I rarely post on Facebook. This is for a wide variety of reasons: I don’t yet have the reflex to do so, experiencing the present in the moment and forgetting to see it as a keepsake for the future; a part of me doesn’t want to bother others, and feels that what I have to share is of no consequence to anyone; most significantly though, I’m not quite comfortable putting myself, my thoughts, opinions, and experiences, out there for the eyes of the world to see and judge. I fear negative reactions – what if I offend someone? What if I step on someone’s toes? What if I make someone feel bad? I fear judgement to my person – what if someone makes assumptions about me based on my posts? What if I make a mistake, phrase something clumsily, show myself up?
It seems so fragile in a way, like each public post is a little block with which I build something, but it’s so wobbly, and could be so easily taken away. I’m scared of the exposure, and how vulnerable it makes me feel. When things are in public, they are too easily reached for, grabbed at, by others, and they leave the safe zone of my direct control.
So I took a big step for myself the other day: I shared and posted my article, my writing, on my Facebook wall. I regretted it immediately. Cold dread settled like a rock in my stomach. ‘Someone will spot a mistake.’ ‘What right do I have to write about a place I’ve known for 1 month and a half?’ ‘People will think I’m bragging, or asking for attention.’ ‘It’s not good enough to let others see it.’ I was sure I was going to make half the people angry, half the people upset, and leave the rest disdainfully unimpressed.
I learnt a very important lesson that day.
People are actually great.
The outpouring of support from old friends, close friends, new friends, people I don’t talk to anymore, people I’ve left behind (unfairly, I’m now coming to realise), people I didn’t know took an interest, was amazing. Whether or not they read the article or followed the link didn’t really matter to me in the moment: they liked or loved the post, and those who commented were full of joy and love. With each new notification, I soared a little. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s all a little artificial and superficial, but it felt good nonetheless. I can see why people get addicted to it.
I was so pleasantly surprised and encouraged, I felt like I was floating on a little cloud of love. I felt empowered to continue writing, and to continue posting what I wrote. So thank you, to everyone who made me feel validated and empowered.