Thursday, February 5, 2009
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