Angie on Being Open and Brave Online
Hi, everyone! My name is Angie and I am so grateful that Sarah asked me to be a part of this series. Today, I’m going to talk about Being Open and Brave Online. Many years ago, I was a victim of internet bullying and that was truly a scary and depressing time for me. However, I regained my strength and realized that who I am, what I believe in, what I live is what is important. Some people may disagree with who I am, what I am, what I do or believe in… We’re all entitled to our opinion. However, if everyone who has an opinion simply stopped sharing, where would we be than?
Communication is so important. With a few words, you could help someone more than you realize. With a few words, you could inform people of something they know little about but want to learn about. And that is one reason why I do my “honesty posts.” When I write, I am always honest. However, these posts are about issues I think are worth talking about. Such as my wife Jen and her transgenderism. I’ve posted two posts (1 and 2) about transgenderism, speaking both generally and about Jen and I answered any questions people had. (May I add that everyone who commented was AWESOME. Open-minded and respectful!) In fact, every honesty post I’ve made has been met with positive comments and support.
I have also posted about binge eating which is something I struggle with and I plan on talking about both OCD and depression, as I suffer from both and a little more about my religion which is Wicca. Growing up my parents whispered about money, politics, religion, sexuality… I think it’s silly. These are things we SHOULD be talking about – not feeling ashamed for doing so! So, do you want to write your own honesty posts? Here’s a little advice – remember, if you do write a post, let me know. I’d LOVE to read and comment!
1. Remember your audience
Remember when writing an honesty post that you mention what you’re writing is your opinion. I do this so people know that I am simply stating what I feel, what I think so they know I’m not attacking them for what they are or believe in. Nothing is worse than feeling attacked – I know. So make sure you keep an open mind, see your topic from another point of view and be respectful towards those reading your words. You all may not share an opinion, but you do share the “space” of the web.
2. Open up and remember why you decided on this topic
I know many people can have a hard time truly opening up and being themselves. Take a deep breath, put on some relaxing music, burn a little incense… Down some wine… However you feel relaxed, GO FOR IT. Just make sure you’re alert enough to not be typing gibberish. *wink* When writing an honesty post, let your thoughts flow. Write them ALL. Let your fingers go across your keyboard and jot down every thought, every feeling. You choose this topic for a reason, so don’t hold back!
When I do this, I feel so fulfilled. When I hit “publish” I may have a little anxiety. Will people be nice? Will anyone be offended? Did I write that okay? and that’s normal. But never do I go back and change what I wrote. I wrote because I wanted to, because I HAD to. Like when I wrote about Jen, I was so excited and eager for people to learn more about her and transgenderism. When I wrote an honesty post about how weight loss CAN be a good thing, I was just fed up and wanted everyone to hear another point of view on why it’s okay, as long as you’re keeping yourself healthy. Each post is for a reason and concurs up an emotion – happiness, pride, sadness, anger, excitement, confusion… None of these are “bad.” Remember: let. yourself. go.
3. Link your source!
This may be obvious, but I do think it’s extremely important. Make sure if you use any pictures or words found around the web that you link to the source. This is useful because you’re giving credit where credit is due AND your readers can go to the page you linked for even more information. Also, make sure if what you’re posting is not safe for work, you mention that, also be respectful of those who read your blog by mentioning your post may include a “trigger” word. Such as cutting, an eating disorder, childhood trauma, etc. These are so very real and one word could cue a chain of horrible memories for many people. You don’t want to cause that, so warn – warn – warn!
4. Buddy Up
When you truly cannot get past a wall of doubt, ask a friend for advice. Send them your post, have them make sure it’s non-offensive and is easy to read, ask if they have any questions or comments and if you don’t have a spell-checker – that’s what they are for. *wink* Often, a friend may remember something you should add, or they can tell you if something is out of place. That way, you won’t stress over your post and you also won’t go back and fix everything little thing you can think of… Personally, I think that can take away from a post, a bit. I love reading a post in its “raw” form. Especially an honesty post.
5. Remember: deep breath, relax, be brave and write
I know that it’s hard and can be scary, but the world IS filled with so many wonderful people. If you write about coming out as gay, you may help a teenager across the world tell his or her family that they are gay. If you write about being depressed, or having another mental illness, you may make a friend who is just like you and you can help one another out through talking and listening. You may write a post about something that’s been making your blood boil – therefore getting all of those thoughts out of your mind and into the post. Plus, even if you do not gain a new friend or reader – you ARE helping your current readers get to know you better.
There’s so much one person can do, just by being brave and opening up – for themselves and for others.
I wish you all the best of luck in your honesty posts – you can contact me, should you ever need more advice or would just like to talk. I love making new friends! Thank you again, Sarah, for having me guest post today!
04.23.12 in 6 Weeks to a Better Blog