It is said that sharing is caring, and rightly so, however, it can also become counter-productive in later life, especially if you want to move on, and most especially if it’s your personal story you are sharing.
Fortunately, my personal story is also the very thing I use in the very thing it is that I do. I say fortunately for several reasons. One such reason, and one which created an embarrassing situation when being visited in prison by my two sons, was when they told me my crime had been reported on in the media, no surprise there, but my robbery of a newsagent was captured on CCTV and shown on media channels. I wanted the floor to open and swallow me up I was so embarrassed. They were cool with it, not in a proud way, but that wasn’t the point.
The only benefit of me knowing was that I knew early on after being sentenced and had time to think about what to do. Not only was I embarrassed, but at that time, and at that point, potential future connections and/or employers would easily be able to spot it. How could I turn what I saw as a huge obstacle, a negative – even before getting out of prison and what comes with that – into a positive? I couldn’t ignore it. Before being released I knew I had to take control of it.
Upon release, I joined a prison Facebook group, which had over 75,000 members, and shared the story containing the CCTV footage. The story in the media wasn’t the full story, however, I first shared the media’s version and got absolutely ripped to shreds, some of it was out of this world funny, some of it was about original as a vote of confidence against a tory leader. Then, I shared my version, the true story if you like? I must admit that not everyone changed their opinion and some of the abuse got worse but overall, I received a positive response to the truth.
Ever since then, sharing anything about my life has become second nature. In fact, I find it more cathartic than I ever do traumatic. I’m not saying I don’t get affected from time to time, I just deal with it better these days, and I use it to influence changes in policy. I suppose I am at point in my life where rather than share my experiences, I tap into them. Personal weaponry in my (friendly) fight with systems.
But that’s me. Sharing one’s personal story is not for everyone. Especially publicly, and most especially if moving as far away from your old life as is possible. The past has a knack of biting us in the arse when we least expect it. My advice on that is if you do want to share your story but also want to move on, do so anonymously and if that isn’t what the recipient wants, saying no is always an option before the right one shows up
I have no need to be anonymous, I’m on a different path.
Once it’s public, it will be a battle to remove it later.
2 thoughts on “Safe Sharing”
The way you use your life experiences to encourage others is excellent David, and given people can see the truth in them makes a world of difference. Great work. And great courage too.
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Thank you, Ray 👊