Saturday, November 18, 2006

Secrets and Unspoken Expectations.. (warning.. swearing)

I was going to drop this subject completely and never raise the issue again but I need to talk about it. Since it is on my mind after all this time, it means something is lingering that is making things not feel right. Part of the way I stay healthy and sober is to remain fairly clean about my feelings. I don't go to bed angry.. that sort of thing.

Last night, I nearly shut this blog down. I wasn't really sure why, just knew something didn't feel right, and decided to sit on it for a while. I've learned that being impulsive usually renders bad results. The reason for the impulse didn't hit me until I awakened in the middle of the night with it right on the tip of my consciousness. I got up, went in the back yard for a smoke and it became crystal clear.

I don't want to have to keep secrets for acceptance. I don't want to have to pretend.That's not okay with me. Ever.

The idea of it makes me really angry. The fact that the outcome matters at all pisses me off even more but it seems it does. This tells me that it's really old stuff coming up for healing. When something sticks in my head for a long time like that, gnawing at me, that is usually why. It wants healing. Typically, the only way to heal it is to bring it to the table. So here I am, at the table with my little list.

I lived with secrets all my life.

Don't tell anyone how you *really* feel because if you do, people won't like you anymore and you'll be alone. And they won't tell you why either. The tenor of your interactions will just kind of... shift. The phone calls stop. The email stops. The invitations stop. The visits become further and further apart. Don't let anyone know your imperfections. Hide them!

Well, enough of that! I'm old. I'm tired. And I don't have time for high school bullshit.

So let me say it outright. Those who had a problem with my post last Tuesday and disappeared, I'm sorry I failed you. (That's sarcasm, in case you don't get it.) I failed to be the cute little Buddhist girl in hemp skirts and Thai ankle bracelets. What I discussed was real. Very real. Real life. Messy, shitty, pukey, baby shit green soup spewing out of a spinning head life. It happens. That's how I got to be the cute little Buddhist girl in hemp skirts and Thai ankle bracelets. I worked like f***ing hell for it!

I have taken Patricia's advice and gotten rid of the stats. In the largest sense, she is absolutely correct. This shouldn't be about numbers. But I can't ignore how this appears. I'm a reasonably intelligent and intuitive person. It pisses me off, not just because it was me involved, but because it involves all of us. It means that women still have to be silent and careful and guarded and perfect. We're still disposable because we're not always pristine, shiny and smiling. Yecht! Eee-yecht!

I know it is said that the ideal is to write this for myself. That's what all the blog advice books say. Sorry but that doesn't work for me. I do this for interaction with others. I do it to participate in a form of community, however new it is. I'm hoping this truly can be an "electronic neighborhood", as Alan Berg called it. That is how we learn. That's how we grow. That's how I offer what little wisdom I have gained from 55 years of a rather extraordinarily unusual life to others. That is what makes it all worthwhile. That is what these kinds of discussion panels are for, in my opinion. If it was just for me, I could talk to myself and spare my arthritic hands the pain of typing. I don't need to mas/*tur*bate in public.

So.. I want to make it clear that sometimes I am going to discuss real things here. Sometimes it won't be pretty. Sometimes I might swear. Sometimes I might get angry. Sometimes I might be sad and say something about it. Sometimes I might whine. Sometimes I might talk about past experiences that got me where I am now. And other times, I'll be cute and quirky and talk about how much I love Thailand. All of those things are a part of who I am.

I hope we can all share what's on our minds, share our wisdom, our growth, strengths and weaknesses in this virtual community. I hope we can joke, talk about silly things and have fun. The Internet is an incredible resource. May we use it for more than just another high school level social networking outlet with in-crowds and out-crowds and unreal standards of perfection that no human being can meet.

And to those who haven't bailed ~ you all know who you are ~ thank you very much! You have no idea how much I appreciate you. I am a total stranger, just a bunch of pixels on a screen, but you were still supportive and kind, both with comments and email. This past three or four days have been a little hard on me. I may or may not discuss why in the future. I'm not ready at this point. I allowed myself to become a bit too vulnerable too quickly with that post Tuesday. My fault and I own it... it was a miscalculation on my part... but I'm not going to make the same mistake again by blathering about things before I'm ready. Still, the women who have supported me most here (you know who you are), I am very grateful to you. I only hope the honor will be mine one day to do the same for you. Know that you have a fan out here in cyberspace.

Okay. I feel reasonably clean about this now. It's all out on the table, the good and the bad. Maybe I look like a socially naive idiot. Well, I am. That's how it goes. I'm done with this now and will not bring it up again except in the broader context of social dynamics. Thanks for reading.

