First time here? See the original post for the run down.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

day 13: pushing, pulling and public privacy

I've had a lot of questions about this blog on what it means to have conversations like these in public. Isn't that weird, to have such personal information just floating out there in the cyber-ethos? When I really imagine different people reading this, from very close friends to those who know me only in passing, the latter does some times draw up some anxiety. It should be noted though that in the past to say a "little" anxiety around just those I "don't know that well" would have been a huge understatement. And it's not the moments of intimate detail that bothers me (those are just facts, I'm not afraid of those), but rather the vulnerability of sharing real hurt and fear.

   I grew up, for better or worse, with a real need to nurture. We could talk about all the reasons why (need to be needed, analytical fulfillment, compensation, etc) but the heart of it is, I wanted to be the person people felt close to, felt could be their rock and felt they could share things with. Unlike my want to be a neat-freak, this was based on a real itch that had to be scratched. Hours could pass in conversation with little to no appearances from myself except to egg the others' story on. I thought I was learning to be selfless, but in reality I was keeping people away from the most fragile parts of myself. This somewhat misled want for "intimacy" however had a truly peculiar affect on my friends.

   Some friends fell in to the role very easily. It came to a point where the norm of our relationship upon greeting would be that they would launch into their own personal dramas. Non-stop for the duration of the visit they would unleash a litany of the melodramatic rhetoric of their lives. In these instances I found myself, over time, avoiding their presence. I became despondent and unavailable. It turns out that keeping someone else the centre of attention for hours on end is exhausting and I started to become very weary of being the person I had tried so hard to be.

   Most friends though, couldn't cope with this approach. Maybe in some way they found the attention unsettling. I also think that when you're dealing with a friend who's outside says "everything is great all the time! How are you?", you start to lose trust in that person. How can you relate how shittily you think you handled something to someone who's never made a mistake (but truthfully makes numerous little mistakes and runs like a prison escapee from the possibility of real calamity)? That trust and relation I wanted with those friends was terribly mangled by my "selfless" approach to conversation. It's only in recent years I've begun to really take ownership of my own wants and needs, and only in the last year or so that I've really offered a reason for others to trust me with theirs. I did that by starting to actually share that I worry about my life in music, that I'm always at a loss when dealing with women and that my past has left me a bit of a scarred wreck. Doing this has also made it easier for me to relate to others because for the first time I'm really acknowledging these fears out loud. Acknowledging your own pain has the uncanny ability to strengthen your empathy.

   Maybe this information should be reserved for those few who take the time to venture to my side of the path (although in a way, actually reading this blog is like that), but how often has keeping any taboo topic out of the public eye helped in social progress? Were abused kids better off when no one was talking about it? Do we gain more security around things like AIDS and STD's by keeping sexual education out of schools? No. A little open conversation has actually improved relationships in my life, started some amazing discussions and even inspired a bit of action. Keeping it all to myself did none of that (and often the opposite).

   Remember that time you wanted to tell your roommate that you hate when they wear their shoes through the house, but you psyched yourself out that it would be this huge argument so you just let it drive you slowly crazy? Then you finally tell them and it's not at all a big deal? We always had the power to make things better, we were just afraid. And things are getting better. So no, I'm not really worried about making these conversations public and if it gets too intimate, nobody's forcing you to read. There are plenty of blogs out there that talk about nothing at all. Just hit "Next Blog" above, it's a good bet you'll hit one. 

   Today I appreciate open and vulnerable rather than closed and safe. I'm a singer after all. If I can't be those things in public then I'm not really doing my job.


  1. People ask me that all the time. From the time I moved to Napanee (when I was 13), I've been putting all kinds of things about myself online for anyone to read. I've rarely made anything private.

    I like that people know things about me. I want them to. It makes me feel good for some reason.

    And I know A LOT about A LOT of people just because they put it out there. I retain a lot of stuff and I seek a lot of things out that people seem to never expect me to seek out. Sometimes it freaks people out when I tell them the things I know about them.

    I'm a little taken back when people recite things I've tweeted about or posted on my blog, Facebook, whatever, but it's only because I assume no one loves Rayanne more than Rayanne loves Rayanne and most of what I do is for me. Haha.

    I like that you're doing this. I take interest in certain people and pay special attention. I mean, I wouldn't do anything else ever if I did this for every person in my life. I guess I don't know anything about you, so I'm curious! Haha.

    So, don't be surprised if the next time I see you (maybe eight years from now, heh), I'm like, "Remember that super personal, super specific thing you wrote on your blog?!"

  2. Ha, I'm glad you're enjoying reading along. Has going deep ever come back to bite you?