Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Confessional



I've been thinking about how much I reveal, or don't reveal, in my journal here. I wonder whether I seem forthcoming; I talk about many things that the more cautious wouldn't dream of discussing in public. I can't help it--I love to talk, and I love to talk about myself. Partly as a way of understanding my motives, feelings, and dreams, and partly as a writing exercise.

But in truth, while my brief entries here can seem at times to be quite frank, whether or not I appear to be forthcoming, I'm actually a private person who reveals very little. If I come through at all in my true incarnation, then it's in the margins of what I write more than in the substance. This is not to say that what I say isn't truth, because every bit of it is. But it's what I don't say, and in the end there's a very great deal that I don't say, that makes up the substance of my existence, and I keep this substance closely guarded.

The process of editing is essential, not just in this public journal, but in my everyday life. Just as I don't blurt out every single one of my innermost secrets to my friends on a regular basis over coffee, so I wouldn't do it here (let's be honest, besides being unseemly, it would be deadly boring after awhile to the person across the table from me). And as I check my academic work for spelling and syntax, so too I check these entries for any security leaks of the psychological and personal variety.

When I was younger, much younger, in my extended adolescence, I think I really believed that unless I spoke myself out loud, I wouldn't exist. As a result, I liked to tell my stories--even the darker ones, the ones full of pain and real suffering--to too many people. I don't do that anymore, but sometimes I worry that my telling here will overstep my self-proscribed, and admittedly highly subjective, boundaries, and I'll have a horrid, detailed, cringy, vulnerable story that I forgot to edit out; one that I'll live to profoundly regret.

I've heard it said (and I think it's an old 12-step truism) that "you're only as sick as your secrets." Well, I don't buy it, not entirely. A person needs to have a private place to tuck things--even or especially the tragic, the painful, and the frightening--not everything is to be consumed by others, digested, and spit back, interpreted and weighed in on. Full confessionals may be for some, but they're not for me. I don't want to say everything...

Dangerous business, this public journal...

I think I'm already regretting this post...





*beautiful photo by Darwin Bell

31 comments:

Brandy Rose said...

I am not forthcoming, in life or on my blog. What I write in my blog is stuff that I find entertaining and never personal. I'm a good pretender when it comes to my emotions.

Don't regret sharing with us though. Just know we are here FOR you.

Gorgeous pic btw.

Jimmy Bastard said...

You couldn't be any more perfect Leah, and that's me revealing the only truth that matters. Sometimes a mere glimpse of someone is even more enticing than the full bhoona.

The photies of you, the horse, and the midget will remain between you, me, and the lads who drink in the Cleddans. No one else. ; )

Megan said...

I hear you. There are some things that will never go on the blog. Ever.

Queen Goob said...

Brandy Rose says it all. I, too, am a pretender when it comes to my emotions. I'm a happy, sunny person that finds humor in every aspect of life; I keep my darker emotions tightly bond and hidden only to emerge during my deepest, darkest monthly cycles. When they boil to the surface…..run. Run fast and run hard because that whole Irish Temper thing isn’t a myth. Trust me.

Queen Goob said...

oops, I forgot my "u".

hnter1018 said...

C'mon tell us it all. I do!!!!

Cinnamon said...

Interesting....you probably reveal more than you realise in the 'margins'. I think that is what makes blogs so interesting- that over time you can get a feel for the personality of this persom you have never met.

Blogging is by nature Confessional!

Cinnamon said...

please excuse spelling mistakes

kylie said...

hmmmm
i have long since realised that theres not much of my internal world that stays in. my face tells all and if that wasnt enough i give plenty away by my words, even when i dont intend it.
your training in psychology must be invaluable for guarding against leaks!

great post

Leah said...

Brandy Rose--I really don't think it's all bad to play it a bit--what do they say?--close to the sleeve, is that the expression? Well, you know what I mean. Thanks for the comment.

Leah said...

Jimmy, I was actually, for real, touched by your comment. You are a sweetheart.

And as for those photos, I really do thank you and the lads for respecting my privacy so thoughtfully!

e said...

Hi Leah,

Nice to meet you and thanks for visiting my Blog earlier. Blogging is such an interesting experience, both for Bloggers and readers, isn't it? None of us knows if what is being shared is true or complete, but as an experiment in social networking, it exposes us to perspectives, photos, places and people we might not otherwise meet...

If you want a letter for the word game, try U. Good luck with your doctoral studies.

Homo Escapeons said...

I actually leave a lot of the deeper/creepier stuff in my Solipsist Soliloquist file and just save them as drafts.

I get a little therapy writing them out but I don't want to be publically ridiculed or seem too vulnerable to my frenemies so these letters to my self just stay in the way too much information archive.

kylie said...

and why would you regret this post?

