I’ve blogged about this before (“Wait what, you blog?”) but thanks to the wonders of blogging technology, those posts are lost to the setting of “private.” Why is that? Oh only because I have this perennial issue where I’m
maybe just a littlewaaaaaaaaaaay too willing to be very open in terms of what I’ll say (in person or in writing). I’ve always thought my frankness is admirable (in a world where people are often such cowards about how they really feel) but it makes blogging about so many things highly problematic, not necessarily in the “overshare” way where you are affecting others (although I’m sure some of what I’m willing to say could definitely make others uncomfortable) but more in the “shoot myself in the foot” way, where some of what I say can, in hindsight, make me uncomfortable… and hence that’s why most of the entries on this blog (i.e. prior to 2011 because let’s face it, I don’t blog terribly often) are no longer publicly available.
Or, you know, if I were to ever blog about my job, I might, say, lose it. Or if I were to ever use my blog to vent about friends, I might, say, lose them. It’s taken me a strangely long time to realize the different impact saying something has (because speech unless recorded is very ephemeral) vs. the impact writing something has (because writing is by its very nature permanent, and when said writing is done on a network-connected device through a medium like blogging, or even email, its potential for being seen by others increases exponentially). But beyond even the “share-ability” factor (intentional or otherwise… and that’s also a whole other posting), there’s also the differential impact of hearing something (even first-hand) and having a copy of what someone has written, which somehow in some way I do not fully understand, although must acknowledge, makes what has been “said” seem to carry more weight. Maybe because in hearing speech, the speech resides in our memory, which we think of as unreal in a way that having a static record (hardcopy or even electronic) of something is not. Although if you think about it, if memory isn’t really “real,” then neither are we, because all we are are memories and the reactions that arise as a result. But be that as it philosophically may, the memory of having heard something said doesn’t seem to generally carry the same weight as having an email or blog post to go back to and re-read does. Over time, nearly all memory fades—or at least softens and blurs (thank all the gods). A static written record does not (okay, hardcopy print might but generally only imperceptibly over the course of one’s life, so not enough to dull anything).
All this is tied into my Audience Issues, by which I mean I’ve never found the “sweet spot” of writing content for an audience that lets me put to use my frankness in a way that only helps and doesn’t harm (me or my career or anyone I care about). Oh… well except maybe when I used to provide advice on coming out and being queer to people for whom that was all new. (Hey that’s even another posting, although that one might get dicey in terms of revealing too much.) But yes… if I make my postings generic enough that they are at least relatively inoffensive, I get pretty bored with what I’m writing about because I’m passionate about being passionate, and to me being passionate involves being open and honest and truthful, even to the extent that it’s painful or shocking. But if I let myself write passionately about what I care about, which is often people who are part of my life or situations I’ve found myself in, I am constantly skirting the line between “how much is too much?” vs. “this makes for a great story!” My style of communication, even though I am a good writer, is so much better suited to personal confessions and saying all the things most people are thinking but don’t have the guts to say… but there’s a reason people don’t generally have the guts to say the things I will often say, and that’s because saying them will get you flak. Sometimes really serious flak, the kind that will cost you professionally or personally. Often (if I do say so myself… and I do) it’s completely unwarranted flak because what’s been said is the pure unvarnished truth… but another thing it’s taken me probably way too long to learn is that 99.9% of people can’t handle the (pure unvarnished) truth.12 There are a handful of moments and scenarios in life in which one is allowed to be open and honest and blunt… but my disposition is to be that way far more often than those handful of moments present themselves. And therein lies the problem… and it’s never going away.