I lost a friendship sometime ago because the person took something I said on one of my Instagram Lives, personally. I don’t know what was said or which Live it was but I know I didn’t say anything aimed at them or about them.
I know this because I’ve been doing this for 16 years. I’ve been mining my personal experiences to share ever since I began blogging anonymously as IdeaSmith in 2004. And even then, even behind a handle & the less accessible internet of those times, I was near paranoid about what I let the world know. I am a very private person.
But also what I say swims in the realm of the deeply personal & intimate. That is who I am, that’s the part of the human living spectrum I inhabit. It does make my boundaries porous & easy to breach & assume connections where none exist.
In all these years, people have wondered what part of my expression is for them & about them. I want to say it was easier in my anonymous IdeaSmith years but it wasn’t. I’ve been harangued by the upset girlfriend of some stranger who had told her that my poetry was about him. I’ve received angry emails for not having someone on my blogroll “because I thought we were friends”.
It got more complex when I shed my anonymity because who violates boundaries more that people who can claim some connection to you? I’ve evolved my personal ethics where I express my feelings about people as lucidly as possible but don’t reveal any details about them. I change minor details, erase identifiers. Thus these are characters I create, yes, mined from real experiences but definitely not related to real people.
But that doesn’t stop people from seeing themselves in my stories. In fact, isn’t that the point of writing like mine, to feel relatable? It doesn’t hurt any less when people decide they dislike it so much, they are willing to walk away from me. Writing is who I am, so rejecting this is a rejection of me.
I guess I take a lot of things personally too. It goes with the turf. To write is to be that blurry boundary between reality & imagination. The skin that feels the heartbeat as well as the hard outside.