Roald Dahl, tall-story teller extraordinaire, saw truth as being an unbreakable virtue in the writing of the memoirs of his youth; this quote is taken from Boy. It is preceded by the line ‘When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful‘.
As someone who now spends a great deal of my time writing, truth and modesty; along with appropriateness, self-censorship, spin, positivity and negativity; are topics I grapple with daily.
When I think of modesty; I weave my way through the minefield of over confidence, boastfulness and arrogance while treading carefully past reticence, constraint and reserve! But, I also struggle with doubt and hesitation; with a terrible worry of being judged.
I have said before that I focus on the positive in this blog. That I have an acute awareness than my audience stretches past bloggers and into my ‘real-life’ friends and family; notwithstanding there are several bloggers who now fall into the friend category :)
But, the longer I blog, the more important finding a balance between spin and sometimes ugly truth becomes. I am always honest on this blog; not because I have to be, because I choose to be; but I am guilty of spin.
There is nothing worse than being presented with an illusion of perfection; where homes are spotless, crafts are perfect, baking delicious and children well behaved and polite at all times. We have enough unrealistic expectations of ourselves without adding to them.
But, I worry that by presenting my happy face to the world, and blogging primarily about the fun stuff and the special moments; about my pride in my children and their successes; about the adventures we have; the crafts and the baking; while skimming over some of the bad stuff (and my very untidy house!), I am not being entirely honest: with my readers, and perhaps more importantly, myself.
I have written about my struggle to rediscover my identity as a SAHM; about the difficulties of being so far away from home; about missing friends and family. But, I rarely have a good old moan about a particularly challenging day with the children, have a rant about something silly that’s annoyed the hell out of me or open up about feeling miserable.
On one level, I don’t want my family to worry about my sad days, about the ones where I am lonely or annoyed or frustrated. On another, more fundamental level, I fear being judged: of doing or saying the wrong thing, of people thinking less of me.
Perhaps that is where I struggle most with modesty; with the reserve and self-effacement that goes hand in hand. I am happy to sing the praises of my children, but I am often reluctant to put myself in the spotlight. Whether that be for my parenting style and choices; my opinions or views; or for my mistakes. I struggle with self-promotion. I resist claiming expertise. I avoid confrontation.
But, I have chosen to open my life to the world in this blog; I chose to start #ThePrompt! I really have no excuse to hide behind my words; to use them as a shield. If I am to write the way I aspire to, then I must find a way to balance the good and the bad; to strive to be truthful even when that truth may not paint me in the best light.
I will however always protect those I love, whether I am writing about them or they are simply reading my words. I will continue to choose carefully, to self-censor; because sometimes truth is not more important.
You can find this weeks linky here.