I went back and forth on whether to share my new blog with friends and family.
I used to have another blog. It was very private and NSFW, or friends, or members of the clergy. It was a little haven of personal reflection and confession. It can be a relief to whisper your secrets into a dark hole of the internet – no judgement, no self-editing, no apologies, tap-tapping over the keyboard with the trolls and the melo-dramatists for company. Although, as in Greek mythology, you may not be protected from the echoes of such disclosures.
But it comes down to this – if I am not being honest with the people in my life, I am not being honest at all. It’s easy to spill your guts to a stranger, or a therapist. We can all regale a cast of extras on a park bench, Forrest Gump style, with the edited highlights of our lives. Because it’s safe; there is no one to call ‘bullshit’. We can be funnier or blameless or taller in our tales. Truth can be damned. My friend, the Wizard, advises that only honesty is interesting. It’s a fair point. If I’m going to make it up, wouldn’t you rather hear it from Ryan Gosling with his top off (or Meghan Markle, or whoever you want to tell you bedtime stories)? I can’t offer such enticements, but perhaps I can offer honesty.
Facebook is full of smiles and holidays and beautiful children and anniversary wishes and happy memories. You don’t see many posts about hemorrhoids or marital spats or mental health problems. It’s an intimidating place to display the less-than-perfect version of your life. But maybe, just maybe, a little truth can shine in a weary world of alternative facts.
In the spirit of being more honest and less afraid, I did share my blog and the response has been as lovely as I already know my friends to be. Perhaps I should trust people more often with the truth.
I have wonderful friends – I know that. It is one of the fixed points I use to convince myself that I’m not a terrible person. People who know you and choose your company are one of the greatest gifts we are given (children don’t count – they are the gift we give ourselves). I have also crossed paths in my life with many great and fascinating people, many of whom I wish I had stayed in contact with, some of whom I wish I had valued more at the time. As an adult, losing touch with friends and not making enough time for friends are the things I regret the most. I make excuses about being busy or moving around, I play the single parent card liberally, but the truth is I have always been too passive. I am rarely the one who suggests meeting up or starts the discussion or sends the friend request, because I have this irrational fear of rejection.
Today I decided to send friend requests to some people from school and uni with whom I have not connected before. For all the bad about Facebook, it does create a place where we can see all the strings of the universe which connect us. I am heartened by the conversations I have enjoyed today as the result of my 20% bump in Friends, and even more so by how many of my new/old friends are actively speaking out against Trump and discrimination.
I also discovered there is a school reunion next month. Honestly – I’d be terrified. But perhaps I will be reminded how much we are all connected, even now, more than 20 years later.
I won’t go.
OK – I might go.
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice (and Gene Wilder, of course)