Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How Naked Dare I Be?

Last Saturday night, I posted an entry that questioned the purpose of life and presented a rather dim view of my own life. My wife read it and interpreted it to say that I was contemplating suicide. Needless to say, she was quite upset. I think I managed to largely reassure her that I entertained no suicidal thoughts. As the entry itself said, I am both too cowardly and feel too much responsibility to others to kill myself. Not only that, but I love my wife and others dear to me and don’t want to leave them until I must. Finally, I don’t want to go to my grave without at least trying much harder to live a life of wise discrimination and integrity. Discrimination is distinguishing between right and wrong or good and bad, and integrity is doing what I think is right and not doing what I think is wrong.

But this incident of my wife’s tearful reaction to my blog entry has me wondering just how nakedly I dare reflect on my thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a public forum such as this. I find it cathartic to be able to express myself openly about personal matters, and I sometimes find it even more helpful to share my personal thoughts and feelings with others. But what if my wife, other members of my family, friends, or other people important to me in some way read things in my blog that cause them distress or lead them to take action that could cause me distress? Suppose, for instance, that I write things in my blog that an employer or prospective employer reads, doesn’t like, and ends up firing or not hiring me over? This may be unlikely, but it’s conceivable to me that the wrong people could read things I write here, know that I’m the one who wrote them, and take some kind of harmful action against me as a result.

So, I guess I will have to continue weighing my desire for uninhibited personal expression and catharsis against my regard for others and for my own welfare and make sure that I don’t expose myself too much in anything I say. But does this mean that I should change the name of my blog? Am I being misleading or outright dishonest to call it “Naked Reflections”?


ebuddha said...

A difficult pickle. I don't have this issue, as I maintain a very thin anonymity with my blogging.

I did not interpret your previous post that way, but perhaps I don't know your state of mind.

Normal standards of caution should apply, of course.

Still, the following -

"I do it because I’m too much of a coward to kill myself directly and because I don’t want to leave my wife and cat without the husband and caretaker they love and depend on. But here on the eve of a new year, I confess that I often believe that my wife, my cat, and the whole world would ultimately be better off without me. I look back on my life and think that it’s been a terrible waste of space and resources at best, and I honestly don’t believe that I have anything of real value to offer anyone or anything. I am too defective to the core of my being to be better than a burden."

How can you have such musing intelligence and think that this you have nothing of real value to offer?

Just from your writing, you possess intelligence, a capacity for sensitivity, a clear love for your intimates - so for THIS statement - the statement about real value - it is pretty clear you are not "seeing yourself as you are", but instead seeing yourself through some exacting standard, that clearly should not apply.

Far be it from me to say, but - what else is of "real value", if if it isn't these simple qualities of the heart and mind, that you clearly possess in abundance?

Nagarjuna said...

I am grateful for your comments, ebuddha. In retrospect, I think I might have been better off not letting family and friends know about my blog. But then I would have had to hide my blogging activity from my wife, which I don’t like doing, and I would have been unable to advertise my blog to the people I know in order to gain more readership and to share things with them that I'd like them to read. I’ve considered starting another, more anonymous blog that expresses more “personal” thoughts, emotions, and experiences, but I would need to hide that from my wife, and I would still be concerned about the wrong people finding out who the author is. So, I guess I’ll just keep going the way I’m going, albeit a little more circumspectly.

I appreciate your kind words about the “value” you see in my offerings in the blogosphere and in me as a human being. Of course, I am seeing myself from the inside and with fuller awareness of my unusual limitations and other faults, and I’m faced with the unending frustrations of being confronted by those limitations and faults. But I do try to see the positives in what I’ve done in the past and think I might be able to do now and in the future, and to walk the elusively thin line between pushing myself to live up to the “exacting standard” to which you referred and accepting myself as I am. Your gracious comments encourage me to keep up and stregthen this effort.

Jess said...

ebuddha is right nag. You are seeing yourself a lot differently than those of us that read and converse with you on a regular basis see you. I see a kind, sensitive, spiritual being that is finding his place just like we all are in this world. I echo his thought, in that, you know what is of real value and the rest can be just left alone. I saw raw emotion rather than suicidal tendencies. I don't know you the way your family does though so I can just go by what I read in your entries.I said in the comment to it we all go through that from time to time in this journey of ours to be better members of the human race.

Nagarjuna said...

Thanks, Jess. I want to clarify that your and ebuddha's perceptions were correct--I wasn't feeling suicidal when I posted that entry. I wasn't even feeling particularly sad. "Pensive" is probably the best word for how I was feeling at the time. "March of the Penguins" just put some things in stark perspective, and I was moved to go right to the computer and express that perspective while I was in its grip. My wife knows about my learning disabilities and how frustrated I sometimes get over them, but she was still taken aback by that entry. However, I think I've managed to persuade her that she doesn't need to worry about my state-of-mind, and I think that my subsequent entry addressing that post and my previous reply to ebuddha explains where I'm coming from.

Jess said...

Well, you know there are just some movies every once in a great while that have that effect on people. Those are the movies that have you leave the theatre thinking about life and your spot in it. Just like Crash this one made you think.