This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Full Disclosure

Lately I've had a couple of conversations about what should be public and what should be private, what we choose to disclose and what we choose not to disclose. Which is funny to write about here, in this forum, because here I used to feel so safe and private. But over time, my audience has expanded. For instance, I have a feeling my family checks in occasionally, though I'm not certain they do. However, I'm practically certain and the only reason I can't say so without a doubt is because no one in my family has actually disclosed this. Instead, they've mentioned googling my name, and if one googles my name they often find a certain web page. Both my brother and my father have found it, and they've said so. And get this: on that web page they've mentioned is displayed, quite prominently, a link that will take the viewer here.

What's interesting to me (though perhaps not to you) is that I could have that link removed, if I wanted to, yet I've decided to leave it. Also, I have never asked my relatives who've clearly seen this link whether or not they clicked through. I wonder if this is delicacy on my part, or if it is delicacy on their part, or if I am trying to be close and distant at the same time, or if I fear love is really that fragile, or if love really is that fragile, or if choosing not to disclose is part of what keeps us together.

I've always wanted to hide my innermost thoughts from my family for fear they would misinterpret and wind up hurt, or maybe I mean that I would write poorly and make it easy to misinterpret. To write poorly is to write irresponsibly, and maybe I'm overstating this now, but I think both physicians and writers (and everyone, really) should first do no harm.

So in light of that, I also have to consider how much of me my family really wants to know. I'm experienced enough to understand that complete self-disclosure is not necessarily a virtue. At the same time, I yearn to hide nothing and to be free at last.

And then what about this: while in writing I strive so hard to be honest, words can represent a truth without representing the truth (even while giving the appearance of doing so).

That's all for now.

10 Comments:

Blogger ahvarahn said...

I’m surprised you used to feel safe and private here in the public domain. I used to remind myself it was the modern equivalent of opening a second floor window and hollering at the street, only now it is actually much more than that. Initially, I was very conscious of protecting identities, and I still use initials as much as possible, but I don’t really care much about myself but more how I represent others. My feeling is that those who read, my family included, recognize me, the person they see, when they read the words. I guess I am saying that I expect they know me well enough not to be offended or surprised by what they see, but it is a terrible thing to be misunderstood.

I don’t censor comments either, not that I get many, but sometimes I wonder if that is a good idea, since my young niece reads everything. It is, I suppose, a blessing that the random folk who hit my page after a Google search for “interesting things to do with your navel,” do it quietly without comment.

But while I’m here, I’d like to extend my best wishes to your family readers. I’m sure like me, they must realize what a champagne gift you are.

Yours,
P, I mean, Paul.

be well

9:30 AM

 
Blogger josh williams said...

My immediate family knows about My Mule my brother reads it regularly my sister checks it out on occasion, my folks never really mention it, but they know about it and have visited.
Whats odd is friends of mine who have shown it to other friends and well I guess its not so private.I looked up my last google searches and here is what I found, there are a lot of disappointed people searching google when they click my link. Hey to ings family and hey to ing JW

Mar 7, :26:49 what did the infinite space theory say (GoogleSearch)
Mar 7, :15:19 how much does a mule cost today (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :20:36 character builds picture (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :44:31 clubs crew mule (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :21:02 narrow dog to indian river (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :05:34 roxi williams (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :43:26 ktm glasses (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :18:29 yungs boy gay (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :22:42 barium milkshake (GoogleSearch)
Mar 6, :39:06 "josh williams" lowell, in (GoogleSearch)
Mar 5, :58:18 willing suspension of disbelief in shakespeares julius... (GoogleSearch)
Mar 5, :47:32 "band of brothers" "brave the winter" (GoogleSearch)
Mar 5, :39:35 bark buster criticism (GoogleSearch)
Mar 5, :45:25 cinco de mayo silhouettes (GoogleSearch)

7:59 PM

 
Blogger ing said...

avarahn:

Well, I guess I mean I felt safe because it never occurred to me that anyone would come looking, let alone read my blog at all (to be frank). I do try to protect my friends, though, and if I don't see pictures of them on their own sites, I ask if it's okay for me to post their pics.

