How Little Is Too Much?

This blog will be six years old in October. Six!

When I first started firing out my random thoughts to the blogosphere, I knew I’d be buried in amongst the millions of other blogs out there.

I just wanted to write, get all the confusing thoughts down, in the small hope that someone, somewhere would understand.

I blogged anonymously, as I was experiencing horrendous workplace bullying due to my MS and had a feeling it would end up as a legal matter, which it did, after I was fired suddenly.

I took comfort in the cloak of anonymity, writing painfully honest posts about anything and everything as me and The Teenager adjusted to a whole new reality. And the reward was an incredible amount of support that flowed back to us. We chewed over problems, discussed different options through comments feedback and Twitter.

In short, my blog became a vital lifeline.

You guys saw me through Alemtuzumab treatment, three times. The subsequent thyroid problems. The weight gain. Adjusting to a more limited but still fun way of living. You generously shared your own experiences and advice about symptoms, getting through my studies, cheering me on all the way.

You also watched The Teenager grow up, which is particularly special to me – as someone once told me, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and despite being alone, your input saw both of us through some pretty turbulent times. Regular readers might still remember his School Uniform Protest.

Even though he’s now at University, he still asks me to post this photo or that comment on Twitter – he’s got a following all of his own and I know it means a lot to him.

The blog is now read in over 150 countries, the latest being Rwanda last week (hi!). I’m absolutely delighted. And when people buy my book and tell me it’s helped them through hard times, I grin for days. So many of you have emailed me directly and become firm friends.

Closer to home, and perhaps inevitably, now I blog under my real name, my rambling thoughts are now read by people I know. Which puts a whole different slant on things. It’s the same as leaving an open diary on the table.

Although my recent posts are still personal and open, I’m aware that I hold something back each time. I go so far, then stop. I’ve been mulling this over and over in my mind and am still unsure what to do.

Should I just not worry, go for it, life is short and ultimately, what the hell? Can you be held to account for what you feel? Or should I still temper what I write, creating more even-handed posts?

As always, I’d love your advice …

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12 thoughts on “How Little Is Too Much?

  1. StargzrBlog says:

    Fascinating post. We started our blogs at about the same time, for similar reasons (I’ve sadly let my blog languish). And then a bit over a year ago, this happened to me as well: “… as I was experiencing horrendous workplace bullying due to my MS and had a feeling it would end up as a legal matter, which it did, after I was fired suddenly.” Although I have not yet “come out of the closet” with my diagnosis, I have given serious consideration to this topic lately and to removing the anonymity. Wearing that mask makes me feel unauthentic and not completely true to myself. To be honest, I find myself “holding back” even behind that mask, so anonymity really hasn’t freed me in that way as much as one might think. I do consider self-censoring to be healthy — I’m thinking that private/hidden posts could serve as a useful and regret-free way to “get it all out” for the bits that I hold back in public. Or maybe just an old-fashioned paper diary to capture those thoughts that I don’t want to forget but that might not be press-worthy or press-ready.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s so tricky! The more I campaigned outside of the blog, the more I became known. Obviously a very small fish in a very small pond!
      Such an interesting point you make about anonymity. Self-censoring is indeed healthy, but so is disclosure to a small community of people with MS. Now it has reached beyond that, it’s more difficult. I know what you mean about not being true to yourself – I felt that when I was anonymous and it felt good in a way to ‘claim’ my identity. But in some ways I miss being anonymous too! Both have their ups and downsides. There’s a lot to be said for a good old diary!! x

  2. I’ve been blogging for 13 years and with every month that passes, I self censor more. I think you have to and possibly use another site (750 Words maybe) for the other stuff. Carry on blogging but keep yourself safe xxx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! That’s really interesting and I’m exactly the same, although I wasn’t quite sure why I was doing it initially. But I have definitely noticed that my posts of the last year or so are not as open as I used to write and I feel so conflicted about it 🙁 X

  3. Suzanne says:

    I say go for it. Your blog is you. It’s personal to you and it’s testament to your life…. Otherwise it could have been written by anyone.

  4. Sandy Williams says:

    Cogratulations on your 6 years! I think I’ve been following you for about half of those. You are such a good writer though, balancing your trauma’s with humour, so it gives me a lift to read about someone dealing wth some of the issues I’m going through (MS & teenager related!). Keep it up!

  5. Beth Nigro says:

    You probably already know what i’m going to say…the thing that makes reading your blog so awesome is that it’s raw and true and open. I’m totally against censoring yourself, holding back or not speaking your full truth. It freaked me out at first too, when I first started but in the end I realized that the writing was mostly for me. My tether to what shreds of sanity I have left. If it’s not honest and true and from the heart, it’s not yours anymore. I say be yourself. Always.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I’ve been mulling this over all day, and re-read everyone’s comments and now yours and you know what, you’re absolutely right. I always prided myself on my blog being so personal and open, because like you I thought if you’re not, why bother??
      Obviously there’s some stuff I don’t talk about, but then it’s not that important. And The Teenager is always consulted!
      I’m really glad I blogged about this as it’s been depressing me for a while, this new hesitancy of mine.
      p.s. your blog is fabulous too!

  6. Judy says:

    Why not follow your gut feeling? Like you’ve said, life is short.

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