In the immortal words of Shakespeare – “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man“. So if this blog is going to represent me – then it has to be a truthful representation – warts and all. And there are plenty of warts – there’s the slothiness, the temper, the procrastination, the mild shoe obsession, and the complete lack of filter on what comes out of my mouth…. or come to think of it, what goes into my mouth – so the itty-bitty chocolate overindulgence, and just un soupcon of wine affinity.
But, if there’s something I know about myself it’s that I am brutally, painfully, to-the-point-of-psychotically honest. If you ask me a question I will tell you what I truthfully think. Period. I have alienated friends and family, caused my parents endless anxiety, and endured criticisms for this trait. You never have to wonder what I’m thinking because it’s written on my face and besides – have I mentioned that I will tell you. Also, my life is an open book – and by extension, so is my husband’s and my kids – something they absolutely love about me – said no one in my family EVER! Once I tried to throw Dave a surprise party for his birthday and had to keep something from him for an entire week. My face broke out in so many zits I looked like an extra from the set of the Walking Dead – I have a physiological reaction to lying.
So I’ve found that most people who say that they prize honesty above all are ummmm… how should I put this mildly…. not being completely candid. They don’t really want to know your honest opinion, they want you to validate the opinion they’ve already arrived at about something. So, my unique combination of no verbal filtering, an inability to tell lies, and being a shrinking violet, wallflower – with all the diplomatic instincts of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan – has resulted in the following:
-I did ask a skin-clarity-challenged 19 year old boy, who was trying to hit on my sister, how come he was getting balder (I’d like to point out that I was 14 and he had snottily asked me why I was getting fatter – soooo he started it)
-I did address a friend’s reluctance to vaccinate (it jeopardizes herd immunity so you’re also putting my kids at risk, and also – if you choose to ignore the mountain of scientific evidence in favor of Jenny McCarthy’s opinion then I am speechless…and that never happens),
-I did tell someone what I considered her nationality to be (if in a time of war you have to fight for country A then you cannot claim to belong to country B just because that’s where your parents came from),
-and I did vociferously defend my political allegiance (no I don’t vote a certain way because I’m a godless, baby killing monster but because I’m a woman scientist who wants to make my own reproductive choices – and I know the difference between incubators and women)!!
I’m still friends with 2 of these 4 people – which ain’t half bad!
That’s not to say I don’t tell white lies – “no I would love to be on this committee that will be a collosal time suck and get little accomplished“, “why yes I’d love to volunteer as parent chaperone to a group of 7 year old boys at the zoo“, “of course whatever you sing sounds beautiful Maya especially the parts when you don’t remember the words and just make them up” – ok that last one was a little heartless, but remember my original point about honesty! Focus people!
I also like to gossip – the kind of gossip that involves discussing factual, non-slanderous accounts of amusing events in a group of friends over wine – mea culpa!! And isn’t that half the fun of parties? Discussing who did what, who said what, who passed out where, and where the bodies are buried at the end?! The funnier the story the better because, in the immortal words of Jane Austen, “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
However – I hasten to add – these are meant to be benign discussions with no malice intended. I may not be a person of any particular or preferred organized faith but I too have an ethical compass that is finely calibrated to true north – and scruples. The benefits of gossip for social bonding in groups of humans, have been studied and discussed in any number of scholarly articles, and been presented in a variety of mass media journals. So my electing to gossip just goes along with my choice to be human.
But if you, dear reader, are above such trifles then I will completely grant you moral superiority over me – unfortunately I am not as perfect, and I’m afraid the future prognosis about my perfection continues to remain bleak. All I can do is apologize for inadvertently hurt feelings to those in the fall out of my filterless oral ejaculations (get your mind out of the gutter people) – wake up tomorrow and try to be a better person than I was today. And hope to god that my kids will be way nicer than me. I have to say, this writing thing is quite cathartic and way cheaper than therapy!!