Well, I suppose you think that I’m so flattered to hear
That I’m a whispered conscience in your ear, yeah
And that’s exactly the reason that I never fit in here
Well nothing’s ever that black and white my dear…
-Kate Voegele, “Angel”
This blogging world can be amazing in its ability to connect people.
It can also be disheartening at how easily you can become misrepresented, misunderstood even by your own hand.
There will be people who will acknowledge that these platforms are but a small piece of you that you consciously choose to share while aware that you’re shaped by still so much more.
And there will be people who won’t.
Maybe that’s the downfall of it all – maybe people are too complex for one simple blog, in this world where we pick out tiny snippets of our lives and subtle pieces of our beings to share in a post and tweet…
These are only snapshots of us — where we’re one person in the moment, only pieces of a whole. Moments, but not the whole story, not the whole timeline, not all of us. How tiresome that would be, anyway, for those that choose to cultivate a relationship, to know that everything you are is already laid bare, descriptor by descriptor, label by label, with nothing left to be discovered.
(With nothing left to surprise you.)
Maybe it’s comfortable to believe someone is only one thing and leave it at that. Maybe that vague, “she’s sweet” dismisses any other flaws or strengths or attributes and, because of that, you’re able to dismiss the person, make her forgettable. But by doing so, by relying only on this one feature and filling in the rest with what you only imagine someone to be, without taking the time to really get to know them, it diminishes them, makes them less than the whole that they really are.
Maybe it’s enough for you to know who you are and to be comfortable in that knowledge. Maybe it’s enough to surround yourself with the friends and family who have been there, who have taken the time to uncover those layers – who know that you’re something special, something more.
When it comes down to it, I can’t blame anyone for not getting to know me, at least, not all of who I am. How can they, after all? Despite the walls I put up to protect myself, despite the snapshots that I choose to share here in this space, there’s still so much more that goes unspoken…
I’m not just my sense of humor – the way I can tease and be teased, the sarcasm bleeding through utterances that keep my family and coworkers laughing. It’s not just my fire – the blood that boils, the heat that stirs, and the fight that rises when I’m mad or offended or feel like an injustice had been done. I’m not just my flaws: my impatience and complete and utter stubbornness, my high expectations for myself and, yes, even, wrongly, those high expectations for others. I’m not just my strengths.
It’s not just my willingness to compromise and accommodate until it’s something I feel strongly for and then, it’s no holds-barred, and it’s not just my ability to stand up for myself because there’s no way in hell I’m letting someone walk all over me. And it’s not even really the stupid remarks and questions that come out of my mouth that make my friends tease me mercilessly, albeit good-naturedly, and my family look at me as if I’m adopted.
I’m not just my loneliness, my happiness. It’s not just my loss and grief and eventual acceptance. I’m not only my denouncement of and anger at God or my finding my way back to faith again. It’s not only who I love or how I love or why I love.
Do you see? I’m not just one of these things.
I’m all of these things.
And there’s so much more.
I’m so much more.
We’re so much more.
But how can you know? How can you know the smaller pieces, the details and little moments? How can you know how often I replace “fuck” with “shit” because, while life is ripe for the cursing, words have their meaning; how can you know how often they both slip through. How can you know that some of the best experiences of my life were based off intuition, that some of my favorite memories were based on a whim — the times we skipped class to play video games and try learning guitar; 2am Sheetz runs when we’re kind of drunk and craving nachos; promising to get up at 6am to write a paper that’s due at 8 just so I can hang out at the diner a little while longer.
How can you know that I miss that spontaneity, but the people in my life — married or getting married or with children of their own now – don’t have a place for it. And so I stifle that part of myself and give into responsibility and grow up a little more, embracing the times when life can offer its surprises again.
How can you know that I live life the way I choose to live it, that I live my life to the fullest on my terms, though I don’t divulge every detail, though it seems tame compared to those that sensationalize.
What I share is what I choose to share – not to uphold any “brand” or “good-girl image.” This is who I am at the core, yes, and I’ll be damned if I change that for anyone but myself, but it’s not all of who I am. I don’t have to talk about sex to have it. I don’t have to talk about drinking to enjoy a glass of wine or summer beers with friends. And I don’t have to claim anyone or anything to find value in my own life, in what I do, in the places I go.
Just because I’m not writing about it, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Life is happening.
And we happen with it, every moment of every day — all of these experiences playing their part, every piece shaping you into something more complex, something more detailed, more layered.
We are more than what we seem.
I bare my heart on Twitter and on my blog and even through emails. Compassion is how I connect with people; passion is how I connect to life, and these forums showcase some of the deepest parts of myself because this is my way of expression. This is a part of who I am, this is who I am as a writer, this is who I am in my deepest, secret heart of hearts, this is who I am at the core of my person. But this is not all of me, not by a longshot.
But how can you know?
You can’t. Now when I haven’t told you. And that’s where I’ve failed. Because in all this writing on my blog, in trying to understand myself, and by sharing those deeper parts in order to do so, I’ve failed to show you the light parts.
In trying so hard to understand and be understood, I’ve become misunderstood.
In trying to connect, I’ve become disconnected.
In trying to let go, I’ve lost it all.
That’s the danger in this blogging, tweeting world. Maybe as writers we showcase only one part of ourselves when we’re really more layered than that; maybe as readers we focus on only what we want to see.
Maybe, until you really choose and consciously make the effort to get to know someone…
you don’t know them at all.