Honesty was Easier When I was Infatuated
Honesty.. recently I have noticed that I use the word honesty a lot. It seems to come before a statement in a text or email where I feel like I need the recipient to respond to in a certain way. Be that in my favour or in theirs. This sounds a bit like I am working to get an outcome that I want to, but honestly, we all use our words to bring about something (see what I did there). We use our words to order meals, obtaining the outcome of fries and gravy, to tell someone you love them, seeking the outcome of building a relationship, and to ask questions, hopefully finding an answer. Honesty can be a crutch in my life, I use it when I am infatuated with the idea of getting an outcome that I would like. But when I am asked to be honest about something deep and hard, honesty evades me and I choose an easy answer... not necessarily a lie, just not honest.
A few months ago, I tried to internet date. Now that is honesty. Internet dating is a beast all to its own and I am not sure that I would like to participate in its arena again. There is this sense of intimacy built upon a single factor of matching that I do not think we have ever seen in history before. In the past this idea of matching happened in the context of a face to face interaction, many times in a community where mutual friends or family had already established some sort of commonality. Subtract that and the raw data and reporting about ones life in order to allow the other to get to know you... its abrasive. At least that is how I felt.
So, the moment of honesty would come in my (few) bumble dates where they would ask me how many siblings I have and I would want to evaporate rather than answer that very question. I would have to choose whether to shrug and say that I have two siblings and inside feel like I was squashing part of who I was because it is scary to say out loud that my sibling died. Or I could be honest. I can say I have a brother who died four years ago and open myself up for questions or for the conversation to be dismissed. My honesty has almost always been met with the same response, there is this silence and the same blank stare at first, this searching for an answer that has been heard in a movie or read in a book. We are not well versed in talking to each other about death, especially when it comes to someone who died tragically young. What follows the blank stare is typically one of two things, people either squirm and say that they are sorry, to which I respond, as am I and I change the subject to their family and siblings. Or they ask questions about Cody. Questions are better than being dismissed but vulnerability is harder than shrugging and saying I have only two siblings.
Honesty was easier when I was infatuated. Infatuated with the idea that by having someone else hear me maybe I would feel better. Infatuated with the idea that if I never showed emotion people would think I was strong. Honestly, I have three siblings and one is not here anymore, and if you want to know the details of that then you can take me on a a few more dates. Possibly by the fourth or two hundred and seventy fifth date I will have the courage to let you in, but sharing my story while sitting at a taco stand after meeting three days ago on bumble, I cannot do.
Honesty is hard. Being real and raw is painful, opening yourself up for rejection reminds me of being awkward in high school (and university and getting coffee in my own kitchen this morning...).
Being vulnerable and honest is courageous, at least that's what I learned from TEDx and Brene Brown. There is a time and place where honesty is easy outside of infatuation, where being vulnerable may expand my boundaries but not trample into spaces that are not for others yet. As I began exploring my own boundaries, I did not have the confidence or knowledge to allow someone else to come in. I will continue taking chances and being courageous even though it has caused me to move away from infatuation. Maybe honesty was easier when I was infatuated, but vulnerability remains the most satisfactory experience.