Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On honesty...

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Some of the comments that I keep coming through again and again are people commenting about me not being silent "airing my dirty laundry". Last week, I was berated in person, and online (by two separate individuals) for talking too much about how overwhelmed I am with motherhood and generally living my life like an open book. It's kind of shocking when you realize that honesty and the right to tell one's own story is......not allowed. That it makes some people uncomfortable...that it makes some people irritable that I don't fit into a nice little box (read: coffin).

What, like I'm supposed to shut up and act like it's easy? 
Like I'm supposed to act like a robot and do it all with a smile on my face? 
Or act like it's effortless, just to make OTHER PEOPLE comfortable?

Being private is one thing. Purposely painting one's life as sunshine n' rainbows, with a deliberate detraction of anything remotely negative - well, that's dishonest. Life has it's ups and downs - who are we to lie about it? How does lying about our triumphs and struggles help us? Being dishonest about struggles doesn't help us and it doesn't help anyone else. It doesn't help others who are going through the same struggles and are wondering how they are going to make it through in their darkest nights. Being dishonest alienates us from others and further isolates us. It puts us in a constant state of denial, which benefits no one. Being dishonest dehumanizes us.

As a woman, I'm expected by society to do a hundred times the work of a man, without breaking a sweat, complaining or commenting on it. I'm supposed to function like a robotic doll with a permanent smile on her face, just to put everyone at ease. When a woman stays quiet about her life out of fear of what other people think, a part of her dies inside. I have been there. I have not been any use to the world when I was hiding in an emotional cave.

Yes, I gave birth to a child that I love dearly and more than I could have ever imagined, but this shit is hard. A lot of it doesn't come naturally. It doesn't come without effort. Yes, I married my soul-mate, but we fight and make-up just like every other married couple. And often, too. Our marriage is not perfect. I'm not perfect. It takes me roughly 1-3 hours to look presentable and it takes a LOT of effort. Our family is not perfect. Our home certainly is not perfect (mental note: must clean up those bread crumbs on the counter).

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Why should I be afraid to talk about it? Why should I be afraid to speak? Why should every word coming out of my mouth be carefully crafted to perfection? 

Maybe, just maybe...other people should know. Motherhood is complex and it's not some big secret. Women are complex and have emotions and that's not some big secret either...and that doesn't make us crazy. It makes us human. 

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Some call it "airing dirty laundry". I call it brave...

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25 comments

  1. They do not have to read your blog if they don't want to. That's how I look at it! :) If you are comfortable with it, that is all that matters! Stay strong and best wishes to you and your lovely family!

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  2. it's always so much easier for people if women just shut up, right?

    this comedian -- mother -- is for you.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKhczY03vts

    rock on, Grrrl......

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  3. You know you're doing something right when you piss people off! Links to these comments by any chance?

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  4. Sorry to hear you've been having a rough time but glad to hear you're doing better.

    Kelita

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    1. Thanks Kelita! It has been a dramatic month...lol

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  5. Oh Alexandra, I commend you for sharing your experiences openly and honestly. When I was working in India, I was told to read the book "Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians" by Craig Sorti. I quickly realized why my team in India was offended by my honesty and directness. I think it can but summed up in two quotes from the book, "The defining quality of conversations between Indians is the overarching necessity to say what other people want to hear" and the proverb, "it is better to say something pleasant than something true." While I don't know where the criticism is coming from (Indian or Western) please know that sharing your experiences does help others like me learn and come from a place of understanding.

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    1. Thanks so much Natalie. It is coming from the Indian side....
      I will check out the book, I`d be very interested to read it!

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  6. It actually makes me feels good when you vent about life being tough, 'cause then I don't fell as bad for needing to vent about my life sometimes. If you (super-cool person) have a tough time with life things then it's ok for me to have a tough time too.

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  7. I still struggle with this, as we've talked about... I was raised on "if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all" and just recently have I started being able to not worry so much about 'offending' should I say something *gasp* unladylike and/or *thud* true!

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    1. It is really hard to break these patterns of thoughts, that we as women should be always pleasant and accommodating, and opinion-less...

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  8. A propos, j'apprendre le francais. Vous-parlez francais? Vous etes Canadienne non?

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    1. Je parle un peu français . Je l'ai appris à l'école ....

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  9. This is one of my favorite posts on your blog now. I too have had a few comments about how much I should and shouldn't share - as if the choice isn't mine! I also feel like there's absolutely nothing wrong with having bumps, trials and tribulations in your life and not hiding them. We learn and grow through our interactions with other people and to continue to do that we need to share the good and the bad times. Keep posting, let the trolls keep living in rainbow land. We don't need them here on Earth. :)

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    1. Oh wow, I am flattered! It was a big rant LOL...
      Exactly - the choice is ours....
      Thanks for the kind words of support.

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  10. I personally love your honesty and how you are open about stuff and emotions happening in your life - good or bad. I generally do not like it when peopel paint this pinky picture of their lives online - "oh, my life is so good. my kids are so sweet. i have no problems at all. I don't ever feel fat/depressed/like dropping off my kids for a day or 2 somewher else etc.

    I really value people's authenticity and honesty. All of us pretending our lives are perfect only serves to disempower others and make others feel shittier when they are going through shit.

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    1. Thank you :) I really appreciate that. It`s like what is real anymore, what is sacred? Even our writing should be false? No!

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  11. I think you may enjoy this post : http://momastery.com/blog/2014/07/09/angry-socks-silences/
    And the entire website too.

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    1. Cute story...love the sock symbolism...

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  12. Stay positive..the nasty haters are just out to bring you down. I truly enjoy your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your support!

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  13. I am thankful that you write about the unplesant issues in life. It is a big support for women like me. I just have an interlinguistic marriage, but had it very hard. My husband saw what his mother was doing and openly supported her - she is my mother and am indebted to her that she has brought me up. That i am bringing up his daughter form his first marriage is inconsequential. It is my duty to bring her up. I dont begrudge bringing her up, but the entire family's attitude stinks. I was told unmentionable things. For many months i was at my wits ends. It was very humiliating for me to accept that these things were happening to me. My family also had a hard time believing me. Everbody told me - it will get better with time. That things did not get better for his first wife for 15 whole years didnt strike anybody. We shifted and i still dont know where i am. Absolute refusal to talk over things. But the longer garbage is left, the worse it stinks...
    Keep up the good work.
    With deep appreciation and love.
    Lakshmi

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