I received a comment from a reader named Joanne in response to my Everything to everyone post. I guess it was like being pulled up by a parent for getting too big for my boots. Here is her comment.
"Hi Carly, long time follower but first time commentor. I think your blog is fantastic, you are a truly funny and enlightening person and I enjoy reading your posts everytime you update. Congratulations on your new website.
I have to say, though, this post left a bit of a bad taste. To me, and perhaps I misunderstood you, but you appear to be saying that you're becoming "overwhelmed" with your fame, that you can't deal with being a "role model" for all your "fans". I found this post a bit arrogant. Im sure you have loads of followers (myself included as a dedicated one!) but I think this might be a bit ahead of yourself. You always used to write with such modesty.
I hope I havent offended you, I just wanted to give you food for thought as I feel like these posts are kind of sliding towards arrogance and narcissm. You dont have to publish me if you don't want, I understand. I dont have a blog so I can only post my name (Joanne) instead of being Annon (which I hate!) I wish you all the best!"
Thank you Joanne - it did provide some food for thought, hence this reply via blog post. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to write to me. I am not offended.
It is always really hard to write about these issues without seeming like I have an inflated ego. I never meant that I have a fan following, or that I am a superstar of any degree. But I'd be lying if I denied that my profile hasn't risen recently. I think that we all want some attention and praise, and blogging is an immediate way of receiving that.
But as a blogger, I think it can get overwhelming at times, a bit like a celebrity (and I am not saying I am). People can relate to stories we tell, and want to share their own, and also find some hope and assistance through our words. And for the most part, it is flattering, and I want to help. While I understand it is a choice about what I share with the world, it is not my choice about who contacts me. And so when I receive messages like I did last week, it can be overwhelming. (Perhaps if I posted the messages here you'll see why I was overwhelmed. But they're private messages, very personal to the senders, and so I won't.)
It was after months of receiving emails from one particular reader, and that confronting email that I wrote Everything to everyone.
I share a lot of myself on my blog. I'll admit at times I have written a post - Untouched for example - and it has been so emotionally draining that I've cried while writing it. I am also continually worried about offending someone or revealing too much of those I write about. I often seek approval or run posts by the person I write about. Most things I blog are written with a conscience - who may I offend?
It is hard to be authentic and honest through blogging without it seeming like your life is there on show - you can't be a carcrash that readers thrive off. But at the same time blogging allows that community, that support that you need during difficult times.Which may be a contradictory statement given that I feel overwhelmed.
It was never my intention to seem narcissistic or arrogant in that post or any of my writing. I was simply trying to articulate my feelings through writing them out on my blog. Maybe, like so much of the other 'therapy through writing' I've done lately, I should have left it unpublished.
My feelings of being everything to everyone have definitely stemmed from my experiences in the past few months. I helped someone I love through an extremely tough time. I was 'there' to answer each text, each email. I went to a counselor to see how I could better help him. (Without meaning to sound like a martyr) I put my own feelings for him aside and just focused on his healing. And when he was healed, and I told him my feelings, it was too late. I'm no longer needed. It was too much at times. And I believe I worried myself sick. I don't think it is a coincidence that I ended up in hospital - twice - during the time I was providing support. While it wasn't in me not to provide support - and he told me that he couldn't have gotten through without me and a few others - I can't give so much of myself again, just yet, because of this. He loved me because he believed I'm strong, and maybe leant on me for that reason too. But even the strong ones can't take on everything. Who will support the supporter?
For the past seven weeks, I've felt broken, lost, used and so very sad. Not depressed, just sad because of grief. The best I can explain it is here, and I've tried not to saturate this blog with my feelings. And that's why I needed to take a step back. It was difficult supporting someone I love. And so I can't be there to assist others (strangers) who contact me because they relate. I take on a lot, and I can't let myself get hurt again. It may seem blunt, callous, selfish, narcissistic or arrogant of me. But I'm looking out for number one right now - me.
Blogging. It's a tough balance. I'm always going to be myself here. But that may mean seem arrogant or selfish at times. Humility and modesty wont always shine through my writing. Because I can't be everything to everyone.
I'd be interested to hear from other bloggers (or people with disabilities) whose profiles have increased or receive requests of support from strangers. How do you deal? And who else relates to this episode of SBS Insight?