We hear so much lately about all the Internet trolls and nastiness on the web these days, but what we don’t acknowledge enough are the really beautiful friendships and supportive relationships that can develop as a result of the Internet in general, and writing on the web specifically. I first met Wendy Wisner in one of Jena Schwartz’s online writing groups, and over time, she has become a true friend. She is kind, generous, and open-hearted — not to mention the fact that she’s a phenomenal writer. I am honored that she read Open Boxes, thrilled that she enjoyed it, and excited to be featured on her site today.
Below is an excerpt but you can read the full Q&A here.
Q: You write about very personal subjects like postpartum depression and eating disorders. How do you feel about sharing these stories with the world?
A: It is definitely scary, but it gets easier over time. I am realizing that when we share the truth about ourselves, including the darker parts, we empower other people to accept their own truth as well. When we share our own war stories, so to speak, we are telling people that it’s okay that they accept their own war stories too. Not only that, but there is incredible freedom in owning the darker stories in our lives. By putting something out there, sharing these pieces of ourselves, we diffuse a bit of the power they hold over us.
That’s not to say that it stops being difficult. A few weeks ago, I shared an article on my Facebook page about eating disorders and I actually hesitated about posting it. I was scared to acknowledge that I have (and sometimes still so) deal with body image issues. What will people think of me?, I thought. Will people think less of me? And then I remembered all the things I wrote in “Open Boxes” about telling our stories and acknowledging our struggles. I wrote a whole chapter about eating disorders, for heaven’s sake! The cat’s out of the bag. And yet, there is a tendency to gloss over any lingering issues. I wanted to be able to say I beat this; it’s done. But life doesn’t work that way. I am a work in progress. I strive to live a life of authenticity and that means acknowledging the good and the bad, the beauty and the pain, the bitter and the sweet.