This is is not a new question for me. On the one hand, this blog is about my life and what I’m learning from it. On the other hand, sometimes the people I interact with leave a very bad impression, or hurt me, or anger me, or do something equally unpopular, and to write about my feelings about it is hard to do without calling someone out….often, in an embarrassing way. Clearly, Chef got the worst of it. The sinking of my marriage in such a Titanic-like manner is why I set this thing up in the first place.
But other people have been a bit perturbed about things I’ve written as well along the way. It has bothered me every single time I’ve pulled one down, and a while back, I decided, I’m just not doing it anymore. There is a certain unspoken assumption among bloggers that if you remove a post it is because you, the writer, have posted something wrong, untrue, or simply embarrassing for yourself. In my case, other than the drunk posts, (which I re-posted), that is rarely the case at all. I’m fine with putting out all my embarrassing mess-ups out there for the world to see, but some of the ones about Chef were too much, and I did pull them down. Emotion can make me a little harsh, and I was wrong to leave him so exposed. I still feel more than a little protective of him, and only God knows why. The others that came down, though, were pulled because I was being pressured to do so. The reason?
Image vs. Authenticity
Most people I know these days care more about what other people’s idea of who they are more than who they really are when no one is looking. Image has replaced authenticity, and very few people seem to see just how hard it is to maintain that kind of house-of-cards life. In my opinion, it is the much harder kind of life to live. There are some people in this world who can see through the smoke and mirrors to the core of who you are and what kind of person you are, no matter how well you camouflage your soul. Then, there is always the chance someone might catch you in a lie when you aren’t paying attention to what you’re talking about, or see you doing something when you think no one is looking. And of course, the main reason people’s images get blown – someone always talks. Accusations don’t even have to be true, but if there is no subsistence to the reality of your life, your reputation will plummet like a falling star. Image driven lives eventually crumble — Just ask Bill Cosby, Charlie Sheen, Hugh Grant, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, or the myriads of other well-known celebrities who depended more on their public relations reps than they did on maintaining an authentic, genuine persona.
I think if we each live our lives thinking someone might write about us in their blog, we would be more careful about the things that we say to each other, or do to each other. We should each strive to live a genuine life. This kind of life means we must become self-aware, humble in the knowledge that we are just as riddled with irritating, embarrassing flaws as the worst human being we know. We should understand there must be a balance between recognizing the areas in ourselves that we need to work on but also being able to acknowledge we are improving as an overall human being. An authentic life is easy for other people to pick on, point at, and ridicule; but it is also one that doesn’t answer to those people, can easily recognize their lack of depth, must improve as time goes on, and tends to be sitting in front row seats when those same houses-of-card lives come crashing down, as they always eventually do.
Be real. It’s easier.