Being Honest, again

5 Sep

Raise your hands if you think I’m an honest person.

Raise your hands if you think I let you in all the way, if you think you know me.

Amy at Seafoam and Cocquelicots stumbled upon me, and made some accurate points referencing my “Me, 30 Times” list.  My list detailed things about me, but not their meanings.

I thought that was a pretty astute observation not only about my “list”, but about blogging in general.

I am honest in many ways. (and honestly, I don’t know how much of this site she has read). I bear my heart in many ways, talking about my desires for death, my irritation and sometimes hatred of my own children. I’m honest, or becoming more honest, about my past, and what those events meant. But am I completely honest with all of you?

Hells no. This IS a public facade in many ways. The real me is likely meaner, uglier and stupider than any of you can ever imagine. But I don’t want you to know that anymore than I want you to know that the “recovering christian” line is a: a thinly veiled Tori Amos reference and b: an allusion to the fact that while I hold a great deal of hatred for the church, I also envy the belief my mother and so many others hold, and I wish I could understand it.

Like many things, it’s only a piece of me.

If I took the time to explain away every reference, there would be no mystery (and each post would be 4 days long). My stories may have no meaning-they would be the ramblings of someone who wants to make sure that you knew what the color of the rug in my childhood bedroom was (green, so I pretended it was the grass under my little people garage) instead of stories trying to make understood the trials a bipolar parent suffers through.

I choose my honesty. My list is as deep as I want to get on a surface level, a primer, and invitation to those who are new to see if they are willing to dive a little deeper. I would never hand it out as a definitive list of “me”. It’s meant to seduce a reader, or conversely, ward off the unprepared. It’s as honest as a soundbite, for good or bad.

But this did get me thinking-how honest are many of you? I’ve come to realize that many of my “online” friends have lives I couldn’t have imagined from their writings-things they couldn’t talk about, things they barely referenced. How did we become so quietly accepting of our own secrets?

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14 Responses to “Being Honest, again”

  1. marcelarhodus September 5, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    Being honest does not imply full disclosure. You can be honest, and keep things to yourself. It’s part of us all as human beings, and it’s and intrisecate element of the fascinating task of getting to know each other. If we “let in” in every corner and creek of our beings, we’d take away the wonder of discovery for those who take the extra mile.

    In my blog you see pieces of my life, and I’d say if you put them together you get a pretty good picture of who I am. I”m honest, but I never forget the fact that what I write will be read by others.

  2. jen September 5, 2007 at 9:22 am #

    it’s the one dimensional hurdle, don’t you think? in 3.D we get to use all our senses to connect w/ someone and allow for mutual sharing…while i love this world i just don’t think it’s possible to translate all of it onto a flat screen.

  3. Jen September 5, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    I’m honest in that I don’t lie about who I am or what I’m feeling, but completely honest? No way. I try to strike a balance between the parts of me I like and the parts I don’t, but I always, always skew towards one or the other. Everything I write automatically goes through the filter of my brain anyway so it could never be 100%.

    There is a lot I will write about but much more that I won’t. The medium is just too open and public for me to feel completely comfortable with full disclosure, and a lot of what I keep to myself involves other people and their privacy.

    In person, I’m quick to anger, very needy, almost constantly worried about what people think of me and when I get mad I am very ugly to be around. Online I can shut the computer down when I get that way.

  4. Caitlin September 5, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    I think it’s hard to let someone know you completely, especially if you don’t know each other online and offline. You miss the unspoken things, like gestures and expressions, noticing any unconscious patterns that develop if you don’t see them offline. And as you noted, it’s really hard to put those things into a blog entry without derailing whatever it was you wanted to say.

    And conversely, there are some things you can’t really say offline, especially about your kids. People think there’s something wrong with you if say “My two year old is acting like a two year old and it’s really driving me up the wall.” and don’t follow it up with the standard disclaimer, even though they know two year olds can be pretty damn frustrating.

    Most of the things I tend to keep secret aren’t particularly bad, shocking, or even that interesting. I survived Southern Lady Charm School, and if you only learn one thing, it’s that you must present yourself as perfectly happy, because otherwise, what will the neighbors think?!. It is really hard to break out of that training, especially offline.

