Guest Blogging

I am pleased as punch to be the guest blogger at approximately 8,000 words, Kit O’Connell’s blog, with an article I wrote recently — Embracing Conflict.

What really tickles me about writing this article, outside of the chance to express my feelings and experiences on a topic many of us shy from, is how meta it is. Kit’s a member of my choice family and I ask you to show me a family that hasn’t had conflict. We’ve had our share and I can say, from being there, that time can be the greatest tool you have when dealing with conflict, resentment and a host of uncomfortable feelings. I’m proud of us for getting through some unfortunate and often dramatic incidents and getting back to a place of mutual support and love.

Kit is the reason I have this blog. He’s hosting the site and he set it up for me. When I came to him and said “I want to start writing publicly, how does that work?”; he almost immediately got me started. I have enjoyed seeing him find his volunteer and artistic niche in the burn community (we do art but most of it is visual in some way. He found the place for his words and did an amazing job as Flipside’s Web Content lead, this year. I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeve.) He found an outlet for his voice and passed that along.

Salt Shakers by harlanh, on flickr.com

The gift of conflict is that once you’ve been through it, once you’ve handled it in a positive, constructive manner, is that now you know you *can*. That, for me, is very reassuring in any relationship. I was convinced, for the better part of a year, that I had lost a member of my family and that conviction was worse than the anger and resentment. When I finally calmed down enough to engage, it was scary but now I have the comfort of knowing that we’ve been through the fire and I trust we can go through it again. Conflict as comfort, like a reassuring hug. Reframing it that way has helped me immeasurably in my relationships.

 

Big Girl Blog

Putting on the big girl panties. Photo by funkomavintage on Flickr.

This year marks the 10th year I have been using Livejournal and it has served its purpose over the years. I value it as a format; it’s been a way to connect with new people, learn random internet memes and is a fertile ground for processing. I will still use that forum for personal thoughts and reactions.

There has been another aspect to my writing lately, one that I have missed since leaving school: essays. I don’t particularly enjoy free associating and I have strong opinions, thoughts and one liners that have no place to conveniently land. As an introvert, it is not uncommon for me to “write” my thoughts into an essay format before ever touching paper or keyboard. Those prose thoughts need to get out and I have used livejournal for that purpose, in addition to the venting, 13 year old locked journal quality it has. It’s time to separate those writings into different formats.

So I’m putting on my big girl panties and putting some of those mental essays in a public forum, a non-locked down blog. It’s vulnerable and empowering at the same time. One part of me wants to keep my thoughts off of the internet another part realizes that the only way to truly manage one’s online identity is to be proactive about what is associated with oneself. I refuse to be scared of people’s reactions to my thoughts and opinions. Besides, I feel like I’ve now joined everyone in 2007.