I love getting feedback about how my honesty helps others. I love hearing how my speaking up is helping others to find their voice. I’ve been sharing my story and speaking my truth in some format for as long as I can remember, but it’s changed. From screaming about how unfair life is to explaining how this life can happen to anyone. Rants about inadequate mental and physical health care slowly changed into posts about my grief journey and how I was “working it out” at the gym. Slowly that has morphed into what it is today and I’m sure it will continue changing as I keep writing.
One thing that will never change is that quietly, in the background, there are people who are judging me.
When I was talking about homelessness and house fires and poverty, people were blaming me for not working harder and raising my child in a better situation. When I was ranting and raving about doctors who wouldn’t take me seriously because I was on government health insurance and doctors who just saw me as a fat lazy female, there were people who were judging me because I shouldn’t be complaining about the care I got for free, or I should just lose weight like the doctors said and stop fighting all of their advice.
When I was grieving through joy, people were judging me because I wasn’t crying enough, I wasn’t sad enough, I didn’t wear my black veil and spend enough time in silent mourning. They were judging me for living life large, for finding the joy, for proclaiming that I was enough and celebrating all of my successes despite losing my wife.
Today people are judging me for speaking up about mental health, about grief, about widowhood. My “really real” posts are too real. I share too much pain, too much sorrow, but also I’m judged for managing to be so dark one day, and find so much joy the next.
I’m judged for Parker’s death, and that’s something that will never change. There are people who see it as being directly my fault, because I pushed her to it. There are those who see it as being indirectly my fault, because I should have seen the signs or done more to help her.
It wouldn’t matter what I wrote or didn’t write. What I said, or didn’t say. There will always be someone in the shadows judging me. I will always be too much or too little for someone, somewhere, sometime.
Instead of focusing on those who are judging me I choose to focus on what helps me, what do I need, what helps me process my grief, my mental health, my situation. What is the best form of self care, for me, today? That isn’t always easy. There’s always a voice in the back of my head asking what other people are going to think if I say this or write that. Am I going to hurt this person, or is that person going to take it personally? Will they laugh at me or think less of me for sharing this.
The truth is, at any given moment someone is judging me for something anyway, and that’s their problem. I need to handle my life in a way that’s going to help me survive and even thrive. For me, that means writing about the hard stuff. That means speaking my story and sharing my truth.
What does that mean for you?