Friday, October 16, 2009

On being REAL

Right now I'm REALLY sitting on the couch and my toes are REALLY cold...

And you know what else? It's 3:05pm in Richmond and I'm REALLY still in my pajamas because I'm long-term buddies with a REAL thing called procrastination (nope, not just a river in Egypt. Wait-) and I REALLY spent my morning hammering out most of a 14-page paper that was, and I'd done my research already but only typed up a readable 1.6 pages as of last night. Did I mention that it's cold?

Okay. What the heck am I talking about, you may be wondering?

Ever since I've had this blog, and even before, when I was a blog lurker myself, I've noticed people (especially women) talk about being REAL on their blogs.

And I am forever a fan of being honest. Eyes wide open. Speaking our truths.

However, something else I've noticed is that when we refer to those "real" blogs, they're never the happy ones.

Know what I mean?

When someone is depressed because she's just had a rotten breakup. Or if there's family drama. Or if there's a psychotropic med mentioned. Or traffic. Or jerks at her kid's school, or playground, or park. Or if her kids ARE jerks. Or her husband, or her friend. Or if there's an illness. Or (God forbid the REALITY of it all) an eating disorder. It seems that, when we post those I'm-pulling-my-hair-out-and-insecure-and-obsessed-and-stressing-OUT blogs, the internet ether starts pouring out sympathetic readers and people saying THANKS for typing about REAL issues and I feel this way too and thanks for talking about it and on and on oh the gloriousness of shining the light on the darkness of the human experience, aka "bad days"...

But I'm curious-

If we write about happiness and finding joy and experiencing life in a way that is conscious and awake and life-affirming, why is it not REAL?

Is happiness less REAL?

Are thoughts about how to make a life lived in a more joyous way not REAL?

For that matter, is love not REAL? (don't get me started on the folks who say that reading about happy relationships makes them want to stab someone)

Is looking forward to arbitrary things, just to sponsor those amazing anticipatory feelings not REAL?

Maybe that's the problem, maybe to many of us it's not. Maybe most of us walk around NOT really happy, NOT really noticing the beauty around us, NOT giving thanks for it...

So no, in that case, I don't think reading words about loveliness and joy and thanks would be REAL, would it?

Of course we could all write about bad stuff. I could choose to come to this blog and write about how displaced I'm feeling in a new city that shouldn't be new, and a culture that is harsher than the one I've become accustomed to, not to mention the rough weather and familial politics and struggles and trepidation about the future, and heck, while I'm on that track why not talk about all the experiences with racism and classism I had as a kid, and talk about while I was a teenager there wasn't enough to eat in the house so I'd live on tea and toast for weeks, or how I was suicidal for a year or two there, or abusive past relationships, and while we're talking about it anyway why not include some current screwy politics into the mix of it all?

Oh wait, I know why. Because if that's what we write about, and read about, and talk about, then that's what we THINK about. And five years later, ten years later, thirty, fifty, our lives have been lived only worrying about the future and feeling sorrowful for the past, and we've missed all of the beauty that is those changing leaves right outside this window (that's letting in a draft to freeze these toes of mine), and we've missed the joys of our seasons while we've been focusing on the tragedies of the past ones. And when those magical moments do come, those shining beacons that make life SO sweet, like a first kiss, the birth of a child, a perfect day, a perfect FIVE MINUTES, you know what? We won't see them because our faces will be perpetually turned towards the darkness.

Because it's more real.

And because it's more ... interesting? It sounds strange, but read the stats. It's true.

Now how does that make sense?

So, for my part, I choose to sponsor the light on this here blog.

With exception, from time to time, when needed and when I think shining a light on the darkness will do just that, shine a LIGHT on it.

So no apologies for this here happy blog. I'm doing it on purpose.



Anonymous said...


Isidra said...

That's real talk. Nice way to point out how we get sucked in to a life of melancholy.

I choose to talk about the good my sons do, and at least one other person has said "You make me want to throw up." Now I understand.

So, I guess if I am coming for Thanksgiving I need a coat AND some warm boots. Sheesh. I feel like I need clothes stamps.

Elizabeth Marie said...

OMG dude! YES!! The post we were talking about...I'm so glad you wrote it and it's so RIGHT!!! Sometimes I get so confused that my blog gained in popularity because i was so emo and such a negative trainwreck and it bugs me...makes me almost afraid to post happy stuff! But you've helped me through that. :)

So so so sorry I have been m.i.a-sickness and then family emergencies and drama drama drama, but I'm back in full stalking mode and I miss you!

The Shabby Princess said...

I love happy. I admit that I get down in the dumps waaaaay too easily, but, I'm trying to change that. I love your attitude, your outlook, your joy.

Ric said...

Thanks, and thank you! I type about whatever happens and it's usually happy stuff - because that tends to happen most often. It's not that exciting, but it makes me smile. Tho...sometimes I get sick... like I did thru practically your entire trip...and now I'm catching up in more ways than one :-)