Leah said...

Megan, it's probably a good rule. I really stand by it, but sometimes I worry that I'll be seized by a fever of exhibitionism, or something, and blurt something out that I really really really wish I hadn't...

Leah said...

Queen Goob--God knows I've got a very dark, dark side too...my whole family does, although we do find humor in it; sometimes people are very put off by the things we think are funny!

And temper, well...I've got me some a that too...

Leah said...

Rob, trust me, you'd live to regret it...if only for the fact that the tedium would get you! lol

Leah said...

Cinnamon, yes, you're absolutely right--it's by nature confessional, whether or not you intend it to be. The very fact of putting a public journal out there, regardless of what's in it, is a statement of the person one is; after all, there are many many people who would be too private even to do that.

Leah said...

Kylie--I think the only regret I have is that I hate when I get overwrought like this (at least, I feel as if I was being a bit overwrought) in public. Just like I hate to cry in front of people, so do I hate to let it all hang out (although you'd never know that from some of my posts)...

Leah said...

hello e, and very very well put.

And thanks for the "u"--I shall attempt to make good use of it!

Leah said...

Donn! welcome to my odd little spot.

The "Solipsist Soliloquist" is absolutely sheer hilarious, and might I add useful, genius!

The Idle Devil said...

A blog is good to share experiences with the world...like a diary but one you know is going to be read by friends. I love to read your posts, Leah.

Effortlessly Average said...

yeah yeah yeah, so answer the question men always want to know: do you kiss on the first date?

Mr. Shife said...

There must be something in the blogosphere because I spilled a lot of personal stuff on my blog tonight. But it was nice to see someone else sharing tonight.

MJ said...

I love to talk about myself.

No!

You don't say!

Skeeter said...

Hi Leah,

I've considered this very topic a few times myself. Can't help spilling it all sometimes though, you know? It's just so cathartic.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Suzanne said...

Hummmmmmmmmmmmm. Interesting. I'm an extremely private person, but I share a lot with all of you. If I feel uncomfortable afterward, I delete so you won't remember!!! I really do love that button. I think those who make an effort know me pretty well and I'm not afraid of that. I guess because I don't look at you as "blogging" friends, I see you as friends and great people to talk to and share life's trials and tribulation.

It's funny how most bloggers differentiate between "friends" and "blogging friends." As if there's a huge difference. I don't see a difference. My blogging friends are true, dear friends and honestly I don't think a single one is misleading me or keeping much from me. I could meet any one of you tomorrow and sit on a Macy's sofa, chat, hold hands, hug, feel cosy, drink tea, coffee, have some wine, eat, etc. You are my friends. You trust and love me and visa versa. I don't worry about what you don't say because what you do say reveals so much. And that's what friendship is. It's trust. I honestly trust my blogging friends, so I don't worry too much. I delete only because I don't want my personal info out there forever!!!! And yes, I've actually thought about deleting my entire blog!!!

Leah, for the 10 things you don't discuss, the 1 you do brings us all closer. I consider you a dear, dear friend and so I don't worry too much about what you don't reveal. I cherish what you do. I love you very much and am so grateful you blog and take the time to be in my life. And honey, you know what, posts are posts and I love them, but it's on the comment page you find the true measure of a man or woman.

And one important thing I forgot to mention is the impact honesty has on others. Take Karen for instance. Her blog is brutally honest and amazing. I've never been in her situation, but learn something from her every single day and try to apply her lessons in my own life. I am grateful for that woman. And Megan. Megan is the most adorable little sweetie pie with huge life lessons. I listen. Bob, Mr. Shife, Queenie, Rob, you...the list is so damn long, everyone I know through blogging is kind and honest and I love what you all share to help me through my day. I can't imagine life without any of you and I honestly appreciate everything you write. So I guess my point is, don't worry about what you don't share, just know that what you do matters.

Love you.
Me

Walker said...

You share what you feel comfortable with sharing.
Even a little can give you alot as the writer.
A sense of freedom and the reader a bit of understanding of where you're coming from.

Old Knudsen said...

I don't know much about you except you are deep and like the humour.

Are you talking about who you are? or the things that you have done?

Shit there you get into the whole what defines me crap.

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

Dear Leah,

I kid you not, you are my inspiration in so many ways. I think that living life in a genuine/honest/open way is risky and a little terrifying a lot of the time. I want to live that way and do not do so much of the time.

Writing my post about my dad was terrifying. I have considered deleting it more times than I can count. I think that my goal is to be more honest -- even on my blog.

That photo is fantastic, by the way.

xo, ckg

Cece said...

It's always good to gaurd a few secrets. Noone wants or expects full disclosure. I think we all practice this. In some shape or form. Great post. Hope you are feeling better.