“Be careful who you open up to” the quote read. “Only a few people actually care, the rest are just curious.” An interesting thought. I’ve certainly felt that way when someone seems to know what I ate for supper, or where I was when, but can’t remember my name or thinks I am still in high school. A lot of times, in a small town, it feels like people know about you, where you live, who you’re related to, sometimes even what you do for a living. But, it is crazy how few people actually know who you really are, what you’re passionate about, how you see the world when the noise finally stops, and it is just you and your thoughts.
I am glad I have a job where I get to interview people, mostly local artists. Those interviews are my favorite part of writing for a newspaper. I love to find out what makes someone feel alive. Why they do what they do, how they got started, what makes their craft or hobby uniquely them. Questions like that often let you see a glimpse of someone’s soul. This fascination is also why I love blogging. With blogging, yes, you have the freedom and a platform to write about what makes you tick, but the most inspiring part is reading about other people’s passions and feelings and getting to live a slice of their journey with them.
Maybe some people do just want to know things for the sake of idle curiosity, but I believe there is more than just that. Yes, it is good to have levels of friendship and to know what information is appropriate to share and what is not (don’t post everything you think on facebook people), but there is a certain beauty in vulnerability. When someone writes or shares something in an honest, heartfelt way it draws more than just curiosity, it makes people care alongside with you. Like a blog post written by a mother who found out in the delivery room that her daughter was born with down syndrome. Reading about her struggle with intense grief and joy, pain and strength made me want to go and hug both her and her precious little girl.
It’s good to care, and even though it can be painful, it’s good to feel. Opening up is scary. Taking what is closest to your heart and holding it out to an unstable world is definitely risky, but often taking that risk can be a source of strength because other people, who have walked a similar road, will care.
While many people are just curious, I think more people care than one would think; and if people were more willing to be open and create safe environments for other people to be open, it could be a beautiful thing. There are dark spots in life and some very rough patches to get through. I know. This last year I’ve dealt with depression and more stress and anxiety than I care to relieve, but if you see me and ask how I’m doing I’ll say fine not because I am but because that is the culturally appropriate answer. I am great at turning conversations around so they focus on the other person and not on me. What this culture desperately, desperately needs is a safe community. A place were it’s ok not to be fine all of the time. No one should feel like they have to walk through pain or depression alone. Take a risk. Be yourself. Open up and share your passions, dreams, and even some of the pain. Some people may just be curious, but others might just join you on your imperfect journey.