Barbara: It was always hard for me to stake a claim on an opinion. I worried first that my opinion was wrong, followed quickly by my worry that I would offend someone, followed slowly by the worry that I would change my mind. This lineup of worries would march in like a firing squad when my opinion was asked, then they (my worries) would ready, aim, wait. I’d give my silent acknowledgment—message received—and no opinion would be proffered.
And while I believe that empathetic openness has its very important place in life, I have come to see—especially over these years here at the blog—that there’s a kind of rush when you stand tall and say: I believe this. (My first disclaimer to this opinion: the internet has also proven a vile and hateful sounding board for opinions, which are spewed without a care for others’ feelings and often without any real consideration. That’s my opinion.)
Okay, let’s try again—I will stand tall and say: I believe this about myself. If you don’t trust me that I’ve learned to do this, well, there are 569 posts here that would beg to differ. Maybe you don’t believe that I ever found it difficult to express opinions. And maybe you’d also be right—of course, I thought this or that, made this point or that one, but I would only really present (or debate or fight for) these positions with those absolutely closest to me. I trusted them with my (possibly conflicting, possibly difficult-to-hear, possibly stupid) opinions.
Over the years of blogging, I’ve learned to let go of the first and most bloodthirsty worry about truth-telling: that I might be wrong. It’s funny, being wrong in someone else’s opinion turned out to be not such a big deal. I thought it would slaaaaaay me. But no. Turned out to be shrug-inducing. Welcome to the world, we don’t all agree. And your differing opinion doesn’t impinge on mine, and, well, often teaches me a lot about the different ways of the world. So putting my opinion out there actually turns a “confessional” moment into a learning moment.
But here’s the most difficult issue with saying “I believe this about myself”: tomorrow, I might not. And there’s the rub. If I say something today and put it into print, or even into someone’s ear, then that’s how you view me. And what if tomorrow I learn something new that shifts that tender truth into something else?
I read this article the other day about how our personal truths are always changing as we age and mature. They featured a woman who in her 20s was adventurous and outgoing, who was a daredevil and a party-girl, up for anything, a taker-of-chances. But now in her 30s, she’s settled down and is quiet and hardworking, prefers small groups and intimate experiences. She hadn’t changed to fit into a mold, she had changed because, well, she had changed. But she certainly felt herself now as much as she had felt herself back then.
So here’s the thing, regardless of the permanence of internet writings, regardless of the elephant-like memories of the people I share with, I say that the truth I tell you today, may not be the truth I believe tomorrow. But by speaking my truth on any given day, I am racking into focus more and more, ultimately for myself, and possibly even for you.
Deb: Oh my goodness, I love this because I have lived this ... constantly. I have a dear darling friend who says to me often, “But you said you would...” pertaining to any number of things. And she is 100% right. I have and I did. Change my mind, I mean. My only defense. My only lovely defense is that I have changed, my truth has changed, my life has changed. I am proud to say that over the years I have yielded to the wind and gone with the flow. Or should it be that I have gone with the wind? At any rate, my basic principals are in tact regards equal rights for every living creature and peace baby peace. The rest ... is up for grabs. Catch you on the flip side.