Can I be honest with you?
You know…I’ve always considered that to be a really dumb question. Asking permission to be honest? Really? Clearly we all prefer to be lied to. Duh. But then I recalled one of my early grammar lessons with one of my favorite teachers of all time…Mrs. Brumm. Every time I’d raise my hand and ask “Can I go to the bathroom?” she’d very patiently reply…”I don’t know…can you?” You’d think after the first 50 times I would have given in and changed my question to “MAY I go to the bathroom?”…but, no, there was a secret part of me that really enjoyed the ritual. Heh. Yeah, I’m totally still that girl.
What’s my point? Well, the word “can” denotes the ability to do something. So, in that light is “Can I be honest with you” still a dumb question? I don’t know…can I, Alissa Kirsten Owsley…be truly honest with you, the faithful blog reader? Hmmmm. Read on, friends.
I admit that writing for the masses can be incredibly daunting. In fact, when I first started blogging in 2007…these were my very first words:
Well, here I am. On the threshold of my very first blog...fingers poised over the keys, waiting for some cosmic sign that I should stop immediately and go about my daily business. *Listens* Hmmm. I feel like I'm dragging myself out onto the limb of public exposure...where my words and thoughts can easily fall victim to the unpredictable wind of interpretation. Dear Lord...please grant me a stout branch and a gentle breeze.
Throwing my thoughts out into the great black hole that is the World Wide Web still isn’t my first choice of a good time. The birth pains of blogging haven’t gotten any easier. I almost always drag my proverbial feet ...stalling…until the Spirit nudges me enough to move my petulant hide to the keyboard. Writing has become a creative outlet for my rambling, chaotic thoughts to find a place to land. And since I SUCK (I just yelled ‘suck’ really loud in my head) at journaling, well…blogging has become almost therapeutic. But, who am I kidding? Most of us don’t leap with joy at the idea of therapy. So, yeah…a blog is not always the easiest method of sharing my thoughts and (erroneous) opinions, but the truth is…it’s still pretty darn safe.
You see, I can rattle off my thoughts into the innocuous abyss without having to look any of you in the eyes. I can shut down my computer and walk away…without having to face your questions, your disappointment or your condemnation. And if you don’t immediately blow up the comment box with adoration…well then…I can obviously assume you just didn’t read it (heh…that made me chuckle). And what’s worse? I can massage my words and backspace the heck out of sentence until my prose sounds gloriously sage and clever. I can rely on spell check and the thesaurus feature to make me appear smarter than I really am (dude, I totally just had to use spell check on the word “thesaurus”…no foolin). So, yeah… a blog is not really the best medium for fostering genuine honesty, eh? In a place where I can present my preferred version of Alissa…the question remains….can I be honest with you?
The answer is yes. Absolutely. I have the ability to be honest with you (I totally admitted that spell check thing remember?)
In my mind, honesty isn’t an ability…it’s a CHOICE. So, for the record…I think “Can I be honest with you?" is still a dumb question. Maybe a better question is…should I use this medium to practice being honest? Wouldn’t that be like casting my pearls onto a craps table in Las Vegas? Does honesty lose its value if I just close my eyes and hurl it into the internet? These are all good questions. Questions that I don’t take lightly. So, as the Captain of this Thought Tank, I think it’s time for a good old fashioned pledge. I hereby proclaim my Solemn Oath of Blogger Authenticity (and by oath I mean I’m gonna try really, really hard).
1. I promise to only use words that are actually in my vocabulary. And, yes, I know what “erroneous” and “innocuous” mean. I can’t spell them most of the time…but I can use them in a sentence.
2. I promise to stick to my own vernacular. It’d be awfully nice to write like C.S. Lewis…but, alas, there can only be one Clive Staples in the literary universe. But, at the same time, there’s only one Alissa Owsley…and I’ve got to represent. Woot. Woot.
3. I promise to care more about the Spirit’s prompting and my own creative process…then your opinion of either. Sorry, friends…I’m sincerely a HUGE fan of your opinions (good or not-so-good), but if they became my personal measuring stick…then I’d be writing for all the wrong reasons.
4. I promise to never stop overusing ellipses. Mrs. Brumm would not approve, but …yeah…I just…really like…using…them. How can something that feels so right be so wrong?
5. I promise to never say things in this space…that I couldn’t say to your face. I hope you notice this point is sans witticisms. That’s how important it is to me.
6. I promise to never throw my pearls at the craps table in Las Vegas. I’m a lousy gambler.
Can I be honest with you? Yes, I can. Will I be honest with you? Well, as flawed girl clinging to the limb of public exposure… I sure hope so. I also hope that you will feel free to be honest right back.