Yep, I worry about how I represent others, for sure. But sometimes these days I also worry about how I'm representing myself, since I think I can be kind of down on myself & wind up making myself look worse than I actually am.

But my family; I think they're fairly touchy, and I hate to think that I might hurt them without even meaning to. . .

No young ones in my life to worry about, so.

___________

Josh:

Yes, I have friends who show me to other friends, and it's funny when it comes up.

That's a fine list of references, though, worthy of a top resume for the ultimate job, I should think. I would hire you in a second.

Okay, time for a movie and some chocolate.

9:21 PM

 
Blogger sage said...

Just wait till you're home on for a holiday and they call a family meeting :) I don't talk about family (too much) and never about work...

5:43 PM

 
Blogger ing said...

sage:

I went home for the holidays this year, and though it was tough, I felt better in the long run and my family was extremely nice to me. I can't quite figure out why it hurts to see them. I guess I just want to be myself, warts and all, but the warts are so ugly. And yet, I am a beautiful person, I just know it. I wish that this part of me, the beautiful part, could be the part people would remember and see. I wish that I could give and receive only love and kindness in the world just by being me.

5:57 PM

 
Blogger atomicelroy said...

If those who share your DNA can't accept you as you are. Then that's their problem. Be your own perfect self.
the universe exists in balance, just ask a physicist or a taoist. all this shit is supposed to be happening right now just as it is, or it would throw the whole carnival ride ass over tea kettle.
You're on the right path, just keep walking!

11:22 AM

 
Blogger sage said...

Ing, I remember reading about your trip home for the holidays and I now somewhat regret my smart-ass comment about the called family meeting (I was implying that it was over your blog). Families are such mix bags--we love 'em and sometimes hate 'em. THey have the power to hurt because we expect so much from them--but maybe that expectation is more than anyone can deliver. Someone said that families are where we learn forgiveness and I think that may be true, or at least the ideal. Be gentle with yourself, you are special and I'm sure deep down your family knows it.

When I set off to hike the Appalachian Trail my mother was all over me about how I was not being responsible. When I finished she told me privately one day how proud she was of me even though she thought I looked like I had AIDS (this was in '87 and I weighted less than I did when I graduated from high school. Those few words meant a lot--to see the change in her and to find acceptance felt good.

6:40 PM

 
Blogger PFE Music said...

These blog pages are only and can only ever be a small window to the real you. Not saying what people find here wouldn't surprise, but even close members of a persons family only know part of the whole.
The ONLY person in your mind is yourself. 24 hours a day.

4:51 PM

 
Blogger ing said...

atomicelroy:

They do accept me, I'm pretty sure. . . it's just that life has been wierd, and some of that wierdness has put a strain on things. Long story. I'm still walking (well, crawling at the moment), still trying to turn it all around. Life owes me, big time!

______________

sage:

No worries, I didn't think your comment was smart-ass, and well said! I get the feeling that my own parents have been baffled by my choices, and come to think of it, I've often chosen adventure over steadiness. Which is funny, because within all that, I long for order and stability. I guess I want it all. I'm attracted to the offbeat and the chaotic, but I'm hoping to find a calm center within and without. I figure the two can go together, but so far I haven't found that to be true. Maybe I can't do without strife and conflict. Maybe it's the process of straightening and smoothing that I need, which is why I seek out rumply things. Maybe I'm constantly trying to prove that what's broken can be fixed and that we can overcome. I dunno.

______________

pfe:

Yes, I know. You would think that writing would help us discover who we are, but it only leads to further questioning & doubt. Which I must say, I prefer in a way. I guess I like to think I'm complicated, though I don't know if that's really true. It might just be egotism, this idea that I can't figure myself out. Because we all like to think that we're so very unique in the world.

I do know that I have trouble getting the me in my mind onto the page because the ideal me in my mind trips me up. And yet, the ideal me in my mind is me, too.

6:14 PM

 
Blogger PFE Music said...

It's not ego though, it's true, each of is unique. No one experiences life the way you do, so everyone has a worth which is equal to anyone elses, and they have a unique point of view which can never be wholey expressed to anyone else.

12:33 PM

 

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