I deliberated for a long time before I wrote yesterday's post. It might not seem like it at times, but I put a lot of effort into this blog. When I clicked "publish" yesterday, I was ready to say what I said.
I am extremely grateful to everyone who left supportive comments, and to everyone who has wished me luck or offered prayers. It helps immensely to know that I have friends, both in the real world, and in cyberspace, who will stand by me in the difficult times and rejoice with me in the exciting times.
But I was a little caught off guard by one anonymous commenter. And I went back and forth in my head as to whether I should respond at all, and I had pretty much decided that I would say nothing. But when another anonymous commenter decided to defend me, and a mini-debate began to unfold in the comments section, I decided that I should say something.
But what should I say?
Do I try to explain myself, and clear up her (or his - I don't feel like writing a slash every time, so let's just use a gender neutral "she" for the time being) misconceptions of me? Do I clarify that my statement about not being able to afford rent referred to the reason I am not moving out of my in-laws' basement, and not to an outstanding bill that I owe to someone and am not paying? Do I explain that my proposed trip to Florida would have cost very, very little, as we were planning on driving and splitting gas four ways and staying with grandparents?
Do I try to defend my actions? Justify my frustrations with anecdotes? Argue that my sanity requires a little bit of respite here and there, and that compared to the cost of treating stress with psychiatry, a little vacation here and there is really the cheapest option?
This is my blog. It says so at the top of the page. Which means that I get to decide what goes on this blog. People will not always understand what I'm trying to say. That might be partly my fault for not explaining things well enough, but I have noticed that even the best writers on the Internet are often misunderstood. So I won't try to explain myself any further than I already have. I can only take so much responsibility for what other people think of me.
This is my blog, not my husband's. And yes, he knows about it, and he reads it occasionally, entirely with my blessing. I don't say anything here that I would try to hide from him. But I also try not to say anything here that is not my story to share. If you read through my archives, you will find very sparse details about my husband's illness. Because it's not my illness to share. What you will find a lot of, however, is me struggling with how his illness affects me. Because that is what is mine to share. (And, since I have now made the suggestion, here are links to some posts where I do exactly that, in June, in July, in November, and in January.)
So, I am not going to try to justify my emotional response by elaborating on my husband's illness. I believe that I am entitled to my feelings, whether they are objectively justifiable or not. Any therapist worth their salt will tell you that. And I feel like I have had a very difficult year or two, and I occasionally feel bitter about that, just as I also occasionally feel sad, lonely, angry, hopeful, happy, or amused.
And I think that's the most italics I have ever used in one blog post.
It is difficult to hear that someone thinks you are living your life wrong, that your priorities are skewed, or that you don't love your husband enough. It is made even more difficult when you know, deep down, that most of those judgements are based on misconceptions, which could theoretically be cleared up if you just poured enough explanation into them. Or maybe it is made more difficult by the knowledge that you're really not a perfect person, not a perfect wife, and that, while you think you are doing the best you can with a difficult situation, perhaps you could be doing better.
But in the end, this is my blog. I choose to share this part of myself with the world, along with everything that entails. People will judge me, people will criticize me, people will insult me. But people will also encourage me, support me, and empathize with me.
At least today, I think that the trade-off is worth it.