My musings on abject honesty

29 Aug

On days when I lack inspiration, when writer’s block has taken over and the only issues left to write about are deeply personal, I find myself wondering how much of myself I’m willing to put on public display.  This is my little corner of the internets, yes, but, seeing as strangers, neighbors, friends, future inhabitants of Camp Bondsteel, and family members read this, how much am I willing to admit about myself, my opinions and my personal life? 

I hate to limit my topics, although, I admit, for several months I politely refrained from mentioning the events taking place in my personal life, the most dramatic of which was my divorce.   But it’s out in the open now.  I’ve publicly admitted that yes, at 23 I have in fact adopted a new identity: divorcée.  I’ve admitted that, regardless of how much I hate it, this whole divorce thing has become a part of my new identity.  It’s a different box to check now, I suppose.  It was “single” first, then “married” for a brief amount of time, and now, “divorced.” It’s a part of me now and to not talk about it seems false. 

Then there’s the flip side: to talk about it seems like too much honesty.  To admit that I’m angry, that I harbor hatred regarding the situation seems like I’m saying too much.  I fear coming off as the embittered ex-wife, mourning her failed relationship and bitching about her ex-husband.  That’s not who I am or what I feel.  I’m not mourning anything, nor am I upset about the failure of the relationship.  My anger is much more complicated than that – it goes beyond petty failure and takes root in the immaturity and disrespectfulness of others.  But, in writing, these things are hard to convey.  My sarcasm regarding the matter could too easily be misconstrued as hurt, hostility and bitterness and that, perhaps more than the risk of being labeled the ultimate taboo, is what I fear most.  I fear not being understood.  I fear being immediately pegged as a bitter ex-wife, or worse, written off as a bundled mass of big mistakes. 

Yes, it is a private ordeal.  Yes, it is personal.  Yes, it is a great big taboo.  But, it’s my life regardless.  It’s what happened.  This is my life, for better or worse, these are my decisions, this is how it has all played out, and these are my mistakes. I’ve always gained acceptance through writing, but still, I wonder how far is too far?  How much is too much? Is there really such a thing as too much honesty? 

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3 Responses to “My musings on abject honesty”

  1. Tom Awtry August 29, 2007 at 6:29 PM #

    Going back to my composition 101 class, I vaguely remember the professor saying “understand your audience when writing”, which throughout the years I tried to do; so when I started my personal blog, I adhered to this golden rule and set my objectivity on being myself and being honest

    I believe today you are having concerns today about being honest with your feelings perhaps, if that is so, who are you writing for, who’s your audience? Isn’t it yourself?

    Within my own blog I have written about the people who have affect my life and formed my personality, some for the good, some for the bad traits I possess. A first year law student would have a field day with some of the libelous comments I have made about acquaintances, perceived friendships and relationships that I have experienced throughout my existence.

    I guess, I desire people to understand me and my feelings, and that’s a difficult task to achieve without being direct and honest, so far the individuals whom I respect and have taken some time to read my blog do understand me better and I believe this is a correct assumption on my behalf because of the questions or comments I receive.

    In summation, author your true feelings, those who know you will accept them or offer constructive advice, those that “think” they know you, will criticize or patronize you, I believe it’s very important to know who their true friends are.

  2. instatick August 30, 2007 at 8:21 AM #

    I suppose Tom, in starting this blog, my audience was, in fact, myself. I too remember my English professors telling me to know my audience, and after thinking about it all yesterday, I realize that this is for me first and foremost.

    So perhaps the question I should have asked is not how much I’m willing to show of myself on the internet, and to strangers, but how much of my emotion, thoughts and opinion I’m willing to explore through my writing. Does that make sense?

  3. Tom Awtry August 30, 2007 at 4:02 PM #

    I’ll echo what I’ve mentioned before, about an individual’s blog being their own personal property, hence you should be able to write your true and honest feelings, about any topic you care to, as long as they do not violate any laws or oaths that you have agreed upon, concerning disclose proprietary information.

    Referring to “How much” information should you make privy on the Internet concerning your emotions, thoughts and opinions; I would have to say that I, myself, would make a full disclosure of “thoughts” and “opinions”. Emotions, for me, fall into a differently unique category, because script doesn’t provide a facial perception to emphasis your most inward feelings nor do words provide a vocal quality to accent your sentiments.

    Emotions on the Internet must be in video! Implementing video assures one that “words” you author will not be translated into meanings that were not intended, and perhaps used against you.

    The writing skills you process are excellent, and I enjoy reading your blog for this sole reason, but I have never read anyone’s written description of their emotions without second guessing or questioning what their exact meaning was, and how strong their feelings were about the emotion they were writing about.

    I suggest that you give recording a video some serious and careful consideration, and should you elect to accept this as a possibility, start by making your video “private” after uploading and provide a link requesting opinions from some of your trusted friends to see if they feel your video represents the “true you”.

    Please let me know your feelings, about videos, but to me this would make your blog more “personally you”.

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