When you write a blog or put yourself "out there" in any way and share yourself, your story, and your life (to some degree), you are opening yourself up to judgement, and sometimes criticism, by others.
On my blog and by email I have gotten comments judging me for adopting transracially, for adopting children with HIV, for adopting children with special needs, and for having "too large" of a family.
I have gotten comments judging me for running too much, for racing too much, for not wearing modest enough running clothes, for running on Sundays, and my own personal favorite, for overestimating my potential.
The "old me" used to care too much about what other people thought. I have always been, and probably always will be, a "pleaser". I like to make people happy. I do want people to like me, and I do care about what people think (to a point). I have gotten to a much better place in life where I care a lot less (especially about what people who are not significant in my life think), and I can take criticism and let it roll off my shoulders. My skin has gotten thicker. I have gotten to a place where I can truly say, "I am happy. I am doing what is right for me. I am doing what is right for my family. Nothing else matters." Or, as my awesome Dad says, "No one else gets a vote."
I can click "delete" on a comment or email and move on with my day.
All that said, it doesn't make it any less discouraging to open an email and have some hate mail from someone who read the blog and thinks that you are all sorts of wrong for doing "fillintheblank", and I have had times where I had the urge to just shut it down and write a journal for myself.
But on the flip side of that, I have met so many incredible people through this blog. I have connected with so many runners that inspire me. I have made true friends. I have gotten wonderful opportunities. I get comments and emails from kind and caring people who write just to say something uplifting, or to share their own successes, or to thank me for sharing my story. Some people write and ask for advice and I always write back thoughtfully and give as much help as I can. And I have learned a great deal from the writing of others.
Best of all, I get so much support and encouragement with my running through people I have met through this blog. Most people in my life don't care much about my running. They either think I'm nuts, or the running is unimportant, or they just don't care, or all of the above. It's really nice to have people ask about how your run was on any given day, or ask how your training is going, or care about how you feel or what your goals are. It's nice to have people who ask about and care about something that is important to you.
Also, almost all of the "good luck" and "congratulations" messages I get before and after races are from running friends I have made through this blog. And those messages mean so much! (Especially when I am alone in a hotel, as I often am for races).
I started this blog because writing is how I best process my feelings and express myself, and because I wanted to write about and share my journey as a runner. Becoming a member of the online running community, making so many fun connections, meeting so many great people, and finding so much support was a very unexpected bonus.
So for me, putting myself "out there", and writing this blog is well worth it. And thanks so much to all of you who make it that way.