into history, I can honestly say I did try confronting the situation – I tried to talk it out – and I was shut down. That is fine – I am not crying the victim. There are no victims in my life. I am not slighted by the silence. I see our dysfunctional communication as symptomatic of our relationship, and I accept that as a fact, not a personal attack.
I figure I can gather by someone’s actions whether to step in or step back. I also figure that when I tell someone how I feel and that I still care about them, but I am cut off and told how wrong I am and how terrible I am… well, I guess I have very little to figure out!
Life is fleeting, right? Shouldn’t we laugh more (check out Ecclesiastes, if you are not familiar) and enjoy life?
So I decided spinning my energy back into open communication and friendships was my best pursuit.
Placing more energy into a confrontation and what looked to be yet another war of words was not.
That is a decision I do not regret, even in the slightest. I prayed long and hard on what to do, for months, and answering sarcasm and accusations in any manner was not where God guides me anymore.
The thing to remember:
God takes care of things. Everything. In exactly the way it should be. He shows us what we should see – that is, if we ask and if we are willing to accept what He answers.
So, for those of you who work through your conflicting feelings on Faith, religion, family, health, social media, and friendship online and in writing…
Do you feel like a coward?
I confidently can say I do not. I feel strongly rooted in my Spirit, my Friendships, my Family, and my Strength… all of which I may have questions about, but am willing to be vulnerable to find answers. I guess I have her email to thank for giving me the ability to recognize my own strength and courage.
Writing takes courage. You have to be strong enough to take what people dish back… for the mere act of having shared your world.
Putting your soul out there takes courage. Explaining the most intimate thoughts, fears, and experiences in your life so your words are more than empty preaching… that takes courage. I know Carlos Whittaker is courageous. I know all of the fertility bloggers I have come to know are courageous. I know my gal pal Lisa Sullivan and local Rockstar Ilina are courageous.
And I have so many awesome family (hello Moms and Sissies!) and friends (the family we choose!) to thank for inspiring me constantly with their own strength, courage, and ability to keep their heads high in their journeys! From the first girls I met when I began college (and the fraternity), to the sisters (and brother!) I made when I worked at the station, to people whom I have known since middle school whom I have also found such great camaraderie in, no matter where our lives have taken us…
Marc and I are so blessed to find ourselves surrounded with amazing, talented, supportive, loving, genius, hilarious, courageous and positive people! And their courage and positive force reminds me to keep my head high and live… and write… without fear holding me back.
I guess all I need now is someone who can help me get all this passion and courage out more concisely.
Love, Light, and Courage to you each,
And always, any Godly advice or points-of-view from others in these trenches is appreciated!