(un)comfortable masks

by Anna Blanch on March 4, 2013

IMAG0708Much has changed in my writing since I first responded to Joy’s call to write Life: Unmasked. And for all the naked theology, I still find my resolve waning and egoist as it is, my own sense of vulnerability threatens to overwhelm.

I often wondered how much trust was involved in the relationships of bloggers (friends) some of them who share their hearts day to day. I have written for less than I wanted to about my transition as an expat – what it was like moving from living alone to living with others again, and this stage of my PhD write up — mainly — in fact, entirely because it became clear that it made others in my life, people I care about — uncomfortable. So, I held my tongue, or pen as it were.

But something strange happened…

I realised that my writing isn’t about making people, even those  closest to me comfortable, in fact, by seeking to lessen how uncomfortable it made them, it didn’t necessarily improve, enrich, or enliven those relationships in any way — because for me my writing enlivens me and seeks to speak into more lives than just those closest to me. Indeed, sometimes those closest to you don’t have sufficient distance to read you without taking it personally.

The difficulty is often that it may seem like the course of least resistance to choose to silence yourself to make others less uncomfortable, but I discovered in doing so it was incredibly hard for me to move forward (and didn’t do anything positive for the relationships concerned). The other struggle for me Is that it had been so difficult to develop my confidence to use a more vulnerable and open way of sharing but it’s hard when others see themselves at the centre of what you’re writing rather than on the periphery.

After all this, I am left with the sense that I need to keep writing and sharing and while it’s important to seek to maintain and grow relationships with those close to me and those I’m in community with, but that I will cling to honouring my calling as a writing, bearing in mind that it isn’t about asserting a right to do so, but recognise that in honouring any calling you will not always do or write the way others would have you or think you should.


This is my second Life: Unmasked post for 2013. The first was I am a Writer. All my 2011 & 2012 Life unmasked can be found on this handy list. You can thank Joy of Joy’s Journey for pushing me to get involved in this weekly foray into ‘writing naked.’

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