An Uncapped Pen

October 30, 2008

Honesty – It’s a struggle

Filed under: About Me,Writing — cindylv @ 12:18 am
Tags: , , ,

Of  course I’m an honest person!  I mean I’ve always thought of myself as being an honest person. I will give back the extra dime if the cashier miscounts my change.  And every April 14th,  I agonize over my calculation of the value of the cast off clothing/household goods I donated to Good Will throughout the year.  How much is a used spatula worth anyway?   

Earlier this week I was listening to a motivational speaker who said something to the effect that if you’re not honest with yourself about the real reasons why you want to accomplish something, and why you’ve failed to accomplish something in the past, you’re cheating yourself.  

Hmmmmmmm….  Am I as honest as I think I am?

I keep a journal.  I scribble away several days a week (in a good week – since I’m being honest).  Sometimes I write about where I am, describing what I see or hear, the people around me.  Sometimes I write about how angry I got at that idiot woman who toodled along at 15 mph below the posted speed in the left lane as if it were her own private expressway. Occasionally, I dump my rage, sorrow, pettiness, selfishness, whininess, loneliness, wishes, hopes and dreams in the pages in between sketches of dialog or setting for a story I’m writing.  Sometimes I write grocery lists and DO NOT FORGET lists in the middle of a paragraph about how it felt to be strapped inside a machine that measured the irregularity of my heart rhythm while some sort of tracer chemical mingled with my blood.  I thought that my journal captured a reasonably accurate snapshot of a few minutes of life in my head.

I lied.

I realized I write with an eye over my shoulder, editing each thought before it has a chance to become fully-realized.  And not just in my journal.  I think with my internal eye constantly watching, criticizing, censoring.  I stop thoughts and change channels to avoid discomfort, to avoid facing reality, to avoid facing the truth about some things I’d rather not face.

I find myself making decisions and doing things based on what other people might think, and suffer along in a cloud of resentment because I couldn’t bring myself to be honest.  It’s an ingrained pattern of behavior that I choose because it’s familiar, not because it works for me.

The result of all this lying is that I’ve become disconnected and I never even knew it.  I don’t know what the truth is, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, what I want and what I need.  So this morning I sat with my journal open and wrote:  “What do you think?  What do you want?”

And I waited.

When a rush of superficial thoughts streamed in to fill the void, I refused to write them down because I wanted to find what was past that stuff.  The truth.  I thought I should have something BIG to think/want.  Then I realized that was censoring, too.  So I started to scribble the little thoughts (more coffee, world peace, another madeline) and when the little stuff petered out, I just sat quietly and anxiously and waited for IT.  At the end of my writing session I was still waiting.  I don’t have IT yet.  

But I’m asking the questions.

I don’t expect to solve the world’s problems, or hope to make a dent in the problem of Somalia.  All I am looking for is a way to keep my heart and my mind open and not squelch my truth before I even know what it might be.

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