Peace... and out!



Anonymous said...

Chani, readers come and go. I've noticed that when looking at other's archives & comments. Maybe it's not always as dramatic or apparent why, but people move around. I'm sorry if you lost some readers, but keep it up, and new ones will come.

Even when you try to be "perfect" these things happen, so, as you stated, why put all that effort into attempting to be someone else anyway?

I've discovered through blog reading and commenting that I have a seemingly naive view of the world. It's a conscious choice, because otherwise I would suffer way too much.

Anonymous said...

Funny, because one of the things I most appreciate about the people I seek out in blogs, is their capacity for authenticity. It' s an honour for me to read your words. I aspire to such a level of individuation.

Stephen Newton said...

Chani, I don't know who left and who stayed, but at least you found out who cares. I come here to hear your truth because I am you and you are me and we're all connected. What you discover helps me. My own blog seldom gets into my personal stuff in the way that you do, but I still reveal who I am because journaling, whether eletronic or otherwise is a dialogue with ourselves first and foremost. I love the blogging medium, and the wayfarers that stop by, say a word or two and then move on. Keep it up and let me know when you resettle in Tucson. I've got a client out there and may be in town in December or the first of next year. We could have lunch at one of my favorite places, Cafe Poca Cosa.

Girlplustwo said...

i think it's hard for some folks to deal with such honesty - and that is nowhere even close to being a reflection about you - but much more so about other - you know as well as i do how folks shy away from pain and suffering because pain and suffering touches everyone so close to the bone, places where pop culture and superficiality doesn't - and that is threatening to many (I mean, chani, look at our culture - it's about the next best fix, ALL the time) while I can completely understand how it makes us as writers feel, i think it stems from a larger social context...(and all this before coffee, chan, so bear with me...)

the blogs i choose to read every single day, yours, lucia's, kc's, bar kicks, crazymums, meno's, so many more...we don't shy away from what is real, and that is EXACTLY why I come over to your place to visit.

I applaud your choice to be brave. I applaud your willingness to put yourself out there. And i applaud you taking a stand (removing stats for now)

Z said...

Chani, I haven't had a chance to read blogs much this last week and am just catching up. I am sorry it's been a hard time and I hope I'm not one of the ones you thought had stopped reading.

I managed to start to let go of the habit of being secretive and found that, by being open and acknowledging my shortcomings and my mistakes, people liked me more, not less. I now have the confidence and, I hope, also the humility, to show myself.

Dear Chani, I am glad you have freed yourself from looking at site stats, as they were worrying you. I hope you have a happy weekend and that you love and care for yourself as your friends love and care for you.


meno said...

I think that removing the stats is a great idea.
I have a hard time imagining why anyone would have been unhappy with your post.
Did anyone actually say anything negative to you? Because if they did then they suck. (swearing, oh no!)
But the ebb and flow of readers and the time to read comes and goes.
I read blogs about real people. You are real. Don't hide your real self. Please.

Hugs from a cyber-friend-stranger.

Pam said...

People do, as jen said, shy away from pain. Emotional and physical. It's wrong, but maybe after they think about how they would feel they will rethink and come back. If not, their loss.

Post away!

QT said...

Chani - I don't know what I can add, everyone else has said it so well. But you are right, the instinct to hide is strong and it is easy to do. You have to be STRONGER than that to expose yourself for the world, and that is what you are. Posts like the one you mention are the posts that show us the real you, that help us to understand where you are coming from. That's why I come, anyway - I like to read about other people's lives -the good, the bad and the ugly -because that IS life. Screw the stats - quality, not quantity, Chani!

deezee said...

Okay, I'm new here, yet have read the post you reference. I found it real and honest and filled with the kind of communcation at the heart of the best writing. Nothing in it would even tempt me to run, so if people really did, I suspect they're not the kind of readers you really want.

In other words, you haven't lost anything. It may feel like that in this moment, but as you dig even deeper into your honesty and truth, fresh souls will turn up here. That's my prediction.

I admire authenticity most of all in the blogs I frequent. We may want readers, but writing simply to keep our readers hurts us in the long run. Oh, how I know the temptation.

Please keep writing. You don't know what lurks around the corner.

LittlePea said...

