A comment I get a lot here is, "I admire your honesty," and while I appreciate those comments, it is often on posts where I don't feel like I've made a brave choice. I've literally just shared an experience or a belief of mine. So this makes me wonder, is the bar for honesty, especially in the age of carefully curated online lives, really so low?
I know that we all get caught in a comparison trap, but I also don't know anyone who thinks that the representation of themselves people put online is accurate. Everyone is cherrypicking the best moments because no one wants to have an online space that makes people feel bad. Posts like "I'm not perfect!" or "I have a messy kitchen, I'm just like you!" never feel like a revelation to me. I know you're not perfect; I know that your house isn't Pinterest worthy every second of every day. What I'm interested in is your actual opinion on things.
I want to hear your thoughts. I can't believe we've created a climate online where it can feel terrifying to share how you truly feel about something.
I know that there are privacy concerns with sharing these details on the internet, and everyone has a different level of what they feel comfortable sharing with strangers. I also know that a lot of the time we aren't protecting our privacy when we don't share our true thoughts; we're just scared of being judged.
Most of the hesitation I feel when posting here is not caused by thoughts of what strangers will think but what my family will. You probably get that too, right? This is what I try to remind myself: I am not the official mascot for my family. I can love them and still believe entirely different things and want to live an entirely different life than what they may want for me.
Beliefs change with generations. THIS IS A GREAT THING. It's why being a homosexual isn't illegal in most parts of the world anymore. It's why scientists are no longer killed for proposing a theory that doesn't support religion. It is very important for everyone to share their opinions and experiences, especially when they're scared of the response, because this is how we change the conversation and change the world. It's also how we learn that we're not entirely alone.
Maybe it's possible that you're wrong about something, and you're scared of finding that out. Don't be. If you're a good person, you will learn, and if you are not, everyone will know to avoid you. I want to know the places that I still need to learn in, and I share here every week in the hopes that some kind soul will point out where I'm going wrong.
"I'm just being honest!" is the motto of assholes everywhere. We do not want to be those people. But we do want to be people who have opinions, who believe in the value of their perspective, and who are open to thoughtful discussions.
I respect everyone's right to write about whatever they please (that's the fun part about creating your own online home!) but I also don't think you can write a lifestyle blog without writing about your actual life. No one's life is devoid of opinions or beliefs or even, maybe, an unpopular stance on something! I know we don't want to alienate anyone, but we've got to start learning how to have online conversations where we don't all agree with each other. We can respect people who have completely opposite views; we can make room for them at the table. In other words, don't underestimate the importance of harmonious disagreement.
What's important to remember is that we are not walking advertisements -- not for brands or a particular lifestyle. We get to be many complex and contradictory things. Hopefully, we'll find people who encourage our growth instead of demanding that we stay in whatever box is most comfortable for them.
Do you think you're honest online? How honest is too honest?