Thursday, February 16, 2012

To be open or closed...

...that is indeed the question.

And unfortunately I don't have an old skull handy to chat to so I'll just natter on to you lot.

As most of you are aware by now, I'm pretty open about the things that go on in my life. I've been told by some people (ok, quite a few) that I share too much. This is something I do ponder from time to time and I'm sure that these people (ok, mob) have a point.

I guess I just feel that if I'm having a conversation and something comes up that I've had an experience with or has happened to me, I almost feel compelled to share. Otherwise it's like lying. Because anything I say from that point onwards won't be the truth. If someone says 'I've always wanted to catch a squirrel and dress it in Barbie clothes cos I think it would be fun' and then I say 'Yeah, I wonder what that would be like...' when I know damned well how much fun it is...well to me it feels like I'm not being honest about my opinion because I'm withholding certain information.

Christian on the other hand is very...selective about what he tells people. Not because he's secretive or ashamed or anything, but he's just always been a man of few words.

What got me to pondering tonight is that we were out at a movie with our friend Steven. We were chatting afterwards while standing outside the bank where I used to work and I said I hated being there. Steven said 'Oh yeah, you used to work there. I know you left but I don't know why.' To which of course, being me, I told the truth and said 'I slept with one of the ladies husbands.'

Slight pause, then a bit of a stutter.

'Riiiiiiight. Well, we knew something was up but I always assumed you had cancer or something. All we knew something was upsetting Christian and he didn't want to talk about it. I've always thought you must have had cancer!'

And that's the difference between Christian and I. My friends all know I'm a marriage wrecking slut who turned suicidal from her guilt because I told them about it. Christian's friends think I'm dying of cancer because he said nothing and they only had observations to go on.

I wouldn't say I'm closer to my friends than Christian is to his. And it's not that Christian won't talk about the whole thing. He's always been very supportive and open in discussions that we've had as a couple with other people. If it wasn't for the fact that he doesn't really talk much about anything I might have thought he was trying to protect my honour (or what little I have left of it). The only explanation I have left is that it's a personality thing and I just happen to more open than he is.

It's not just the affair that I'm open about either. I've always be open with people about my abuse, my mental illness, being bi, my lack of religious belief, my favourite colour, the fact that I went to a Take That concert, my inability to conceive children, my dislike of Tom Hanks, my cutting...if it comes up in conversation, I'll discuss it. It's not like I go up to random strangers and say 'I hate Tom Hanks' and run away; the subject has to be broached first.

But how open is too open? My mother hates the fact that I admit to things that are considered shameful. She does not like me talking about my affair, she hates it when I wear shirts that show my scars, she freaked out completely when she saw me kiss Flora on the lips, she tells me I need to get over my abuse and stop dwelling on it. My mother is nice I swear, I really do, but she just has certain issues about some things. I do have to wonder though if the problem lies with me? The things I do obviously make her uncomfortable and so if I become more closed about my life, it would obviously put her at ease. If I was less open, I would most likely make a lot of people more comfortable. Therefore is it logical to assume that the onus rests with me and I should be more tactful; less open; restrained; decorous; less me?

I hate the fact that I make people feel uncomfortable.


Mouse said...

I really think that other people have the problem, not you. I love that you're so open and honest, and brave enough to not be scared of other people's reactions. You make me feel that I can be honest and open about my past and problems too. It's just one of the reasons I love you.

By the way, I think you should try going up to random strangers and saying 'I hate Tom Hanks' then running away, but get someone to film it. ;-)

DavePrime said...

I LOVE that you are so willing to be honest and open with other folks. It tends to 'draw?' like minded folks in, while at the same time driving away those that cannot be as honest with themselves.

The buried question dealing with Christian NOT doing so about YOUR facts is just this: They are YOUR facts. I know that I would NEVER say any7thing to ANYONE that Shawna might feel hurt or anxious over. If SHE chooses to do so, well and good and I will support her with my last breath. For ME to do so would seem to be some sort of betrayal. (To ME if to noone else.)

That may be what Christian is experiencing as well. He has done you the honor of deciding what YOU want shared about yourself. That way what others know of you is either nothing at all, or overwhelmingly positive. :)

(And face it, in my own case, I KNOW how lucky I am every morning to wake up to such a smart, beautiful woman. I'm sure Christian feels the same way!)

LaMa said...

This is a complicated matter, with different aspects when it concerns e.g. Christian (or your mother), compared to the outside world in general.
I agree with Mouse: on the general aspect of your openness and the way outsiders react to that, it is the "other people" that have a problem. Just keep on kissing women on the lips if you feel to do so. If anyone else is abhored by that, it is their problem, it says something about them and not you.
Then, your mother. On the topic of kissing women etc., she just has to learn to accept it I think. For a part, with your mother, it might be a generation thing. Our parents were of the generation where 'keeping up appearances' still mattered.
Yet, also try to keep some sensitivity on whether you really hurt her or make her feel really ashamed. Same with Christian (see below). Your bonds with these persons are so close and entangled, that there is also a concern for their privacy involved.
About Christian: I do not know him personally, but as you describe him, he seems a bit an introvert character. So it is his personality, indeed. In many ways he seems your opposite. Opposites attract (cliché but true!).
In your dealings with him, I feel you have to take a slightly different consideration than in your dealings with the outside world in general. Most importantly, and especially as he is apparently not quite open about that: be careful that you do not really hurt him or make him feel very uncomfortable. Especially when it comes to discussing topics with others, that also concern his privacy (as well as yours). That is an issue to keep in mind, e.g. in disclosing your affair to others (and certainly mutual friends).
I have been quite open about things to outsiders too, and sometimes get the same concerned feedback from people (that I am "too open"). Part of me says: that is how I want to be, and I need this. On the other hand, I can see how sometimes this kind of openness can work against you (certainly now, for example, employers frequently Google job applicants - for example, you don't want a potential new employer to think you are going to sleep around with the staff if they hire you). So sometimes, keep in mind who you are talking too or where you are writing things up, and what consequences that might have. And certainly on the internet, where Google can dig up old forgotten skeletons in the digital cupboard. Which is one reason why I always make my more subversive statements under a pseudonym :-p
Nevertheless: dare to be yourself. Don't let outsiders determine who you want to be. You are your own unique self, and that is what people like us love in you! It makes you a person, rather than a dull carbon copy.

Smerk said...

Yup, if other people can't deal with how open you are about stuff, that's their problem, not yours!

Don't go changing, we all love you for who you are and how you behave (even when you do do silly stuff).