Author: Karen Copeland
Fair warning: I’m not sure what the intent of this post is, other than a bit of rambling about where I am at right now and some of the ways I am trying to move forward. Thanks for reading.
There are times when I feel like I just think too much. I ruminate… contemplate… consider… trying to make sense of what I am feeling and experiencing. It can be all consuming at times. I try to distract myself and I am not successful. I ask myself a bazillion questions, all with the goal of hopefully breaking open the box I have willingly put myself in. I reach out to others close to me, hoping they will be able to validate or challenge my thoughts. It is like I am unmovable until I can come to some kind of logical resolution to what is happening for me.
I have always been an over-thinker. Not that this is a bad thing, in fact it can lead me to ideas and thoughts I hadn’t considered before. It challenges me to first embrace the emotion I am feeling, accept it, then consider why I am experiencing this response. I hate that it takes me so long to go through this process though. It is uncomfortable and messy and it can feel never ending.
One of the questions I have been reflecting on and pondering for the last while is this:
at what point does sharing my parenting experiences (the successes and the challenges) supersede my kids’ right to privacy and their humanity?
The answer, of course, is never. So why am I still thinking about this question?!?
Well, to be honest, I can’t afford to stop thinking about this question. Ever. In everything I do, I have to consider how my words and sharing in public spaces will impact the perception others will have of my kids. How my kids will perceive themselves.
I haven’t always done this well.
When I first started sharing our story, I overshared in a big way. I am ever thankful for the one audience member who asked me “how does your son feel about you sharing this information?” It was an eye opener and changed the way I shared. I had been so caught up in thinking about what I thought was important for others to know, I forgot about how this might impact him. I remember talking with him after this happened. Telling him about what I had shared and apologizing for doing so without asking his permission first. It was so important for me to acknowledge my mistake to him, take ownership of it and make a commitment to him I would do things differently from that point forward.
I think this is why I struggle to write posts so often. My most shared and popular posts contain stories about my kids. I go back to these posts regularly and review them, I try to read them from my kids’ perspectives, and I also strive to consider how others might read them. What impression or feeling they might walk away with after reading.
I’ll be honest, it is a heady feeling when a post gets a lot of views and shares. I know there are so many other stories I could share that my readers would connect to, but I have to sit and consider the ripple effect. Who will this impact? How important is this story, really? How will it reflect on my kids and the adults they will become?
I have to pause and consider why I started writing in the first place. I want to share my experiences, but in a lot of ways writing is simply a good form of therapy for me. It helps me when I am stuck in these moments of ongoing contemplation, guiding me through emotions and thoughts. Writing is also a tool I use to clarify my ideas, to share some of the things I have learned about parenting and collaboration in the hopes that others will connect with my words and be motivated to try something new. It’s not really about likes and shares, but rather giving voice to my thoughts in a venue that is public.
There are times though, when I really just want to UNLEASH. I want to rant and rail and be BOLD and call things out for what they really are. This is where I am at right now. I am feeling this raw emotion, this pull to speak out; but I have to consider the ramifications, how these words would impact those around me. And I’ll be honest. It is a process that sucks, because I want so badly to just be real. It is difficult to navigate being real and vulnerable in a way that others will be able to connect with instead of causing someone to shut down or withdraw. I am always in awe of people who can do this well, with apparent ease, and I wonder if they go through a similar process or if this is something that simply comes naturally to them?
For now, I will sit in contemplation; this place of feeling emotional and uncomfortable and hope that I can find the right words to share soon.