Is Blogging Healthy?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 16 comments

in Blogging

The point of blogging for me has always been that I write something true, because, the way I see it, there’s already enough bullshit on the internet that the world certainly doesn’t need me adding more to it. The problem is that I just don’t know if it’s healthy for me to blog anymore; if it ever was.

It’s not that stuff isn’t happening in my life that I wouldn’t love to write about. Oh, my gosh, is stuff happening! Wonderful stuff. Hard stuff. Scary stuff. Exciting stuff. Which leads me to think that if you are living a boring life, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

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It’s just that I don’t know if I want to put my truth out here anymore. I’ve been wondering, “How does my blog serve me?” versus “What does it cost me? Emotionally? Financially? Socially?”

Is blogging good for me?

There was a time when I would have answered that question with an unequivocal yes—my original tagline was, “Blogging is cheaper than therapy”–but now I’m just not so sure.

But when I think I’m done with this blargh of mine, I read something someone has written that resonates, and I think, “Dang it! I wanna write like that!” Or I get an email or comment on a post I’ve written that reminds me that being a creative human being is important for the soul.

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So I sit down to write something true, but end up playing Candy Crush for two hours instead.

Excuses, Excuses

Sometimes I tell myself the reason I’m not writing is because, “They can’t handle the truth.” But the truth is that I’m the one who can’t seem to handle other people’s reaction to my truth. The worst thing in the world is guilelessly laying your truth out here and having people reject you over it. That shit fucking hurts.

I know.

It shouldn’t matter.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

And if I were a full of shit blogger I’d write a bunch of faux enlightened crap about how amazingly self-actualized I am, and how what people think about me doesn’t matter.

Blah, Blah. Blah.

But it does matter to me. The loss of relationships should always matter. Well, to people who aren’t sociopaths, anyway.

So I don’t write. Well, that’s not true. I do write. Draft after draft of my truth that will never see the light to day sits in my draft folder, because, it seems, I’ve developed an aversion to public shaming.

Slide 7

Shame on Me?

For example, I write my truth about my sexual experience in my marriage, and the next thing you know somebody I’ve known for centuries is taking me to task on my Facebook wall about how I’m risking the fiery flames of hell, and dragging poor, unsuspecting GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMEN right along with me, by my crazy, heretical notions that God created us to be blissed out in bed–no holds barred–with the person we’ve vowed to love, honor, and cherish, until death do us part.

Geez Louise! Not just unfriended, but chastised publicly, and privately I might add, for talking about having the most satisfying sex of my life with my lawfully wedded husband of 28 years?!?! How is that in any way, shape, or form unbiblical?

Or I write my truth about my experience caring for pregnant women, and that I have, in fact, delivered a six month old dead baby killed by a botched abortion with my own two hands–which was HORRIBLE, and I never want to happen ever again as long as I live, which is why I’m more pro-contraception than Planned Parenthood–and the next thing I see, I’ve been unfriended by my own brother. Oh, brother!

Fine. Maybe I should just stick with pictures of cats. Or maybe I should just not say anything at all until I can come up with something that will please everyone.

Slide 17

The Sounds of Silence

I’m pretty sure I’m not portraying anything close to my reality on social media.

Case in point?

I recently received a sweet DM on Facebook from a thoughtful individual who is worried about me. She said that my FB posts about being a travel nurse sound “lonely.” She then generously offered to set me up with an opportunity to get into some sort of MLM business venture that’s the answer to my sad, lonely existence.

While I am guessing her heart is in the right place, I laughed when I read it because I don’t think there exists a level of loneliness that would compel me to ever go into business again.

Talk about lonely.

There is nothing on this earth lonelier than finding out that people you love are just using you–under the guise of friendship–for their own financial gain and pseudo-fame.

Besides, I’m not lonely. I’m happy. I just don’t write happy as well as I write agonal.

I also know that nobody wants to read about other people’s happiness. Where’s the self-satisfied sense of superiority to be had in that?

For instance, who wants to read that I’m having the best sex of my entire life, and the reason for this–I’m certain—is that I’ve made a conscious decision to tear down every barrier that I’ve ever allowed to stand between my husband and myself, up to and including forswearing my lady-boner killing imaginary God of vengeance who is always looking for ways to condemn and shame me?

Because that’s what I’d like to write about. And I know from my stats that that’s what you’d like to read about.

But I guess I’m no longer so keen on enduring the public slut-shaming that comes from being real about sex.

Yes, I’ve come to accept that some people think my attitude towards sex makes me a shitty Christian–or no Christian at all–but do I really need to lay my heart out here for miserable, holier-than-thou, nattering nabobs of negativity to publicly pick apart?

Good Things Come to Those Who Work Hard

I’m also making more money than I ever have in my entire life at a job I love, but I can’t really write about that, now can I? Who’s going to read that?

Bloggers want to read stories by and about bloggers who’ve made it big, not bloggers who’ve admitted, “This blogging for dollars is smoke and mirrors, and I’d rather wipe asses for a living than kiss them.”

Nurse Chloe

Travel Nursing is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

Far from feeling lonely, I like almost everything about travel nursing. It’s good for me in more ways than I can count, and I don’t think it is coincidental that this is the first autumn in almost 10 years that I haven’t contemplated suicide. Also, my husband and I both think that our unconventional lifestyle is partly why we’re living like two people who’ve just fallen in love instead of the old married couple we really are.

Letting go of blogging for money, and seeking a legitimate trade that actually pays the bills, has been berry berry good to me. Financially, things couldn’t be brighter. Looking at our retirement accounts, I think Jeff and I might actually retire someday in a style somewhere above living in a yurt next to the freeway eating government cheese. (Although, with sex like this who cares where you live, or what you eat?)

