Why blogging is like flashing your boobs at strangers

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I have a confession: blogging scares the pants off me. The reason it scares the pants off me is because I find it requires me to take my shirt off. And then where am I left? With no pants and no shirt, sitting in front of the computer feeling cold.

Let me explain.

Unfortunately, I’m an over-sharer and an intensely private introvert at the same time. It’s not a good combination. I’m often deliberately irreverent and unreserved, I push boundaries on purpose out of curiosity and often end up being more controversial than I mean to be. I like talking about fears. I like talking about shitting and stretch marks and periods. I like talking about ugly feelings. I struggle to write about anything without bringing in the very personal and I don’t really know how to sugar-coat. At the same time, I don’t like a lot of attention or analysis being directed at me and even though I think I’ve learned to hide it quite well, in many social situations I feel quite anxious and vulnerable.

All this is fine if I’m in a conversation – if I share gory details, it’s because I’ve decided to trust the person(s) I’m talking to. But you don’t have that luxury on the internet. What you put out there can be captured with a screenshot by any Tom Jack or Harry; any personal details or beliefs you share can be read by people you don’t know, misconstrued, attacked by trolls. You’re not getting changed in the privacy of your room or in front of your friends. You’re taking your clothes off and standing there vulnerable – and even though you can’t see who’s looking, anyone could be analysing your bellybutton… or whatever people analyse when they’re looking at women with their tops off. I assume it’s the navel.

So earlier today I sat down to write a light-hearted piece for the blog. I mean it’s a new blog, isn’t it? You’ve got to write stuff or it doesn’t really have much going on.

Anyway, I wrote a piece. Part commentary, part comical anecdotes. When I’d finished, I read it. I felt uncomfortable. I read it again. Now, I have these overly pessimistic voices that get quite loud in my head sometimes*. After my third re-read, these voices decided it was time for a bit of a chorus.

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My God, Caitlin, you can’t tell people that!
You can’t talk about that!
What if a bunch of bogan trolls (trogans? brolls?) thinks you mean this?
Put your metaphorical boobs away woman, no one wants to see that.  

I couldn’t do it. As is my wont, what I’d written ended up sharing a lot about what’s going on in my life and in my head and I couldn’t decide that the Internet was a good place for that kind of frankness. And I still haven’t decided – am I being wise by withholding that sort of info, or am I being chicken? Is the Internet a helpful tool in allowing us to be more open, or does it trick us into being too vulnerable too easily?

I don’t know. And until I work it out, my metaphorical boobs are staying in my drafts folder. I’ll get them out when I’m ready.

*To give you some irrelevant context, for some reason my conscience alternates between sounding like my mother and sounding like a Donald Duck that can use proper words. You’d think logic would dictate a more Jiminy Cricket kind of character, but nope. Donald freaking Duck. 

[Edit 28/11/13: This is not to imply that my mum sounds anything like Donald Duck, or resembles him in any way. She doesn’t. Sorry Mum.]