Open Book

open_bookI’ve been doing a lot of introspection the past couple weeks. One of the drawbacks about putting your thoughts and feelings out there in the blogosphere is that not everyone will love what you have to say, all day, every day.

Shocker, right?!

Naturally, I know it comes with the territory; it’s a risk I have to take, both as a writer, and also as someone who is trying to overcome a challenge. I have to realize that when I broach touchy subjects (or any subject, really), some people will possibly be turned off by my words, and some people might feel annoyed, frustrated, or upset reading my words …

Likewise, I never know what will be a “good post” or an “eh post.” Some days I see zero comments (but 700 hits) and other days I get a ton of comments on a particular post, or follow-up e-mails.

Comments are good; they create a dialogue, which is one of my blog’s missions. Often your comments (positive or not) lead to another post, and I do that because I’m listening … observing … absorbing.

Deep down, I know change doesn’t emerge from stagnancy … and so I know in my heart that writing/blogging about the good, the bad, and the ugly has helped myself and others. And I do believe that without it, I might not be where I am today on this journey.

That said, whereas before I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a journal and no one but me could read them … now my thoughts are out there for the world to read. And that can be a daunting notion.

Sometimes that makes me feel empowered (wow, people care what I have to say?!) but other times, it makes me feel downright vulnerable.

In real life, I’m pretty much an open book, and it’s hard for me to hide my feelings. I think that explains why I don’t censor my thoughts here on my blog — even though I know anyone could read it.

What has been hard for me is that I’ve been told by loved ones that sometimes it’s painful to read my thoughts; because they care, they hate to see me/hear me suffering or engaging in self-destructive behavior. And I absolutely can see their side; it would be hard for me to read, too.

Some might disagree with my thoughts (and that’s ok) and some maybe can’t relate at all, but just enjoy reading (and that’s great too). Some maybe can relate, but wish they didn’t. (I feel for you, I do!)

Still, I believe honesty and transparency has been the most critical part of my recovery, and the most useful to my readers (which I’ve gleaned from your feedback).

For so long, I was in denial that I even had a problem! Coming clean laid it all out there, for the world to see.

I remember a dear friend telling me about her “crazy” friend I’ll call “J.” who was literally obsessed with her weight, and I remember thinking, “Oh my God, I’d never want to be her!”

Well, after I’d been on Weight Watchers for a year or two, I remember this friend mentioning “J.” more and more, a gentle nudge to me that perhaps I was taking things too far. Once I realized I’d turned into a “J.”… it was time to admit I had a problem.

I remember my sister voicing concern to me on vacation in 2005, when I was my leanest. In my mind, there was nothing wrong with getting up at 6 every morning on vacation to go running along the beach. But honestly, I wasn’t doing it because I loved to run; I was fueled by obsession to “stay slim” and (how sad is this?!) feared taking a few days off.

I remember countless conversations with my husband, who was concerned about my gym obsession, my food obsession. Going out to eat was an “ordeal”, and I wasn’t very happy with myself, knowing my social life was being dictated by my head and not my heart or my feelings. (It’s much better now!)

Interestingly, all of these incidents were long before the chewing/spitting began, when I was in the midst of being pretty restrictive and over-exercising. And now that I’ve come clean about my disordered eating behavior, life has been a whole lot better.

I realize being an open book certainly opens me up to a world of criticism, and might change how others view me (though I think my friends/family know I am still “me,” just going through a challenge).

Truly, part of this journey is the good, the bad and the ugly. And so if I censored my thoughts because I knew it would potentially hurt/offend some readers, I think I’d be doing all my readers a disservice.

One thing that really resonates from therapy is the notion of sticking to my own decisions and beliefs. And so while it might be hard for those I love to read my words sometimes, I’m positive that, ultimately, I’m making the right decision being so honest about my recovery efforts, for better or for worse.

I hope you, my readers, agree … but if you don’t … the comments section is always open and welcome for conversation.

And to all my readers, past and present, family, friends and people who just found me … I want to thank you all for your tremendous support and feedback. You don’t know how much it’s meant to me … I am truly blessed to have such an amazing support network, in real life and here in blog-world.

How about you? Are you a private person? Do you blog? Are you an open book, or do you censor your posts?

7 thoughts on “Open Book

  1. i used to be private, but it was just hiding in ED. once i was honest with myself, i wanted to be honest with everyone, lol! opening up has kept me a little bit “accountable.” and helped me sort and recognize negative thought patterns and behaviors that need to be changed. opening up in the blog world has brought me new friends and inspirations like you lissa!

    i censor my posts if i recognize (and im sure i don’t always) that something might be destructive to someone in recovery from an eating disoder. i wont post weights, calories, exercise amounts…generally numbers, because that was always a trigger for me. i don’t post food regularly, but sometimes with recipes.

    not everyone will agree all the time with what you say, but if you are honest, they cant say much against that in itself. writing is as much for the writer as the reader…so if you keep to your truth, you honor yourself!

  2. I’m completely an open book. Some people (my fiance especially) hate that I’m so open about everything and think it’ll get in my way. “Do people really need to know you’ve been on an anti-depressant and are coming off it now?” Yes, because its part of who I am. Since a few of my students have my blog address now, I am a little more reserved, but mostly because I don’t want to have to address stuff like that at school.

  3. I’m an open book on my blog BUT very few people that I know “in real life” know about the blog. In fact, the only person who does is my boyfriend. I complain about not getting any readers, but I’m scared to tell people about it.

  4. I used to feel the need to censor my posts, my thoughts, and even my actions. But I soon realized that hiding things and not being honest with myself only hindered recovery. Also, I remember times EXACTLY like yours, working out because of fear, dinners out being ordeals, etc. And I know that if I could have been more honest about what was going on during those times, I might have been able to get help sooner. So, keeping things a secret is no longer the way I want to live, and if someone has a problem with it, then I feel bad for them. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t worry about what others think!

  5. I am a private person and don’t blog. So many of the things you mentioned about your disordered eating phase during the leanest time reminded me of myself presently. I’m starting to open up about it to friends and family in order to help understand it and try to get past that ridiculous notion that “bad” food= weight gain.
    Thank you so much for continuously posting great, insightful posts.

  6. M, I think it’s hard for you sometimes to see your progress with the eating issues, but I’ve been corresponding with you for almost 3 years (since nov 2006?). You have come a VERY long way in terms of your nervous eating habits since then.

    You’ve seeked the help of this blog, a therapist, your friends, family…and you’ve come clean about the issues you were dealing with.

    Never forget how far you’ve come!

  7. I just realized I never commented back yesterday!

    Aw thanks Clare! πŸ™‚ I think it’s really sensitive (in a good way) for you to refrain from sharing triggers. Yup, to thine own self be true πŸ™‚

    Mara, my husband feels similarly…and I’ve learned to keep some things more private than others, esp when they pertain to him or us.

    InMyTummy,I was nervous at first too … good luck when you do go public with it πŸ™‚

    Exactly Jenny, that hinders us when we’re not honest πŸ™‚

    Hi Danielle, thank you πŸ™‚ Keep reading πŸ™‚

    Hey Cathy, thank you πŸ™‚ You rock, and I can’t wait til you’re here in MI for school! πŸ™‚

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