Brave Honesty?

More than one person has told me in recent weeks that it takes courage to be as honest as I am. In some cases, it was a compliment, and in others…well, not so much. I’m just not sure I feel like I’m being brave…or particularly more honest than usual either. Are there degrees of honesty? Really, aren’t we either honest or not, sort of like pregnancy? I do think I know what people mean, though. I share more things publicly than most. If I think or feel something and you happen to be in the general vicinity at the time, you will most like be on the receiving end of some sort of verbal warhead detailing that something I’m thinking or feeling. It might be more foolish than brave. You see, I trust people not to hurt me, or at least not on purpose. I just assume that people won’t use my difficulties as weapons and turn them against me. I’m sure in my surfeit of talking that I’ve hurt or offended many people…but I work not to. I want to know people well; I like people both in the abstract and in practice. I think people are fascinating in their diversity. We each have a myriad of thoughts, feelings, opinions, preferences, dislikes, hobbies, jobs, friends, gifts, skills, histories and who knows what else, and we’re delightfully complex and inconsistent in those things. I do have a hard time with certain things, though. I despise polite facades that mask authentic feelings and reactions, and I utterly fail to comprehend lack of curiosity. My uncle puts it another way: he calls me nosy. So am I brave when I exercise my God-given mandibular tachycardia [my late Gramps’ phrase, meaning involuntary spasms of the jaw – he thought I talked a lot too] (or the written equivalent)? I don’t feel brave. I’m just doing what I do. I am generally taken aback when reactions are negative, because I’m (usually? sometimes?) not trying to be scandalous. Maybe I don’t have enough sense to know when I should be embarrassed about what I think and feel. But then, I’m just not ashamed. I sometimes have that nebulous wish that everyone would understand me and think I’m wonderful – I think we all have a little of that. But I know not everyone will, and I just hope that those who don’t will ignore me instead of trying to make me hurt. And if I hurt you? PLEASE, tell me. I have a big mouth and no privacy setting on my own life. If I trespass on yours, let me know. I am so sorry. I have been trying to learn other people’s “sharing” tolerance levels for years, but I’m still a work in progress. So maybe that’s the point: no privacy setting = brave honesty. And of course I have a privacy setting – my filter just has a much larger weave than most.

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