I sometimes tell stories from my personal life on my blog. I am fairly open about who I am and what happens…

Or am I?

Which stories do I choose to tell?

Which stories do I choose not to tell?

I am always amazed when someone shares something really personal, whether it be on a blog or in a book or on a talk show. I always think about how much courage they have, being able to bare their soul for all the world to see. To know that people may judge, may ridicule, yet they still hold their head up high and move on. They lived to tell the tale…

I admire their confidence. I admire their spirit. And then I wonder what else lies beneath the surface. I wonder about all the other things that they might not talk about…

How many of us choose to discuss their personal hell? Or the times when maybe we weren’t moral or legal or ethical?

Do we only tell those stories when we get caught? Or are about to be vetted for something? Or maybe when a big divorce is on the horizon?

In the narrative of our lives, which has greater weight- what we say out loud or what we bury deep inside?

Which are the stories that keep us up at night?

Which are the stories that actually make us who we are?

We may research a person, we may talk to everyone they know, read every email, every day planner, but do we ever actually know what makes someone tick? Do we really ever know what motivates them?

Sure, anyone who has taken Psych 101 might have some “textbook” answers, but are these based on the things that we say out loud? Does analysis know who we really are?

What’s more important to understanding: the things we say, or the things that we think?

Do you have something that you lock deep inside? Or are you an open book?

77 thoughts on “What You See is What You Get

      1. Some of them would be. Some not, Thre are childhood things that shaped the person I am that I don’t write about because my siblings read this and would not appreciate some of what would say

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Completely understand why you don’t. I’ve just been thinking about how we make judgements about people based on what we see, not who they really are

        Liked by 1 person

  1. In my case, my family prefers that I do not write about them in my blog. I am limited to myself only. That narrows things drastically for subject matter!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Personally, I like sharing and feel like most people are supportive and understanding and not too judgmental. There are some things I just won’t share though—things that are too personal. Excellent discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think anyone tells everything. There are things in everyone’s past that they don’t like to think about, and certainly not write about. I know I have no intention of putting everything in my blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Well, I write about my life. I skim the surface of stuff that I think could be relevant to someone else. I probably tell more than I should, but then, nobody I’m writing about knows I have a blog (that I know of) so I feel relatively safe. I’d love to write more about my family, my childhood, but I haven’t done that yet. Not quite comfortable…but it may be coming.

    The key to personal sharing is the comfort zone of the author and audience. While the audience may not be interested, perhaps someone else will benefit from the author’s personal tale and wisdom. At least that’s my hope…

    I’ve found a ton of support in blogging which I didn’t get in real life. I think that on the whole, bloggers have big hearts and are helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You raise a good point – none of us really know what’s going on beneath the surface. That’s a reason to reserve judgement. Do we all have dark secrets? Perhaps. I certainly have a few. Still, I have tried to be honest and open on my blog about my personal issues and where they stem in an attempt to encourage others to do the same. I haven’t declared everything but I like to believe that one day I will have the courage to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Every story is written by leaving many details in shadow. We can’t include it all since even one conversation involves personal history, gestures, and current climate.

    In a less philosophical vein, I disagree with real life anecdotes that may hurt another. I do not use my children’s names or incriminating birth order. I won’t say “my mother did this horrible thing.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally understand that. I think we all have our own internal marginot line of which boundaries we will cross and which will remain behind the lines…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t blog, so the problem of putting things out in the world isn’t an issue for me. The majority of my interactions are personal where it is easy to “read the room” to determine if the audience is receptive. I am not sure how I would handle it if I faced the dilemma of publicly sharing my story. I am an open book, I don’t have any stories I feel the need to keep private. I lived it, experienced it, and, good or bad, have reaped the consequences of my actions. If my personal journey can help someone, I have no qualms about vomiting out all the gory details.

    But I do not want to cause harm to others and I didn’t live my life in a vacuum. I am fully aware that my stories are just my perception of events…and my perception is skewed by everything that makes me “me”. Also, I wonder if I have the right to share someone else’s story in the process of divulging mine.

    Interesting question. One that makes me wonder if I ever need to jump into the blogging universe as anything other than an observer 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I think we can only judge on what we see, or what we are allowed to see. You can speculate all you want about the hidden but that speculation is a creation of our mind and may be nothing like reality for the other person.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well…we already know that everyone judges- right or wrong we all do it to some extent. However… if we also assume that most people are not an open book then can we be judged for doing “wrong” when we don’t have the full picture? How complicit is the person who is hiding aspects of their story and how upset should they be if they are being judged unfairly based only on surface perceptions?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very true. But I think lately, we e been trying to judge people we think have it easy. Just because someone doesn’t share their horror stories doesn’t mean they have it easy. Too much grass is greener syndrome

