Being ‘Outed’

When I sat down this morning, I fully intended to write on another topic. I’d been thinking of doing that post for over a week now, and had outlined a few key points in my head.

But I won’t be writing about that today.

It seems another idea has been camping out in my thoughts, burrowing in and making itself at home, with no intentions of letting me be.

I learned a long time ago that there was only one way to deal with this insistent interloper.

No amount of ignoring or wishing it away will work.

The only thing to do is meet it head on. Look it squarely in the eyes, and address it.

In other words, put my big girl panties on and just deal with it.

God, I hate when this happens.

It all began two weeks ago, when my brother and his family came to visit us here in Nederland.

Now, as most of you readers/followers/kind folks who indulge me already know, I have a website, Adventures in Expat Land. I write a blog of the same name.

I’ve guest-posted on another expat blog, and have arrangements to do more on other blogs.

I also write articles on expat issues, and have been published in a range of print and online media sites. I’ve even included links to some of those articles on this site. Some, but certainly not all.

No surprise to many of you, I’ve indicated here that I also write in other genres. I’m in the middle of a midlife memoir/life story. (And no, it’s not in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love – no offense to the author – I’ve never even read the book nor seen the movie.)

I’ve also been working on a novel, although the going is so slow, so glacial, that I hesitate to use the words ‘working’ and ‘novel’ in the same sentence. To be entirely accurate, I suppose I should say ‘I am beyond planning and into the ‘just barely sweating’ stage of working on a novel’.

I’m in the early stages of doing research on two different nonfiction books as well. I write short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, but not as many as I’d like. I’ve done some interviews and book reviews. I’m working on a couple articles on non-expat topics, for non-expat venues that I like to follow.

I can honestly tell you that I’m not ADD/ADHD*, although I am beginning to think that when it comes to my writing, I may exhibit a few tendencies. Let’s just say I like to work on different projects, in different genres, and leave it at that.

I enjoy the challenge and the variety. It works for me.

Lately I’ve been focusing a lot of time, effort and attention on another big project, one that I hope to unveil in the next 2-3 weeks.

So with my brother and sister-in-law arriving, you’d think we’d all have lots to talk about.

Well, yes. Yes there was. Because I never had mentioned that I do any of the above. Not once. Never.

Why, you ask? Why hadn’t I told them, or any other member of my family? Or any of my friends across several states back in the US? Folks I care about and stay in touch with via email and Facebook, and visit when we go back?

Fair questions, I’ll grant you that.

Wouldn’t these same friends and family, every single one of them, be supportive of and excited for me?

Yes, I do believe so.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky, where I have to dig deep to tell the truth.

I wanted to do this on my own. I wanted to start from scratch, and build this life, piece by piece. I wanted the opportunity to succeed, and fail, by myself.

I’ve gotten some things, indeed many things, right. I’ve also gotten some things wrong, one or two embarrassingly wrong.

I know it sounds crazy to say that I wanted to be a writer with privacy; I get the irony.

They’re almost mutually exclusive when you seek publication, and you blog almost daily.

So if I push a little harder, dig a little deeper, I need to ask myself why. Why is the privacy so important?

In part, it’s because privacy affords me the ability to write what I want, when I want, how I want. Without worrying whether someone I know is reading this, and wondering what they’re thinking.

Privacy begets freedom, where you only write for yourself, the page and, if we’re being honest, the reader.

But readers who generally don’t know me. Certainly some of you do know me, but you tend to be writers, and we share these same fears.

If I’m truthful, really truthful, with myself, I find the answer. I am afraid of being evaluated, judged, by those I care about.

(Not that I don’t care about all of you, but you know what I mean.)

So there we were, sitting in the living room while I made my confession: ‘My name is Linda, and I have another life…as a writer.’

To say that they were surprised is an understatement. A little stunned, a lot more intrigued. Very respectful.

Actually, they were incredibly easygoing and understanding about the whole situation, probably because they are easygoing, understanding people.

We even joked that my brother (my baby brother – ha!) will start a blog entirely devoted to mocking my blog.

He could do it, and rather well I might add. I’d probably even follow it.

I recently took another step, and told a good friend about my writing endeavors. This is someone who has known me, really known me, for many years. Since we were wide-eyed teens in high school, with big dreams and aspirations.

The trick is, I didn’t tell this friend the name of my blog or any other details. And I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t ready for that kind of ‘reveal’.

Until now.

In a moment of temporary bravery (some might conclude insanity), I shared pertinent information, and more importantly, gave tacit ‘approval’ for checking out this blog.

I received an email this morning. While I don’t think my friend has looked yet, the message was that they will do so in the near future. Probably giving me one last chance to withdraw my ‘approval’ and retreat into my well-worn privacy.

Which I won’t do.

It’s tough being honest. It’s uncomfortable feeling vulnerable. It’s a bitch being brave.

Credit: Graur Codrin, portfolio 982, freedigitalphotos.net

*Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder


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