During the night when I was up with the boy I was flicking through Twitter. I happened upon this blog post on Maria Shriver's blog and wowsers, it summed up exactly what blogging has given me, what I have tried hard to explain to people and haven't quite got there.
Go and read it, go on. Even if you just scan it it.
Basically, the post says, that we as humans all share the same experiences and failings, yet we hide it from each other. We isolate ourselves because we think everyone else is succeeding so we put on a front of success ourselves.
Through blogging I have read honest, raw stories from everyday people and thought: "Yes! I feel like that too." It's allowed me to be honest on my blog, admit that I'm not perfect. Admit that being a mother can be hard, boring and exhausting at times. That I struggle with things – weight, self-esteem, shyness. That life is not like it is in a catalogue. Discovering blogs was like an antidote to the Facebook world of: "Look at me and my perfect life" that often gets projected. What you don't see on those Facebook photos that people post (you know the ones of a perfect family holidaying in an exotic location) are those dark secrets: 'I really stuffed up at work'; 'I cry every time I hear my child cry'; 'My credit card is maxed out and I don't know how I'm going to pay it'; 'I can't believe I just yelled at my baby'; 'I'm lonely'; 'I'm scared'. You don't often see those as Facebook statuses.
Opening up has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. It's given me a sense of freedom in my life that I never imagined. By admitting vulneralbilty I've become stronger and happier.
A lot has been mentioned online about the recent Sunday Life articles about mummy blogging. It was inferred in the article that bloggers reveal too much of themselves and blog at the expense of their families and friends. In my experience this hasn't been true, quite the reverse. My relationships are stronger because I think those close to me have seen another side of me. Friends have said to me: "Yes! I so get that." or "I understand what you're going through better now."
Not everything single thing is revealed on blogs, I keep things for myself and my family. I am open and honest, though, and now I realise that I don't have to feel ashamed or embarrassed about simply being human. I'm human, I stuff up, make mistakes am not always who I'd like to be. My life is not perfect but it's good. I also now know that when I am going through a bad time, I'm not alone and that there are people who will support and help. I don't have to pretend.
Trying to be what you think others are is exhausting and unfulfilling.
So next time someone asks: "How are you?" why don't you speak up. Go on, I dare you.