Things Left Unsaid

Chantal Joffe, Yellow Raincoat
courtesy of http://www.likeyou.com/en/node/15189

… What you don’t know

Is that I have always told you

The truth, covered up under

A yellow rain slicker….

- Stephanie Hemphill

And sometimes the rain pours so hard that the raincoat becomes slicked to my body – a second skin. The covered truth burrows inside, warm and cozy under my heart. It bangs against my ribs when it wants set free. But the tumbling of the rain drowns out its knocking.

What wouldn’t you blog about? What do you leave unsaid?

I’m a private person – which I know is somewhat of a dichotomous place to be as a “life blogger” (I much prefer that term to “mommy blogger”) and a family columnist. After all, I discuss my life and my family in all forms of media. And I have always told the truth.

But that doesn’t mean I tell all the truth, or that the layers of truth have not become firmly glued into a plywood of a story – planks for building public houses.

I have read other bloggers discuss their husband’s suicide, their own suicide attempts, their children’s special needs, their path to fertility, even just their insecurities. And I don’t think it’s wrong to write about those things. But I wouldn’t.

Sure I’ve touched upon my sons’ illnesses, my husband’s struggles. But those are not my stories to tell. I will not be the actor who upstages before the soliloquy has even started.

And so there are things left unsaid. Things that maybe would help you understand the things I have said. And there are things buried deep under the truth, like burrowed animals in the winter, waiting for the thaw when they’ll drag themselves out ravenous and hungry for the world.

What wouldn’t you blog about? It’s a strange question, because it asks you to answer a negative. I know bloggers – bloggers who always tell the truth – the often gory, sometimes funny, and always identifying truth. And I know some of the things they haven’t said on their blogs. There are truths we all keep close.

Because what is a blog? It’s just another face we present to the world.

And what is the truth? It’s a many layered experience. It’s personal and it’s private. And it’s subjective.

So while I believe there are bloggers who blog with integrity, I don’t think there’s a single person who can claim to blog “the truth.” And while many bloggers will write their personal and private stories, I don’t believe those are the full truth either.

What wouldn’t you blog about?


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  2. Certain people (one in particular) during my early 20's or something I wouldn't say to some one in person.
    There are things I don't write because I haven't found the right words or I haven't worked up the nerve. That's probably why my posts are spaced so far apart.

  3. Truth is a subjective thing anyway. Two people can share an experience but see it and feel it and remember it very differently. Are they lying if their anecdotes differ? Nobody can blog everything. I think it would be unhealthy to do so. I'm well aware that for me there are subjects and confidences that are off limits. There are things I don't want to talk about or don't feel able to. I don't feel I have to. There should be no rules about what we ought or want to blog about.

  4. I treat my blog in much the same way as I do my friends, in that I tell or say what I would to most of my friends. Obviously some stuff you only tell a chosen few confidants, and those people can be different depending on what you need to speak about.

    Obviously the masses can see a blog and I would never bare my soul to masses in real life.

    I also never write about other people's experiences, they just aren't my story to tell.

    I do however, have a locked down blog, which when things get me down and I need to vent some steam I can go to.

  5. I think you touch on the heart of the matter when you say that some stories belong to other people. And some stories are shared and their telling could have an unknown effect on those involved - which I why I have written very little about the break up of my marriage. I do write about my children: my 18 year old doesn't mind at all, and aspie boy said that he is happy for me to write about him if it helps others: though since he is only 10, I do hold back. Perhaps some might criticise me for revealing everything about my severely handicapped daughter? She can't give her permission, but I see blogging as a way of celebrating her life and raising awareness. I hope it works.

