For years, I’ve aired my dirty breast cancer laundry with the world. I’ve chosen this path — to publicly document my authentic narratives and points of view on this blog — for many reasons: to achieve catharsis by lending my voice to the breast cancer experience, to help others by assuring them they are not alone, to be a part of a community of writers, and to exert some level of balance and control over my life, just to name a few.
Now about that last point. People diagnosed with a serious illness often feel their lives spiraling out of control. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt the bottom of my world drop. And to make matters worse, my doctors and nurses were running my life by telling me when and where I had to have treatments. It didn’t matter that my radiation appointment conflicted with a work obligation; I had to show up for treatment.
I love my medical professionals for doing all they could to save my life. But nonetheless, going through a life-threatening experience where I had no control and its cancer aftermath left me feeling derailed, voiceless, and unheard.
So I found refuge in blogging and sharing my voice to gain more control. While I can’t determine all that happens to me in life, I can control what I say and don’t say on my blog.
This post addresses what I am and am not willing to say on my blog posts.
My Life’s an Open Book, Sort of
My family believes divulging personal information is taboo. I was always a private person who embraced this philosophy. Then came cancer. And I no longer wanted to be quiet.
As a blogger, I’ve organically departed from my family’s point of view and publicly share my heart and candor about my experiences and feelings. While I write about topics such as motherhood, my main focus is cancer and its repercussions.
I’ve been open about topics such as my time in ICU, my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, and cancer’s emotional aftermath, just to name a few. Popular posts include those dealing with divorce after cancer and moving on after divorce. And I’m no stranger to addressing controversial topics or disagreeing with someone’s public stance. I’m also open about my body image issues as a result of all the surgery I’ve endured. I even have a post idea brewing about my belly button!
Stay tuned for that one.
Some people would be embarrassed to share such intimate information, but I feel the need to express what I’ve been through and my sloooow recovery; in doing so, I am able to help others going through similar trials and tribulations. I am able to lend voice to experiences a good number of people share.
I’ve developed a bond with my readers — ironically and unfortunately — through our common suffering and shared pain. I care deeply about my readers. It’s always wonderful to get comments on a post (even the ones from people who disagree with me), but some posts simply don’t attract comments. And that’s okay.
Overall, I’m not afraid to state who I am and what I stand for.
My Life Has Closed Chapters
While I tell my truths, I know when not to reveal parts of my life — past, present, and future. Let’s face it: like everyone, I have skeletons in my closet, but that doesn’t mean I have to spill its bare bones.
I can be authentic and still omit things.
Blogging involves risk vs. benefit decisions. I’m willing to take risks for some topics; others are too risky for me personally. For example, my internal censor won’t allow me to focus on non-cancer-related trauma.
We all have traumatic times, but I believe blogging should be therapeutic, not therapy.
I want my blog to serve as a source of meaningful content, not a dumping ground.
I won’t deliberately write hurtful things about people. That’s not how I roll anyway, but it’s really not a good idea to say something negative about others. Others’ ideas, yes, but not bad mouthing other people. I avoid the topics of politics and religion, although I wrote a rather benign piece on how cancer changed my faith.
Even though I’ve said a lot through my blogs, truth is, they cover only an iota of my life, and that is as it should be.
What’s to come in 2015? There is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a couple of years, but there is risk to that. I think it will resonate with others, but I have to be ready to accept my vulnerability yet again to write about a topic so near to my heart and mind and spirit. I’m not making any promises, but I’m hoping to gather the courage to write about this topic this year.
In the meantime, I will continue to love the writing process. And that is as it should be.
For a related piece on my writing process, click here.
Are you considering writing that long-awaited post or starting a blog? Feel free to share your thoughts.
If you are already a blogger, why do you write? I would enjoy hearing about your motivation(s) for writing, or even your challenges.
Tags: blogging, breast cancer, cancer, cancer blogger, cancer blogging, reasons for writing, writing process