The comfort of strangers…

So following on from last night’s post. I am feeling really odd about those I know reading my work. Any of my stuff, but especially this book in progress…

Why do we feel easier being completely honest and open with strangers rather than those closest to us? (see comments from last night’s post – it’s not just me!)

It’s like we must be acting a role with our closest people, which doesn’t seem right at all – they hold keys to our identity, our history, our limitations in their hands, they feel they know us because they have spent time with us, we owe them the honour of parenthood, sisterhood, friendship…and so we play the part… to keep their love and acceptance…even if their vision of us is not really who we are NOW…

Or perhaps it is because we know they can catch the bits of us which are not entirely authentic – the bits of us that we are still trying out, the bits where we have papered over the cracks…

Or that we do not really tell the truth to those we live with, we play nice, play politics – when the truth is actually far richer… and more potentially painful… it threatens to shatter our nice illusion of reality… but offers the potential to replace it with something more dynamic, more truthful in reality.

Our social constructs of relationships, of self, of how the world is threaten to crumble if too many of us chip away at the facade. We fear that we might find the foundations too shaky. We will find we live not in a palace but a house of cards.

We all do it I know – but us writer’s threaten to be the little boy shouting “the emperor has no clothes!”

And so the comfort of strangers allows us to develop a persona of who we want to be, rather than who we have been – an image of ourselves to grow into, rather than the empty chrysallis of who we were.

This is my butterfly self which I share with you, dear reader. My highest hopes, my secret thoughts, my caterpillar self, all wormy and small. It is this self that can fly free – you and I have no bonds of attachment to it. So I can be be free…free to be me. Because you don’t know who I should be, was or am.

PS I know I said I wasn’t going to write… couldn’t help myself – anyway it is book related and it’s helping my book process!

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  1. Laura

    Yes, this is so true. I find that for me my blog is also a bit of projection of the mama and homemaker that I aspire to be. Although everything I write is authentic and true, I suppose that there are ommissions, the bits I don’t like about myself like shouting and being knackered and switching the telly on for them so I can go online, or eating too much cake. I try not to show them to the outside world as I probably wouldn’t want to show it to myself. Also, and here’s a thought, when my kids are all grown up and in trouble I can point to the blog and say ‘look, I was the perfect mother so I can’t have been me that f**ked you up!’ lol x x

  2. earthlytreasures

    I think we carve out relationships with our family and friends based on who we were “in the beginning”, and so it’s hard for both parties to let go of that in light of something bigger, more profound. I know that I get so het up over my relationship with my family because they still see me as the baby of the family, the one who loved to pose in front of the camera as a little girl, who wanted X, Y and Z things in life and so on… and now I’m a very different person. The foundations are still there, but there’s so many more layers on top which create a whole new being. Gestalt theory in practice!

    It’s the same with friends. Now I’m a mum, it can be so hard to be who I was before for them first and foremost, though that is where our relationship started. I am now more than that, and especially so as a mouthy, blogging, card-carrying-natural-parent type. It makes one feel more vulnerable in the relationship, almost as if you have something to feel ashamed of, when really, you are just growing and changing and becoming, as is natural, healthy and right for each and every one of us.

    It’s up to us as individuals to accept who we are in whatever state, through whatever changes, and allow our friends and family to quietly acknowledge our growth. Hopefully we will inspire them to do the same 🙂


  3. Motherfunker

    My writing journey has partly, amongst other things, helped me to make sense of and recover from hurts which involve family members so it can be really tricky. My mother didn’t show the slightest interest in my first few articles and so I have accepted that I won’t get any heartfelt praise or encouragement there. I think she actually feels quite threatened by it. And now I feel like I am starting to get some breaks and a few things are coming together for me, and I actually don’t want my folks to see my work. I don’t really want my parents reading my blog because it feels like a space where I can breathe and express things that are personal for me, it has the potential to be a space to grow emotionally, to move forward, to move on, to let go. writing in the bloggosphere is refreshing because people are evaluating your stuff more honestly, there’s no flattery or praise out of duty. When family and close friends tell you your stuff is good, you can tend to think they’re just saying that to be nice, or because they feel they kind of have to, whereas when a total stranger says they like your stuff, it can feel so good because they haven’t got any obligation to do so, they say it because it’s how they really feel. Maybe I am being naive but this feels to be true…

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