Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Authenticity, Fear and Safety

This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that's part of Liv Lane's How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave.

"On the Street Where I Live" ⌐ © mary beth volpini 2011

I grew up in an alcoholic home. I never really felt safe and I was not protected by those who were “supposed” to love me.  I did not reveal a lot about my true self until I entered therapy in the 30’s. The secrets came out, well most of them and I could start to heal. I was able to share my true story and be authentic in small groups and one on one when I felt safe that they could handle the information.

My then husband started this blog for me in 2008. I tried to be authentic and honest, but there was still so much that I could not share. Fear stopped me. I guess it was easier and safer for me to tell my story through my art. I have so many blog posts that race through my head, but then the fear stops me again. Will someone read it and not like my art, or will I lose my job, or think I am a bad Mother. It is so much harder to feel safe in the world wide web, once the information or post is out. It . is . out and you have no control who reads it.

We hear so much about authenticity and that is what people want. BUT do they really want that, the good the bad and the ugly or do they want life tied up with a pretty bow? Positive Polly. The goal of my blog is to inspire people, especially women and children. Inspire to look at the world more creatively. Inspire people to find hearts and love around them. Inspire to get back up and persevere when life knocks you down and to know that they are not alone in their struggles.

My son has an assignment this week in Language Arts class and he has to read and then comment on various quotes. I love quotes and read through some of the selections. Two of them struck a cord with me:

“Write what you know.” Geraldine Brooks
“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Ernest Hemingway

I know pain, I know being an adult child of an alcoholic, I know abuse, I know infertility, I know financial infidelity, I know emotional infidelity, I know deceit, I know cancer, I know divorce. 


I also know Motherhood, joy, healing, survivorship, honesty, gratitude, perseverance, friendship and love.

I will strive to be authentic and to share as much as I can while still feeling safe in the hopes of helping others know they are not alone as we navigate our path in life.


Susan Michael Barrett said...

I think you know a lot, Mary Beth. Your story reminds me again that its not how life shows up but how I respond to it.

I appreciate your willingness to write with honesty and openness. I join you in that endeavor.

As much as I can, I understand your self-discovery and transformation process. What an inspiring example of carrying what is learned from experience forward.

We share similar life experiences (gifts?) of divorce, alcoholic parents, arts background, and oh my, the cancer project.

Beautiful you, best wishes. xo

Harmony Harrison said...

I think you ask a good question when you wonder if people really want authenticity. I've wondered that, too. What I've come to realize (for myself, if not for anyone else) is that the people who DO want my authentic self are the only ones who really matter in my life. I'm grateful that you're sharing your story -- the hard and the beloved. Thank you.

Erin Warhol said...

I really enjoyed reading your post Mary Beth. I think the brave blog exercise showed me how we seem to have two divergent drives, one to express and then then another to protect. I think the fact that you are willing to stand in that confliction, says a lot about your depth. It also sets a wonderful example for your kids. Thanks for sharing your lovely authentic voice!

Anonymous said...

I also struggle with what to put out there into the world. Will people really still like me if I say what's REALLY AND TRULY on my mind. Your post reminded me that in order for us to be okay with sharing, more of us need to do just that. Put our stories out there because you know what? You and me...we are not alone. There's alot of us out there. Thank you for being brave and helping me to be brave too.


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