Editor’s Note: This is part 53 of Marie’s Story, continued from The Difference Between Feeling Charged and Being Joyful
Today was therapy session day, and I knew it was going to be an interesting session before I even walked in the door.
As is our usual routine, I headed into his office to get settled while Carl took a quick break. While I waited for him, I pulled out my clipboard that was holding my letter to God and I readied a mechanical pencil.
When Carl walked in, he chuckled and stated, “I guess you are ready to jump right in today!”
After my affirmative response, he led us through the usual greetings and then we settled into a focused conversation.
Carl: I’m guessing that (pointing to the clipboard) is your letter to God, correct?
Me: Yes, and I have a copy for you if you would like one.
Carl: I would (reaching out to receive it). Thank you!
Me: You’re welcome! I don’t know if you want to follow along as I read, or not. Either way is fine with me.
Carl: I really appreciate how seriously you are taking this process, how committed you are to it, how much effort you put into preparing for our sessions. I get that this is serious business for you.
Before we get into your letter to God, I’d first like to take a moment to do some housekeeping. In your email, you included some links to posts in your blog. And, you stated you didn’t know if I read your blog or not.
The answer is: I don’t read your blog. I feel your blog is a private experience that you share with your cyber friends. I feel it is something I should not insert myself into because it is separate from your therapeutic relationship with me. I don’t want what your write in your blog to influence what occurs in here.
However, I did read over the two posts to which you linked in your email, and I read the comments. I’m glad the people who read your blog are finding benefit in reading about our sessions. I can see that sharing your experience would be helpful others who are on a similar journey.
As I was reading those posts, I found myself wondering if you are keeping yourself safe as you share such personal information in your blog. I wonder if someday in the future you will wish certain people didn’t know certain details about your life. And, I wonder if you are putting yourself in physical and/or emotional danger by sharing so many intimate details about yourself.
I don’t know that you are putting yourself at risk because I don’t know what safeguards you have put into place. I’m just concerned enough about it that I felt that I needed to ask the question.
Me: So, I hear your concern about my safety, and I’ll address that.
But, first, let me thank you for taking the time to read the posts that you did read. I really don’t care either way if you read my blog or not. I just thought it was cool that some of the readers think you are an awesome therapist and I wanted to pass along those compliments. I figured you probably don’t read it just because I’m sure your time is limited and reading a client’s blog might not be the best use of your time.
About my safety: I have been fairly careful to not give away very specific identifying information. For example, I say I live in northern Colorado, but I don’t list the town. I use my real picture, but it is an older picture, and I don’t use my real name.
If someone really wanted to figure out my real name and specifically where I live, I’m sure they could. It wouldn’t be that hard. But, they would have to want to do it pretty badly—I don’t make it easy for someone to figure that out. So, I feel pretty safe in that way.
My biggest concern was the safety of the kids on my school bus. I never disclosed that I was driving a school bus until after I stopped working there. I didn’t want to take any chance that some weirdo would get the dumb idea of trying something while I was out on my route—the only adult with a busload of vulnerable young kids. I was doubly careful with that information. I just couldn’t take that risk with their safety.
Additionally, I was part of a blogging group, and we discussed privacy issues at length. So, I am pretty savvy about the risks of sharing different kinds of information on the internet. The group reviewed my blog and helped me address privacy and security issues specific to my blog.
Does that answer some of your concern?
Carl: Yes, it does! It sounds like you are taking the steps necessary to keep yourself safe. I don’t know much about blogging, but it sounds like you have done your homework and that you are approaching this in a responsible manner.
Me: There is another piece to all of this. The blog gives me an opportunity to share my current journey. I know it is not appropriate for me to share the details of my journey with every person with whom I develop a relationship. I do think it is appropriate to share at least some of the details in relationships that are personal and substantial. The blog gives me practice in doing that and doing it in a way that encourages me to be strong and powerful and healthy.
I know my history is history, but my current journey plays a huge role in defining who I am today. My current journey—and my history—are not things I need to hide or to be ashamed of. My blog helps take the shame away from these topics for me and for others. For that, I’m very willing to take the risks I am taking. The benefit is worth the personal risk.
Carl: I think your blog has played a key role in your healing. I’m glad you have found such an effective tool!
Does your blog receive a lot of traffic?
Me: I usually receive about 100 hits a day. That isn’t really an impressive number in the world of blogging. However, it has never been my goal to pull in a lot of traffic. My intention has always been to share my story so a few people could be helped, and I know that has already happened. So, my goal has already been met. Everything else is gravy.
Carl: Do you get many comments?
Me: I receive, on average, maybe a couple of comments a day. I think it is so cool that there is a handful of men who support me consistently through their comments. All of those men are in stable relationships, so I know their motivation for supporting me is not because they are looking for a girlfriend . It must be because they believe in me and want the best for me. They give their support with no strings attached.
I also receive supportive comments from women. But, I have often received support from women in real life. So, while I value the comments left by women, it is not a new experience for me.
However, receiving support from men—in any environment—is a new experience for me, and it has been a very healing experience. Through their comments, I am getting an idea of what it is like to have selfless emotional support from men. That has been huge for me.
Carl: I’m so glad you are learning what it feels like to be supported by people of both genders. We all need that! And, I do feel that my concerns have been addressed. Thank you for responding to my concerns so openly.