5 Apr 2013

A big mess of honest opinions

A thing I have been struggling with a lot lately is knowing where to draw the line. There's very few conflicts I find I can solve by making a simple yes or no choice. Even yes or no answers are more complicated than they seem: do you want some ice cream? Yes, I do, but how much, which one, in a cup or a cone, toppings, sauces? Nothing's as easy as it seems. It's not black or white (although in the case of ice cream, it really is—I'm vanilla over chocolate any day); much to E. L. James's liking, it's a whole lot of shades of grey.

How much is too much? The question of how much I can say before it turns into a problem, or before something turns into something else, or before honesty turns into straight-up cruelness is one that's always bothered me. I'm known for my hatred of bullshitting. I value my time, and the time I get to spend with people too much to waste it pretending to be someone I'm not, or beating around the bush for ages before telling people what I think. A lot of people agree honesty is a thing to be valued, but only to an extent. Being frank is all fun and games for a while, as long as people are at best intrigued, at worst startled. But most get very uncomfortable, and I usually end up questioning my openness.

Knowing where to draw the line between what to say and what not is not a skill I think I've mastered yet. I try hard to weigh my words but it often comes out too fast. I have a lot of stuff going on in there, and I want to tell it all. Quick. I want people to know what I think about them because I care and I think they deserve to know. I want people to see I'm interested, or that I'm not, not because I think my opinion matters but just to show I've been listening.

Well, I do think my opinion matters. There's no point in denying it; I'm a blogger, which means I'm narcissistic and self-involved enough to think my thoughts deserve to be shared and read. Whether people read them or not, that's another question. 

I am very honest on here, this I've been told. (I don't really realise it, or think about it for that matter, because this is just as honest as I am in real life.) It is mostly because, me being self-absorbed and all, this blog is first and foremost something I write for myself. Writing words out on the page helps me figure out my thoughts and discover what is true and what isn't within my own very confused mind. I guess we all have the same issues with sometimes forgetting what we really thing about stuff. It's easy to get stuck into a mindset and not take the time to hate something (or love it.) Ignorance is bliss, and indifference makes life much easier. Not having an opinion means not having to stick to it, back it up, and possibly discover you were wrong.

Who cares about that, though? I don't. I have opinions, I have plenty of them, and I'm not afraid to share them. On the contrary, I'm eager to do so. Competition scares me, because the idea of fighting to win rather than for the very thing that passions you confuses me; I feel like they should be separate. But confrontation is fun. I like debates and angry rants and my friends' very, very smart comments. Sometimes I have these wise moments too, but no one would know if I didn't said what I think.

Back to this blog, I don't think I've actually sparked that much debate. No reason to get offended either, since I haven't really been attacking anyone, bar the British administration systems. However, blogging has made me cultivate the honesty. It's made me more self-aware, more reflexive, and ultimately, blunter.

Problem is, I feel like there's a thin line between honesty and bluntness, and one between being upfront and carelessly open, one between clear, healthy truth and exceeding intimacy. So many lines turn into one hell of a mess, and I'm stuck in the midst of it all, a buzzing fly with a killer headache.

This is not to say I blurt out literally everything I think. I'm not that stupid. And I like secrets. I like keeping things to myself, saving some of the mystery and having some more unsuspected stuff left to say. For all my honesty, there's probably double the amount I don't say. It's all about selection. Who do you say what when and in what way. This is what I don't know how to do. And that's why the people the closest to me get so much crap.

Ultimately, honesty doesn't depend entirely on you; the problem with it is that it can be received many ways. At the beginning of this post, I wrote that a lot of people value honesty; well, they only value it insofar as it benefits them, don't they? Ask someone to tell you what they hate about you, will they do it? Probably not (and if they do, they're surely highly downgrading what they're telling you. Do not be fooled.) This might not be a bad thing, though. I don't need to know what everyone hates about me. I do plenty of the hating myself. Honesty has its limits, and some things should probably be left unsaid.

... Or should they? I wish I could figure out my mind on this one. But I'm terrible at choosing, and in this one case, all I've been able to do is draw a blurry line and shift from side to side. Someone come and help. 

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