Real Life v. Virtual

For the first time since I joined the Sonlight Forums in 1998, I am happier with my real life than my virtual one. This is a huge blessing. And one that deserves to be written about.

If only I could.

But every time I sit down to write about my real life, the critical voices in my head sing their soul-sucking, creativity-killing song, while the dulcet tones of Candy Crush croons out its happy, carefree tune.

Geez, who will unfriend me next, or decide that I need a lecture on my Facebook wall or, even better, a public diatribe on their own wall, about what a shitty human being I am?

Shake it Off

I know in the very pit of my being that this place where I’m at right now is just part and parcel of growing as a woman and as a writer. Writing one’s truth has always come at a high cost, which is why it’s so rare. And it’s also why I think we’re so drawn to honesty and vulnerability when we read it, even if we disagree with it.

Two things that I’ve been doing a lot lately–in lieu of wasting my life chasing money and fame in the fickle fishbowl of Facebook–is listening to music and reading. And while I’m a little old for Taylor Swift, I’ve got to say that she nails it with her song, “Shake it off”. Ultimately, that’s what you have to do if you want to create anything true.

So, here I am.

I’m just shaking it off, baby.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

John November 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I think so. If making money is your only goal, blogging is a poor choice. The money you make is terrible compared to the investment in time. Although it’s very enjoyable for many other reasons.
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Lynn Beisner October 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I am so glad that I wrote something that resonated with you. Honestly, the only reason anyone would write something that TMI is with the hope of helping other people. Well, let me say it is the only reason that I would do that.

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Estelle October 10, 2014 at 8:11 am

Chloe,
I think that you have to write your truth if you are compelled to do so, but in a way that makes sense for your life, your well-being and your relationships. For myself, I vet any stories about my husband with him; same with my friends. This keeps those boundaries clear and safe. Writers are compelled to write–maybe you will find the topics you are passionate about that you feel safe exploring, maybe not. Either way, know that there are people benefitting from your words.
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Dawn October 10, 2014 at 12:54 am

Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke… or reality… or honesty… or, whatever you need or want to say, “Chloe.” It pains me to think that you have been treated this way for being honest, in a world full of bullshit. That said, I totally get that feeling and struggle with it myself. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I love what you write, and find it very inspiring. If that’s worth anything… in the big picture. Hang in there; speak your truths; there are plenty of us out here who applaud you!
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Rae June 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Chole-ditto what Dawn said. Your blog has been such a sanity saver. I love hearing your truth, keeping telling it please!

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Shorty October 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Love you , girl! I can’t beg you to keep writing- although you DO write what many need to hear. I believe that when you count the cost- as a person- and decide what you are willing to put up with, the cost may be too high. You write to the soul. Not many do- its hard and mostly thankless.

Thank you Chloe- if you never ever write another word- you have already done so much. And I know- I KNOW- you WILL write more. Maybe here, maybe (hopefully) a book- eventually, you won’t be able not to. You have too much to share. You have been hurt and you have grown through it. ARE growing through it. I am so glad to have known you on SL and followed you here. You make me laugh, cry, question, as few others. (I sound so fangirlish; gee wizz.) Do I always agree? No! Thank God- because I have found that true friends shape me most who push me, and challenge me. Ultimately even if I disagree we remain friends. Those kind of friends are hard to find. I am happy to count you a friend. Always. Blog be damned.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Shorty, you always know how to say the right thing.

I have many friends who’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. I have never unfriended anyone for their opinions about any topic. The only reason I’ve ever unfriended anyone is because they were directly mean to me.That will land a person in the block box. But I don’t need my universe filled only with people who think like me. What a poor universe that would be.

I appreciate you more than you can ever know. Thank you.

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Jack October 9, 2014 at 9:09 pm

If you are compelled to write come hell or high water than you write or maybe that is just me. I don’t get as much hate mail as I used or to or nearly as many comments in general but it still comes in.

Some people love us, some people hate us and some can’t figure out what to do with us.

My two cents is the same as always. If you enjoy writing just do it and ignore the crap the crazy people send over.

“Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
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Chloe Jeffreys October 9, 2014 at 9:51 pm

You always cut through the bullshit, Jack. And I thank you for it. If only writing came easier for me. I’m compelled to do it, but then I wonder why.

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Jack October 9, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Some questions come regardless of how easy writing comes to a person or not. Writing is never a task for me. I never suffer from writer’s block or have trouble coming up with ideas.

My biggest challenge is I hate most of what I write because it is rarely as eloquent or insightful as I want it to be.

But I have never met a writer who wasn’t semi crazy and I include myself. No angst, no joy, passion or feeling in the writer and there is no feeling elicited from the reader.
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Jessica Gottlieb October 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

So you just drop that 10 years of suicidal thoughts thing in there? What’s that about?

It’s fair to assume that people won’t be universally happy for you when good things happen. Even more so when good things happen as a result of having worked hard to get them.
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Chloe Jeffreys October 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Oops. I’ve written about suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder so many times that I forget that some people might not realize that I have that. I grew up in sunny San Diego. Ten years ago I moved to a mountain in the north. We have very long, dark winters. My symptoms are the worst in the fall and early spring. I take medication for it during the winter. It bites. Traveling gets me off the mountain and into sunnier climes. Last year it was much, much better. And so far this year I haven’t had symptoms.

Anyway, that’s what that’s about.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 9, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Oh, and it seems endemic to our culture that good things are only valuable if they’ve happened to you entirely by luck. It’s unseemly to admit that you’ve made your own success. But to a woman, or a man, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that truly successful people worked their asses off to get where they are. That’s really the only formula that truly works.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Is Blogging Healthy?My Profile

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