        Liked by 1 person

  9. My good friend just went to her daughter’s college graduation last week-end and the key note speaker took the liberty of launching into her life story..revealing cringe worthy/slanderous accusations and stuff her family (and others) would for sure be pretty unhappy about. My friend said it was like sitting in on someone’s counseling session.. so we’re in a weird time right now..a self centered moment if you will.. where many of us are craving attention, sympathy and who knows what else.. personal stuff is being shared alright, but not always in an effort to help others.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am more curious about the bloggers who disappear suddenly without warning. This speaks volumes. Sometimes the things people don’t say or share is a tell. What keeps me up at night? I am sleeping very well but there have been a series of odd break ins in a really great neighborhood near my health club. I read about how the people never woke up as the robbers came back twice and use the garage door opener. That freaked me out but then I realized I am a light sleeper and it wouldn’t happen to me, so I would probably meet them opening up the bedroom door to check out the mummering. That kept me up for 2 nights but then I got over it until the next worry.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think we all have a public and a private personna. I put on my best face to the public. There are a few people in my life I can share more intimate personal thoughts. But not too many. Also, I think the point of your post is not to judge people, because we do not know their entire story.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Personally, I’ve always been a rite of passage poster. The vagaries of one’s back stories clue the interested and careful reader to the gist and concerns of the writer’s daily scribbles. (Which is why I disagree with you about reposting.)

    And I’m honest to a fault in backdoor suggesting that many “bloggers” confronted with a rite of passage presentation that doesn’t feel prêt-à-por·ter, are quick to dismiss it as a naked lie, or at best a dressing down for commonplace sympathy.

    It’s a big world. With many different paths, and multiple ways to stumble before one arrives.

    Nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s funny that you asked if we are open books or not. I used to tell people that I couldn’t lie because my life was an open book. If I lied, it would show on my face. Writing, though — writing is different. It is easier to hide your real feelings by leaving things out.

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  14. To a certain extent, I don’t hold back if I feel the need to get something out there or to share my experiences so that others see that they may not be as alone as they thought. That said, if it is something that includes really personal stuff for others, I may not share that because at that point, it isn’t entirely my story to share. There are a couple of things I haven’t shared because I feel like it hits the TMI line. That doesn’t mean I won’t share it at all, but there may be a more appropriate place to share that stuff other than my blog. There is one big thing I’ve debated with myself for a while about sharing, but haven’t gotten to that point yet because it really hits a lot of different potential issues, some being that it isn’t entirely my story and some that I just don’t know that I’m ready to open that piece up because I know it is a subject that is extremely volatile for some. I’m not a drama kind of person and that will most likely create lots of drama and I really don’t know that the positive for me in sharing is worth it. I’ve also held certain things back more since I published my book because my little corner of the blog world isn’t quite as anonymous as it used to be and there are a few people that know about it now that I’d prefer didn’t. Again, I really dislike drama and BS, so I’ve avoided creating it if possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely understand avoiding drama. Drama is toxic. Unfortunately, people often bring you into it. Sharing is good, but also bad…it all depends why were sharing

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hmmm. Interesting question, LA. I think most people would say that I am pretty open and authentic yet, there are definitely things in my life that I do not discuss with other people, yet there are not many; and, I mostly hold back on discussing them as they might cause the other person worry or confusion. As to thinking or saying, I am mostly interested in how people respond or act. That tells me much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We being humans have a lot hidden inside us. It’s like a Pandora box, can’t say what comes out if someone opens this treasure box. I am afraid that I had a realisation few days back, when we narrate the story of any incident in our life, tell me how do we know that we aren’t being partial/critical of our deeds?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ok oh my. I only got Maybe 3 sentences In and I feel the same. There is no shame in my game but sometimes (more than not) I’m thinking…… wait a minute…. people don’t really know me. Or more so, am I coming across ignorant or totally biased or bitchy or just plain lame. So I haven’t finished your full blog yet. I just felt compelled to tell you all that. And you know what I really like is when I just say f it. I’m not writing for anyone but myself, so there!!!! ( yeah, ok….). Those self questions get me every time! You’re so nail on the head!!! Thank you. I’ll finish and probably comment more!!! Have a good one

    Liked by 1 person

  18. People who’ve met me online and gone on to know me in real life say that I’m the same as I appear. I am relatively open, but I don’t share everything. I’m quite the extravert, but when I’m suffering with depression, I have to withdraw to build my reserves of emotional resilience. It’s not been something I’ve chosen to speak about much before, except to a therapist and those friends who suffer similarly. By choosing to work in the field of mental health, I’ve needed to find a balance between being authentic and oversharing. It’s a tricky line to walk I can tell you, and I’m sure there will be many a bruise each time I fall off it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I tend to share a bit on my blog. It’s kind of therapeutic for me and also a means of hopefully encouraging others. Being real about some things is at times scary. But I don’t like to pretend I’m this perfect person who has her life together. I want others to be okay with not being okay. To be willing to admit that life sometimes stinks and yet somehow, we find a way to get through it. Of course, the minute details of what I share, much of that is kept to myself. I feel like being too open would only serve to tantalize the people who enjoy gossip or get a thrill out of other people’s problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m with you, I don’t think I can fully open up and be vulnerable on my blogs. On the other hand, it does make me consider about being open and more closer to the readers to develop a realistic bond. But something in me stops me from going beyond that boundary

    Liked by 1 person

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