Monday, November 29, 2010

Can you Tell Your Story Without Hurting Someone's Feelings?

My husband asked me a question today.  He wanted to know, which is more important: avoiding hurting people's feelings or blogging your truth?

I thought about it.  People are always the most important.

But we're not really talking about blogging being more important than people here, in my opinion.  We're talking about being able to express how I really think and feel.  And not saying your thoughts and feelings to avoid the possibility that others might misunderstand is not exclusive to blogging: I wouldn't be able to say my thoughts and feelings in-person, in email, or on the phone either.  I think the question is "which is more important, talking about your feelings or not talking about your feelings so that no one else could possibly misinterpret it and have their feelings hurt?"

Is being honest not important?

There may come a time when I blog something that might unintentionally hurt someone's feelings.  My experience being bullied in elementary school really impacted me, yet today I am friends with some of the individuals who perpetrated it.  There were teachers who I feel didn't stick up for me--I am still in contact with some of them and still think fondly of them.  I was in an abusive relationship with a former partner whose mutual friends could read a story I write of that experience and not understand.  Then there's the general life's hardships.  My families, both by birth or adoption, could read about struggles I've had in life and feel like they could have prevented those things, someway, somehow.

Telling a story can run you the risk of hurting someone's feelings, no matter how well you tell it, if they internalize it.  I can only hope that when my loved ones read my stories, they can see my heart.

If they ever are hurt, I would hope they would come to me and talk about it.  I don't blog because I am mad at any one or want them to feel badly.  I blog because I think it is important.  There are pieces of my story that are both good and bad.  I blog as a form of activist to do my part to give back to the large dialogue of change.  If more people aren't out there speaking about how they really feel about something, how will the world ever know any different?

"Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?"  --Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Photo credit:  Francesco Marino


Lori said...

Actually, that is a huge thing. The honesty has to be there. As Robin blogged about how love is not the be all and end all of parenting, that we can love and not like...this is honest. This is real.

Never be silent to spare a persons are not sparing them. Just be kind...I would much rather hear that I am a moron than hear how smart I am if I am a moron. It is cruel to do otherwise.

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

The timing of this post is amazing. I was just having a conversation about this very thing this afternoon. What you're talking about is being authentic. Starting my blog meant coming out of the adoption closet but there are other issues that are related to other family members that I don't share in my blog that could relate and I wish I could share. The question is..... do I share anyway and be authentic about who I am or do I keep that part to myself to spare someone else because it's more their story than mine. The story of me and my daughter is mine, no one can tell me to keep that secret anymore. The story of this other person is theirs but it's also mine but...... it hurts them more to be open about it. So, am I being dishonest about not sharing that information or am I honoring the other person's wishes because it affects them more than me?

Wow, does that make sense? I truly wish we could just be completely open about everything. It makes me sad that some people still feel the need to keep secrets, hide from the truth. I just don't see the benefit of that.

Lori said...

@Carlynne, I don't know if this will help, but, sometimes when I blog I hit that same wall. While yes, some of it is mine, I think that it is important not to give too much of theirs. I try to focus only on my perspective. It isn't always the way it is, but it works out....Also, I state clearly before writing about another person that it is my point of view, not necessarily theirs.

Being authentic, honest and real doesn't mean giving up your soul to means that what you do write, you write with that in mind.


Susie said...

When I was found by the search angel, I vowed to never lie to my son regarding anything about my becoming pregnant and giving him up for adoption. I lived a lie for almost 30 years after losing my son to adoption, I refuse to live that way any longer.

That is how I feel about my blog also. Everything I write is my truth. I don't write anything on my blog to purposely hurt anyone, but I know that adoption from my experience is far different than adoption from the adoptees or the adopters point of view.

I do struggle to avoid writing about any part of his story, or his parents story, as I really don't know their stories. I struggle with the fact that some of the truth that I write about in my blog may be hard for Christopher or his family to know. I don't want them to take my pain onto themselves. (Does that make sense?)

Like you, I blog because I think it's important. If I'm not willing to speak up and tell the truth about being a first/natural/birth mom, how will the world ever know?

Von said...

There's the key, how will the world know if we don't talk about it? I'm so encouraged by how many adoptee bloggers there are and how many people now speak out about adoption.

Robin said...

Oh, Honey. Have I ever walked that particular path. In being true to my feelings and my experience, I have angered someone I care for twice. Sticking to my guns has been difficult but some truths need to be told. I have to remember when I was in treatment for bulimia. I was so careful not to say things to offend that I often said nothing, until one of the counselors said, "the most respectful and kindest things anyone ever did for me was to tell me the truth." Yes, the truth can hurt, but facing it can help heal. In any event, our experiences are our truth and remaining silent will not help anyone.

Sally Bacchetta said...

Wow. This is relevant and timely for me. I've kept some recent adoption-related struggles to myself, not out of fear of offending someone, but out of respect for my kids and their first families. My blog is my space to think out loud, but I'm wary of posting first family stuff that may hurt my kids later. We all know that some truths are very painful. Lately I feel as though I don't have a genuinely safe place to process some of the unpleasant truth. I don't know if there's a good solution, but it helps to read your perspectives.