I struggled a bit in deciding to post this, as it is a little raw and embarrassing. However, based on the spirit of confessions from yesterday, I decided to do it anyways.
I am probably being paranoid, but if there is anything about this that leads you to match me to a secret you have read, please keep that knowledge to yourself. I am not there yet. This exercise was like putting my toes in the water. A necessary step if one is to swim, but I'm not ready to jump in right now.
I had insomnia on Monday night.
At first, it was the neighbour's fault. Usually, the only thing I hear from their side of the wall is silence or screaming. Apparently, they have friends-- which was honestly a surprise to me, particularly when I just become aware of said friends at 1am on a weekday night six months into my residence at this apartment.
This began the tossing and turning. Then came the bit where I checked the glowing red numbers of my alarm clock every ten minutes, calculating over and over again how many hours of sleep I could plausibly get before my 6:30am rising, and panicking as this number grew smaller and smaller.
I woke up, fuzzy-headed, Tuesday morning, to words I haven't spoken in a long time displayed on the site of another.
As I went through the regularities of my day, I checked intermittently to see if anyone had responded. The first time I noticed only a single response, I kind of wrote off the number, thinking the day was still early.
The day progressed, and a steady flow of comments came into my inbox for the secret posted on my site. Nothing still on my secret. I wondered if I had just ended up on a generally less visited blog.
Then I checked my site stats. Hundreds of visitors, all directly from the main Blog Secret page. Which means that hundreds of people were visiting the site with my secret.
And none of them were saying anything.
I arrived home that evening, fatigued from my lack of sleep, worry seeping in. I tried to focus on television, on the food in my mouth. I told myself that lots of people probably didn't get the responses they were hoping for, that this was part of the risk I took by participating.
After dinner, I set myself to reading other's secrets-- beautiful, tragic, funny. Comments flowed in, offering kind words, support, contact. People wrote new posts about the amazing sense of community they'd felt from this exercise. And, as I found my fingers compulsively clicking on each new link, I couldn't help but realize that my secret had received drastically fewer responses, by a huge margin, that every other one I read. Empathy was pouring out for everyone except me.
As I sat there on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, I felt very lonely. Lonelier than before I had shared this secret. And ashamed, that even these people willing to provide an outpouring of support could not find anything worthy in my words.
And then suddenly, near bed time, the number of comments exploded in a second, to double digits. The compassionate words and insights I'd seen for others were directed at me, too.
It turns out the blogger had some sort of invisible comment moderation process that led to people's words not being posted when they had been written.
It also turns out I'm still a lot more vulnerable than I thought.