In All Honesty

A friend commented on one of my recent blog posts. She said, “I just love how honest you are in your blog.” I took that as a compliment, after all, that’s how she intended it. But her comment caused me pause.

See, when I write these posts, I don’t set out to be anything in particular. The words, “Be honest,” never cross my mind. But in a certain way I comprehend that when I write these entries, I’m trying to understand something that’s going on within me. And how can we understand ourselves if we’re not honest?

That said, I wonder if I’m as honest as I could be. I think I hold myself back sometimes. For example, there are admissions I maybe don’t make for fear you might judge me. There have been observations I’ve failed to voice for fear you won’t agree. There are words or phrases I start to write and then delete for fear they might offend.

And it’s not just me I worry about. There have been many times I’ve wanted to be deeply honest about what I’m experiencing but I stop myself because I’m afraid I might hurt or embarrass someone I love. My mother once told me very clearly, I was not allowed to write about her because her story belonged to her and it was private. “But Mom,” I said, “how am I supposed to write my story if I’m not free to mention one of the most important influencers in my life?”

It could also be that sometimes I think I’m being honest with myself (and with you), but I’m not totally. I’m putting down on paper what I hope is true, or one day will be true, but I’m not quite there yet.

When I was a kid, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be honest, and I beat myself up when I didn’t tell the truth. I think I was confusing truth with honesty. Telling the truth calls for factual accuracy. Did you break this vase or didn’t you? Honesty, I think, goes a little deeper. “Yes, but I tried to hide it because I was afraid you’d think I was bad.”

Honesty, I think, is about how the truth feels. Honesty requires trust. I’m certainly trying to be honest in this blog, because I trust that you, too, struggle with the same things I do.

So, today, what feels true is that I’m a work in progress, and my work is progressing. And while I’m traveling this life journey and making my art, I’ll try to be honest with myself and with you. We’re all in this together. Maybe it’s time we start trusting each other again.

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