I don’t know that I have permission to read these stories.

My new friend, Henry, said as a puzzled look hit my face. He must have noticed, because he scratched his chin as he leaned back to consider it. I followed suit, ruminating further.

“It’s so personal,” Henry continued. “And I guess I just don’t feel like I can relate to it. I’m not part of that community. I don’t have that struggle. It gives me insight, for sure. But I can only see so much before it feels like I’m intruding.”

The pieces started sliding together.

“So, you feel that, in order to be a reader, you have to be a part of that community?” I clarified.

Henry nodded. I continued. “So, even if you are given permission to read these stories, you still feel that you should refrain, correct?”

Henry agreed with my statement. I thanked him for his input and turned around to keep working. But I couldn’t shake his words out of my mind. Something was still missing.

If it’s not permission to read our stories that he needs, and the insight is still not enough to help him feel welcome, what else does he need?

Henry couldn’t shake it either, because we both turned around at the same time to speak. His mouth opened first, so I held mine closed.

“It would be different,” Henry said, “if I knew the authors. Like, if I personally knew them well. Not just through their posts, but if I also knew them outside of that. Then I’d feel like I could read.”

My lips curled into a smirk. Oh, Henry, if you only knew.

“So,” I said, hiding my smirk, “if you knew the guys who wrote for Your Other Brothers, you would feel more comfortable reading their stories? And you’d be able to connect with them? Because you’d know the people outside their posts?”

Henry nodded with a resounding “Yeah!” each time.

“That makes sense,” I concluded. “Thank you for checking out that blog for me.” I turned back around, grinning ear to ear.

I had asked Henry to check out the blog as a favor, not telling him that I wrote for the blog. Due to my pseudonym, he had no reason to look for any trace of me on here. All he knew was that I had asked him to check out this blog for feedback. I’m sure he assumed I came across it in my research and found it interesting enough to warrant a second opinion.

I debated letting him in on the secret; true to his words, he would not go back and read ever again. After all, he didn’t know any of the guys personally.

I could write a post about our whole conversation and he would never know.

However, Henry is a good friend. And not only do I care about him a lot, he is highly intelligent and always willing to help.

He was willing to read several blogs outside his realm of understanding simply because I’d asked him.

I finally decided. “Which posts did you read?”

Henry turned around, racking his mind for some titles. “I don’t remember them all. But one of them was about Father’s Day. It was pretty good.”

“Oh, yeah, I read that one,” I answered, a smile shining on my face.

Have you invited or given permission to anyone to read YOB with you? How have others responded upon your sharing this site with them? Do you want others to read and better understand, or do you prefer this realm stay separate in your life?

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