Pull of public accountability
Almost 10 years ago, I started the Middle Age Bulge blog as a means of losing weight. I was 210 pounds and I wanted to make a change. The blog was the public accountability tool that I needed to give voice to my struggle and share it with others. Most importantly, it gave me a vehicle to express the journey in words; it was also something that I knew I could do within the structure of my day. The early mornings became my reflective sanctuary, my stew pot of ideas and opinions, and my tool for sorting out the world.
In its time, the Middle Age Bulge blog chronicled many things: play productions, political issues, exotic travels, health challenges, personal struggles, achievements and insights. It remains a sanctuary, a place where I can go to sit, breathe, reflect and share.
Our family, each person in their own way, does the same thing. Heather has written blog posts that pull back the curtain on the inner workings of her mind and heart that are so beautiful and insightful that they take my breath away. Her social media posts can be delightfully funny, deeply moving, and sincerely celebratory. They can also be a call for help, when days turn dark, or intensely cold, as we're experiencing right now.
Dylan did his first podcast the other day. He has dubbed it the "What Happens Now?" podcast. In a half hour of listening to him quietly talk into a microphone, I learned so much about my older son that I see every day. Those closest to us can be the most elusive, and Dylan is no exception. A lauded actor and performer, on the one hand, he is struggling to find his way, on the other. He deals with a difficult mix of self-loathing, self-doubt and depression - his internal dance is complex and intense. I'm grateful that he has found a way to express himself that not only will help him figure things out, but potentially help others.
Ben expresses himself in a very different way, less overt. He will spend hours and hours creating a song or a video, then post it to his YouTube channel.
His short film, Autumn, reveals a lot about the artist who filmed it.
His recent rendition of "White Christmas", uploaded on Christmas Day, speaks volumes as well. Ben prefers to be private in his thoughts, while being beautifully expressive in his art.
Each of us, in our turn, has found ways of sharing our innermost selves in the public sphere. It has become our way of moving through the world, feeling connected and staying balanced. It's not for everyone - many need to stay intensely private in most things - but for us it is part of who we are, who we have become.