I was in awe and envy of your honesty and ability to be vulnerable. That takes so much courage-and sometimes puts people off-that's why it's courageous to be honest and open. I'm going through a difficult experience myself that has changed me in ways I am just beginning to understand and learn to be at peace about and actually to be thankful for--hello!it's Thanksgiving week and strangely, at 30 years old, this is my first REAL Thanksgiving. And I can say that reading your post the other day was one of the things that helped me come to that realization. I still don't have the guts enough to get as "real" as I would like to so I'm always in awe when someone else does, it gives me a little boost to try to do the same. Don't worry about your 'visitors' that left you behind. One thing I've learned in my own current hardship is some people who I thought would always ALWAYS come through for me-haven't even halfway shown up(and that's ok), and a few who I thought wouldn't/couldn't be there for me at all flew half way around the world just to sit beside me for a minute and hold my hand which was exactly what I needed. Be proud of yourself, I've never seen you in my life/just started reading your blog a couple weeks ago-and I am.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club, dear Chani. As with any community the time comes when our feelings get hurt, we say/write things before we're ready to receive the responses/lack of responses from readers, we find ourselves stewing and fretting, not able to sleep and don't know why...and then a lightbulb goes on inside our head and we DO know why.

Your honeymoon was lots shorter than mine, but we all come to it sooner or later. Virtual or "real" we care what our friends/readers/comunity thinks about us. We just do. That's human.

Before you knew the benefits of blogging, and now you know its potential costs. And what you wrote today shows that you're ready to keep on blogging no matter what. I salute your courage, for that's what it takes to put yourself "out there" for all the world to see. Blogging is not for whimps!

Let's see where Thai Gal goes from here. I--and lots of others like me--are sticking around because we care about you and find your journey a fascinating one to follow.

with much love & healing energy

Joel said...

Restraint of pen and tongue is always trumped by being REAL, as long as it is not at someone else's expense.Kudos for the balls to tell it like it is..Gal..."to thine own self be true"

KC said...

I agree with so many of the comments--I especially love what Jen and deezee said.

I feel that there are many kinds of blogs out there. Some are clearly catered to a specific audience and will stay in the appropriate boundaries to keep that audience. (and this is fine). And others that are real, raw, perhaps pushing readers to feel, to think in new ways, to question, to inspire.

Thank you for being in that latter group.

Girlplustwo said...

i love it when you and lucia swear. makes me giggle.

thailandchani said...

Jen, the swearing is kind of funny actually. Ordinarily, I have to be really angry to swear. My language is usually peppered with "kid words" like rats and poo. LOL

Daufiero, I hear you and I do expect ebb and flow. It was the exodus that ticked me off. I am really good with loss.. but not unexplained loss. I'm one of those who would rather hear "you suck" than nothing at all.

Caro.. individuation?

Stephen, thanks. I agree. We are all one. That is why I get so miffed when we mistreat each other, even if it's just by being impolite. Actually, I won't be going to Tucson.. but I'll be in Payson (up in the forest). If you are ever coming that way, let me know. :)

Jen, I agree with all you said. The larger social context made me angrier than the individual one. Knowing that kind of thing takes place on a larger scale, truly harming large groups of people, is far more disturbing.

Z, yes.. the stats had to go. It feeds into parts of me that are not good, things I need to seriously work on. At least I'm aware of it now.

Meno.. thanks. :) No one said anything to be directly. It was the unspoken that bothered me. You know, when people do that, they are denying someone to even *choose* what to do. It's the snap judgement that's so harmful.

Pam, you raise an interesting point along with Jen about people shying away from pain. That's a blog entry in itself. :)

QT, I survived the majority of my life hiding. The other half was spent bending and shaping myself to get the approval of others. You know what? It was pretty doggone desolate! That is why I would have a very, very hard time ever going back to that. Yet the devil/angel fights over it.. because, naturally, I want acceptance just like everyone else. It's a conflict... one I need to reconcile.

Deezee, of course you are right. I never compromised my writing when I was a newspaper columnist. The column was supposed to be controversial. I won't be doing it here, either.

Littlemisspea, I'm not surprised about the Thanksgiving. My first real Thanksgiving (including an invitation) was in 1977 with AA friends.) I'm 55 now... you do the math. :) I went without for many, many years, too.

Lucia, that usually happens when my capacity for nonsense has been reached. It just pours out. LOL

Patricia, you are right.. and I have the social development of a 5-year-old anyway. I just spent too many years isolated so I am learning as I go. LOL

Joel, thanks. I know it's important to stay real. Right now, I'm balancing the "being real v. having acceptance" scale, trying to make it work both ways.

KC, I like what they said.. and I like what you said. You are all, of course, entirely correct.

All, I spent most of the day away from the computer today, took a very long walk and an equally long nap. I do feel much better, much more grounded and balanced. That is in no small part due to everything you all have said as well. Thank you. Simply. Thank you.



Andrea Frazer said...

I have no idea what you're talking about, but I sure as hell am going to race over to Tuesdays post. Hang in there, sweetie.