  6. There's something deeply personal and controversial about me that I would never speak out loud, let alone blog about. 5 years ago, I was young and pregnant. I had an abortion and it's something i think about now and then. Not with regret, but with shame. Things like Planned Parenthood, women's health, being pro-choice and other talk about how bad these things are offend me and hurt me. I did it because it was the wrong time, I was so ashamed and embarrassed and it will be a secret I take to my grave.
    Now my cousin is pregnant, and is at the time I had it done. I can't bear to think about the size, or what it already had when i had it done. I am terrified when I finally choose to have a family how I am going to feel about that time. That size. I worry it's just brewing in me, the shame and fear, like a tumor, until I have some sort of severe psychological break. Or am I going to want to be a mother so badly that I'm going to be a good, non-nervous first mother, to prove to myself how much I can do it?
    I don't know. Even talking about it here is going to bring such harsh judgement. But I can't not talk about it.
    I just want to feel such shame around babies or pregnant woman, or to act a certain way so I don't give myself away that I once was pregnant.
    anyway, that's the one thing I will never speak of, other than here, as an anonymous speaker.

  7. I do blog a lot about my son's disorder. It's so rare, I felt that the need for awareness trumped privacy. As Klaw gets older, I will give him more control over what I publish when it directly concerns him. I wouldn't blog about problems with Chris unless he gave me the okay.

    The biggest thing I don't blog about is my dad.

    I am working on some posts about my own struggles with mental illness (major depressive disorder), which does relate to my dad. I purposely use the term "mental illness" because I want to combat the stigma attached to it. If I own the word, it can't hurt me...but I digress.

  8. Dara, what a great post. I think of myself as a blogger that tells the truth but of course, I don't blog about everything. Some things would be just be boring as fuck and others are too personal or not my story to tell.

    I think there's a difference between telling everything and telling the truth though. To me, telling the truth means not sugar coating things, not making things out to be different than they are - if I tell a story it's what really happened, not touched up to make myself look better or sweetened up to avoid upsetting someone. If can't tell the whole truth I prefer not to tell the story at all.

  9. I blog about everything. The things I haven't blogged about yet, I probably will in the future. I don't blog about other people. Much. Only touch on facts of their lives as they affect me. My blog is my space. My space to write about my feelings and experiences. I choose to share that with the world, because I have nothing to hide. I choose to believe that if someone wanted to use what I write against me then they would do it regardless of what I wrote.

    I don't think I exaggerate anything, but I understand that I write from my perspective. It is my perception of the world, no-one else's.

  10. As you know Dara I struggle with this. There are many things that are simply too raw in my own story to blog. I think we all blog 'our truth' which is not the same as 'the truth'. My truth - what happened as I experienced it - could be very different from how another sees it. It's a question I've spent a long time mulling over as I try to write down my memoir. My biggest issue though is the question: where is the line between telling the truth and self-indulgently seeking absolution?

  11. Dara, your writing in this post is just amazing. I could read it over and over again. And the questions it asks are close to my heart also. I try to protect other people's feelings when I air my version of truth on my blog. But sometimes you don't even know what is going to offend someone. My mom got offended about personal details I shared about my relationship with my husband and about some details I wrote about my grandma's life. Truth is subjective. My truth is not the same as yours. But they are both a version on the prism of reality. I think this is the essential struggle of a writer. Being honest enough to write about things that matter and impact people's hearts, but at the same time not exposing so much that other people are injured by your words. It's a tricky balance. I love that you brought this up for conversation, Dara. Fabulous fabulous post! xoxoxo

  12. I totally agree with your post. The thing I won't blog about is my in laws and the distance they first put between us.ainly because it could be stumbled on and as we are trying to build bridges I don't think it's fair or right but a few months ago had I been blogging I would have told everything!!

  13. So many things I don't blog. I keep very close at all times the fact that everything on the Internet is forever. I don't talk about marital strife or my in-laws. But even more than protecting relationships, I filter what I'm sharing. If I write a ranting post I leave out all the day's joy. If I write about a wonderful moment with my children I leave out the dozens of times I rolled my eyes at them. Blogging is editing...winnowing out what you want to share. So every blogger leaves out volumes. The taboo, the verboten, and the mundane. And the bits that don't help make our point. Don't you think?

  14. Really struggling with this issue as I try and find things to blog about which don't break my "will not blog about rules". I try not to blog about anyone else's life except mine and sometimes my kids and husband. I always ask my husband before i write about him. It is not my place to share the stories of others, unless they are cool with it. Makes it tricky.


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