Being Vulnerable

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Being Vulnerable

{Full disclosure: I’m still not good at being vulnerable….I wrote this WEEKS ago and it’s been sitting here unpublished because I was fearful of posting it. Not even that this makes me that vulnerable on it’s own, but that if I publish this, then I have to be accountable to being myself, sharing myself, and actually walking the talk of BEING vulnerable for real online. I know, I know: ridiculous. I am a work in progress, what can I say?}

So, I’ve read a few times recently that you have to be vulnerable to connect with others online, and I really want to connect with people on this blog, and through my art. I struggle with this so much online! However, I do agree that if you’re hiding away a part of yourself that people can sense that. I really don’t want to be that person who seems a bit shady, just because I’m trying to protect myself, ya know?

In person, I’m the total opposite. I can talk about ANYTHING. The good, the bad, the ugly- doesn’t matter! I have no problem talking about shameful things I’ve done or said, or talking about regrets or struggle. I can tell you the most embarrassing parts of my life, while laughing at myself, and you know what? I don’t even think twice about it! It comes to me totally naturally.

Online, it’s a different story altogether. I feel much more guarded and reserved. The things I will say in person, I won’t post a meme about on Facebook. I take a ton of pictures all the time, I rarely ever post them online. I don’t mean to be guarded like that, and I wish I could nail down a concrete reason for why I do it. Then, perhaps it would be easier to fix.

Have you ever had a someone totally attack you online? It’s most often strangers, but it can be those you once thought of as friends too. Like the ones who are so rabid and venomous that they will do everything they can to expose anything about you that they find unsavory, posting screenshots of your social media, post details of your personal life, dox you if given the chance? Yeah, those people. If you haven’t had the unique adventure to be on one of those people’s bad side, then I’m sure you’ve witnessed some form of it happening to someone else. I have, unfortunately, been a target more than once. It’s not fun, and it’s not pretty.

Situations like that make you clam up over time. You start to be VERY careful of what anyone can find about you online, even your family, friends and acquaintances. You stop posting those cute, but funny pics of your kids in ripped up jeans and dirty faces because someone out there may assume you are a neglectful parent. You don’t post other pictures because that pile of mail sitting on the coffee table looks awful and you don’t want someone to assume you’re a slob ass housekeeper. My reality is that I have a 100+ year old house. Some parts haven’t been updated since the 60’s. Yeah…..looks like white trash heaven up in this bitch sometimes. Besides that, there is ALWAYS some construction going on around here. You just can’t take a good pic, avoiding all that mess, or outdated hot-mess-ness. It’s NOT possible. LOL Oh well. Brace yourselves when I start posting this stuff. I warned you.

My own paranoia goes a little deeper still. Having an ex-husband who at one point in his life, went full psychopath stalker, makes you keep your personal stuff far, FAR away from the internet. You just never know who is sharing your information with people you do not want having it. He tried using information found online against me in court, and that put a big ol’ exclamation point on my need for being guarded on the internet. Thankfully, with my daughter turning 18 soon, this is mostly behind me. Yet, how do you break a habit that you’ve had and perfected for the last 17 years?

There is still a difference between being vulnerable, open, and honest and being safe online. I make a conscious effort to NOT check-in at places, and I don’t post about vacations or outings until we’ve returned. (So, yeah, if you see me posting about being on vacation, I probably created it while I was there and timed them to post later and I’m likely sitting on my couch LOL no shame in my game!) There are some real crazies in the world though, so you should always be on the lookout for stuff like that. It’s just good form to NOT clue people in to when you’ll be away from home.

I think it’s going to be tough for me to be more open, at least at first. It takes awhile to create new habits, right? However, I think I’ll be happier when I feel the freedom to post willy-nilly about whatever I want. Who cares if a psycho ex sees it? Who cares if some random hater wants to screenshot it and try to humiliate me? I think I’m coming to a point in my life where I just don’t give a fuck, if I’m being honest. It’s still going to be a hard habit to break because it’s ingrained hardcore, but at least I don’t HAVE to hide myself away for those reasons anymore.

So, give me your stories. Have you been attacked online and what happened? People are nuts, but I can’t be the only one who seems to draw the crazy right outta people.

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