The Importance of Talking

One of the philosophies I try to stick to with blogging is that it’s generally better to write something that’s not up to my occasionally-absurd standards than it is to not write because I’m afraid I won’t say something perfectly. This is a post that I’ve had in my head for a long time, and I decided it’s time for it to be written whether or not I’m going to get it perfect.

I’m going through a shitty time right now. It’s the same stuff – tendinitis is freaking me out about employment and money and being able to do the things I want to do, etc., etc. I don’t feel like I have a whole lot of control over my life, and I don’t feel like I have a whole lot of options to try to regain that control. It’s stressful, and it’s depression-triggering, and it sucks. I get nervous about talking about it, because I don’t want people to get tired of just reading me whining about life all the time.

That said, I’ve been following the Twitter feed of a secular activist who’s been going through some horrifying health issues lately. In light of those issues, their feed has consisted in large part of the kind of expression of exhaustion, frustration, and general difficulty coping that I’m apprehensive to indulge in, myself (particularly given that my health issues, in many ways, don’t really compare). Yet, in following this person, rather than finding myself bothered by it, I find myself taking comfort from it — I find myself feeling like I have some company. Which brings me to the post I’ve been wanting to write:

I do my best, when all I feel like talking about how things are feeling really shitty, and I’m afraid to talk about that, to remember that even that can be useful. I try to remember that if there’s something I’m afraid to talk about, that there are probably other people who are uncomfortable talking about it, too, and that probably the best thing I could possibly do for those people is to be one of the people to talk about it anyway. I try to remember that the more intimidating it is to talk about something, and the more that I feel like I’m the only person who may feel a particular way, the more valuable it will have been for me to have talked about it for that one other person who may feel similarly and stumble across my blog. I try to remember the many, many times that I have read something by a random stranger online, and seen a part of myself in what they wrote, and felt, for the first time, like that part of me had company.

Given the option, I would give up all of my physical health issues in a second. Not having been given that option, however, I try to remember that the more difficult my personal situation is, the more good I can do by talking about it. It’s not about the people who may or may not get tired of my complaining about things being difficult, it’s about that one person for whom things are just as difficult stumbling upon my blog and experiencing the relief that can only come from suddenly realizing that you have company, and that maybe it’s okay to complain. If nothing else, maybe future me will stumble across past me’s writings and feel that way at least a little.

In a nutshell: the more intimidating something is to talk about, the more likely it is that doing that talking can do a lot of good. The more difficult the situation is, the more good is done by being the person to put it in front of a world full of other people who may just need to see that one other person say what they’re feeling to feel okay about it. This is one of the reasons why I try to make an effort to talk about things even when I’m just feeling shitty, and why I think, for everyone, it’s worth thinking about this kind of sharing not just as something that you do for yourself, but as something that can do an immense amount of good for others.

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  1. Pingback: The Other Person in the Room | Research to be Done

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