  5. bine September 5, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    blogging makes it relatively easy to be honest. but being honest doesn’t necessarily mean you’re painting a full picture of yourself.
    and then we all want to impress to some degree. we try to be witty, we try to get sympathy. somewhere there’s a thin line we know instinctively not to cross. it’s okay to write that you have days where you want to slap your children. many parents feel that way and are relieved that someone else spells it out. take it a step or two further and there won’t be much sympathy left. things we are ashamed of to admit to ourselves we don’t want to admit to others.

    me, i’m much more honest in my comments on other people’s blogs than i am on my own blog. not that i lie, it’s just that i don’t tell it all. it would be different if my blog was completely anonymous, but many of our friends and not-so-close friends look into my blog, so i’m not really free to talk about trouble with my man for example if i don’t want my whole cologne community to know about it.
    but even if my blog were anonymous i guess i wouldn’t be telling all there is, there’s a lot of stuff i don’t even like to admit to myself, much less to others.

  6. sweetsalty kate September 5, 2007 at 1:14 pm #

    Excellent comments. And thor, you’re on fire. Your writing lately.. it’s intense, and poetic, and so lovely and provoking.

    Sometimes I feel like too much is made of the difference between blogging and real-life. What makes us more or less honest in this medium than in one-on-one relationships? It’s a different venue with different social rules, but in each case, we choose which parts of ourselves we project or hide.

    I think the only way to measure honesty in online writing is to examine how writing is used as a release during difficult times as well as happy times.. as an outlet to face complex emotions, to try and put corners around darkness for the benefit of both the writer and his or her readers.

    And you do that, richly and vividly. Not that you need to be told how honest you are. You don’t. You can be as false as you want, here – depending on what your purpose is in keeping this space.

    And on a side note, the whole idea of an About Me list like yours is to provide a snapshot in an entertaining way – you’re certainly not going to write a thousand-word bullet explaining your religious history. Most of know exactly what is meant by ‘recovering christian’. It doesn’t need elaboration, even outside of the context of a snapshot.

  7. Gabriel... September 5, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    I’ve never lied on Salted, I have used some exaggeration as a literary device, but I make it fairly obvious when that’s what’s going on. There are things I haven’t posted about yet, obviously, so maybe I’ve chosen which parts of my life I’m willing to share at the moment, but Salted is an important part of my recovery from living with untreated manic depression as well as from the clinical depressions and their causes. I don’t see how lying about any of that does me or my recovery any benefit. If you don’t want people to know it’s you, don’t put your name anywhere on the blog and change the names in your blog. But if you’re lying about your life on your blog you might as well be writing a short story. In order for Salted to work for me I’ve had to be as honest as I possibly can…

  8. Marcy September 5, 2007 at 3:48 pm #

    The territory of honesty, vulnerability, intimacy, and boundaries is a ticklish one to navigate. Having good and firm and appropriate boundaries, differing depending on situations and company, is not hypocritical or dishonest.

    I try to err on the side of honesty, but there are times when I keep things more or less to myself.

  9. Jennifer September 5, 2007 at 6:37 pm #

    Its all about boundaries and what we feel comfortable in sharing. In my opinion it is unhealthy to share too much, but also unhealthy to share nothing.

    You think way too deep, sometimes a rose really is just a rose.

  10. thordora September 6, 2007 at 11:10 am #

    I’m very protective of the core me, something I’m sure Mogo can attest to. There are parts of my life that are an open book. Yet there are parts of me I rarely, if ever, share with someone. I likely never will. I am as honest as I want to be.

    I do not lie. I find lying needless and reprehensible. I may leave something out, or neglect to say something, but I refuse to lie. That, to me, is honesty.

    And really, how you weave the mystery of who you are online is part of the attraction. I think of Eden In real life, I might make the mistake of thinking she was “just” a SAHM. But online, I’ve been able to discover that she’s more than that-she’s a talented writer and a helpful voice for editing. In real life, I may not have given her a chance, if that makes sense.

    I think the online world OFFERS us the chance to be more honest, but it’s up to us to take up the charge.

  11. thordora September 6, 2007 at 11:12 am #

    and Kate? YOUR check is in the mail this time 🙂

  12. ann adams September 6, 2007 at 11:46 pm #

    I don’t lie but I don’t tell all either, at least not on the blog.

    Finally back on line and pulling ourselves together somewhat.

  13. thordora September 7, 2007 at 7:28 am #

    I’m so glad to hear it Ann. I’ve been checking in periodically.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ‘i choose my honesty.’ « My Gorgeous Somewhere - September 7, 2007

    […] choose my honesty.’ 07Sep07 A insightful post here from a blogger I started reading last October, drawn as I was to her writing and her willingness to […]

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