Why do I blog? Why do I facebook?
This question has occurred to me quite frequently in recent times. I share quite a lot, that many people wouldn't share. I talk about my feelings, and my down days, and my finances. I vent, and I often share stories of my children, positive and negative.
Am I showing off? Am I attention-seeking? Am I asking for pity or help?
These are things that some people, mostly those who don't know me well, may think.
But no, none of those. If nobody read this blog, it would still be here, I would still write, because the outpouring of words is why I write. However it may not be in the same vein, I guess, as I do know people read and I do sometimes write with that in mind.
I write about money, and my financial struggles, not for pity or for help, but to raise a general awareness of the fact that living on benefits is not easy, is not all about the families you see on TV and in the Daily Mail with their 8 kids and 4 TVs and 3 dogs and holidays abroad blah de blah. I write so that people can see a real person and maybe, just maybe, will make them stop and think before judging the next person who says to them tentatively "well I stay at home at the moment but I am going to be looking for work in the future and I have worked before".............because, well, saying "I'm on benefits right now because it's how life is" is somehow seen as shameful. People quite frequently say to me that they know I'm the kind of person, in the kind of situation, where they like to see government money going, where they can understand, and like the fact that we have a benefits system in this country. And I hope, that makes people also realise that there are many people out there like me, that in fact the majority of people are like me, and the papers seize the minority and sensationalise it, like a game of Chinese Whispers when you're 9 years old. So that is why I talk about money on my blog, and on facebook, because the more transparent I am then the less I can be judged, if people dislike or judge me after transparency, then really, they're not my friend, and I'm better off knowing that and getting on with my life without them in it.
When I talk about my children, I'm not showing off, I'm being proud, I'm being anecdotal, and often I talk about the messes we've got into together, the parenting mistakes I've made and the way I have tried to make up for them. I write about this, because it is me and my feelings and who I am. And because, it is important to tell all, to show the full picture, to enable other parents to know it's not just them, they're not "bad parents", they're human and alive and this stuff happens to everyone and always will. There is far too much competition and expectations these days of how we bring up our children, and I like to try and combat that with a bit of the old unvarnished truth. But that doesn't mean I can't talk about the awesome totally cool things they've done, and if people want to call it showing off, well that's their look-out, I just call it sharing the good stuff :)
And asking for pity? Oh no. I share how I feel and some of the things that have made me feel that way, because again, there is far too much shame and shadows surrounding the world of emotional and mental health. Far too many people who are afraid to ask for help for fear of being seen as weak, or crazy, or having their children taken away from them. Too many people who don't know what to say when they ask a friend "Are you ok?" and the reply is "No actually I'm not" instead of the standard "Yeah fine thanks".
Sometimes I am asking for help, and that is ok, it is ok to ask for help, another thing that needs to be more widely accepted. Are we in this world alone? Are we on individual islands with no means of communication or travel? How ridiculous, we are part of a community and we should use our own and each others strengths to make life better, otherwise we may as well be all in isolation booths.
It is always nice to know that there is somebody out there who has been or is going through the same or something similiar to you. That you're not mad, or wrong, that you don't need to simply "get a grip".
I write this blog, because of all of these things, and because, quite simply, it's my life and I can.