Why It's So Emotionally Difficult To Publish Personal Essays Online
People on the Internet just don’t get it.
Many people like to assume our generation does everything for attention, but really, we just want to be heard.
We want to be heard so we can hear back. We want to express our opinions, share our ideas and connect with others in ways we didn’t have the chance to before. We aren’t all like this, but a good majority of us are.
Sharing something personal with the world is a very scary thing.
To know that millions upon millions of people will read our stories, judge our characters and share it with friends is a really intimidating thing.
It’s almost worse than high school when there were only a few thousand people to pass judgment. Now, it’s the whole world.
I first published a very, very personal story about me for the first time on this website.
I received many emails and feedback about what I wrote. I didn’t do it because I wanted to draw attention to myself; I did it because I wanted to draw attention to something that was happening to children every day but not getting fixed.
It’s frightening to tell a story about my life that is so close to me, it haunts me every day. But every day, this is what we do. And sometimes, people mock us.
They read our articles, call us names and they don’t even know us. But to us, this is our lives.
What we write is what we live, and to see millions of people judging what we write is a harsh reality we walk into when we choose this life for ourselves.
I received my first incredibly critiqued article just a few weeks ago. While it was a light-hearted article to me — and wasn’t about anyone in particular —, not everyone interpreted it the same way.
Some people called me awful names and other people had horrific comments on my life — a life they knew nothing about.
I was made out to be someone I was not, and anyone who has visited my website could see that the claims were not true.
I read all of the comments, even though people tell me not to.
I like to read them because they inspired me to be better and to write other articles (like this one). I also find some of them really funny — especially the ones about me that are completely untrue.
But, my favorite comments are from people who have connected with what I written. I don’t know if there are any words to describe what it feels like to know millions of people around the world have been through what I have been through or laugh at what I laugh at.
This is the ultimate reason to share personal things on the Internet. This is why some of us choose to let the world read about our lives, because it connects with other people. It starts a conversation.
It makes people think. It lets others know they are not alone. Even if we write stupid articles, they still entertain us and allow us to be silly and express our ridiculous sides so we don’t feel the need to always be so serious.
We share ourselves with the world so the world can continue the cycle and share with others.
And maybe that means everyone will hate on me or everyone will agree with me. It doesn’t really matter which one.
To share a piece of ourselves with an insanely large audience takes a lot of guts, and not everyone gets the audience we get.
So go ahead, call us names. Tell us how you feel. Whatever you do, understand that it took a lot of work to write about our lives, even if you think our writing is really crappy.
Know that we do it because we want to express ourselves in the best way we know how.
And, to those who have supported even our most obscene articles, thank you.