How has the Not Alone Series helped you? Encouraged you? Built community, perhaps?
I like that this reflective topic is coming in the middle of the year. The year-end months are almost made for reflection, but anniversaries are also good, and tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the Not Alone Series. It seems fortuitous.
It’s no secret that I am single and do not wish to be. Most of the time, that manifests itself in prayer and commiserating with my fellow unhappily single friends. It’s tough to support marrying young and having large families and celibacy before marriage when your life doesn’t exactly reflect what you believe. But I do it.
The Not Alone series has helped me in two distinct ways: it’s turned my private complaining public and it’s shifted my focus.
As I wrote in my tl;dr yesterday, I am fully aware that this is a public blog. I work hard to be the same person online that I am in real life, albeit perhaps funnier and hopefully more eloquent. When I write about my struggles with single life, those posts are available for the whole world to see, and save, and print, and potentially use against me. That’s an important reminder to be clear, tactful, and honest all at once.
On the positive side, NAS is about uniting kindred spirits, so I hope that some of the participants and lurkers have read my posts and find them helpful for knowing that they are not alone. It’s been great for me! I always write my posts before reading any of the others. It’s amazing to see how much the other posters and I have in common or completely diverge. I definitely feel less alone. That’s the goal, right? It’s right there in the name.
Back on the negative, I’m also aware that the Internet never forgets. I had to completely rewrite my post about encouraging men twice. I couldn’t decide how much detail to reveal, even though I was never going to name names. I settled on basically none. No detail. That’s a level I’m comfortable with those men (and/or my potential future husband) reading someday in the future (or now). I don’t feel as though my freedom as a writer has been restricted because I’m the one doing the restricting. I could have skipped that week, but it was too important a topic and I had something to say. I think I struck a solid balance between freedom and prudence (“freedom from” versus “freedom to”).
Before I joined the NAS girls, my blog was mostly about my day-to-day life and also books. Responding to the weekly prompts has stretched my writing and my areas of self-reflection so much further than I ever would have. I had never before taken the time to write about my thoughts on makeup and exterior beauty. I’d never shared how I travel as a single. I’d definitely never laid out exactly why it is that I don’t believe in or participate in sex outside of marriage. NAS has pushed me past just complaining and into a place where I can do something about it. Despite my limited success, the NAS challenge was so good for me!
It’s not the end of the year, and it’s not Thanksgiving Day, but I am thankful for the Not Alone Series. It’s been good for me, I hope it has been good for all of us NAS girls, and I hope you have enjoyed reading my NAS posts. The series will be on a break for the summer. I hope to have good things to report come fall!