I was just reading this over at Dooce.com and as usual laughed heartily (well at least in my head I did – I am at work after all) at the humor contained there-in. Dooce.com is one of the many blogs I subscribe to in my Google Reader to make sure that I don’t miss anything and over the last year-ish that I’ve been reading her blog, it has not been difficult for me to comprehend Heather’s style of communicating. She’s funny, she’s sarcastic, she’s quick witted. When I first started reading her blog and hadn’t seen her on any TV shows or any of the Momversation videos she’s done, my mind automatically drew a connection and I heard Heather’s words in Christa Miller’s voice. By the way, Heather is totally capable of being serious and doing good things for the world as well. But why get too caught up in that when there’s humor to be had, right?
Anyway, as I read this post, I was amazed at the idea that people wouldn’t know when she’s being funny and would take her seriously at times when she’s so obviously not being serious. I enjoy reading this kind of blog. It makes me laugh and lightens my day and I frequently wish I could do a better job of writing like that. See, I don’t think, even for a minute that she means half the things she says. They are, at best, loosely based in reality and then imagination takes over and what finally ends up on the screen is usually the result of placing a higher priority on humor than on absolute truth.
And that, I think, is my “problem”. Not that truth and honesty are a problem but they are a hindrance in striving for that kind of writing. I find that, more often than not, I start out with the intent to write something humorous and while the finished product may be considered “good”, it’s not what I started out to write. I’m not complaining or suggesting that I’m going to go out of my way to change my style. This is my voice and it is what it is. But it got me thinking…
It’s so easy for me to be completely open and honest on this blog. It’s almost pathological as demonstrated by the phenomenon mentioned above. And yet, when I’m talking to people face to face, it’s so hard for me to open up. Not just hard to open up completely, but to open up very much at all. I tend to crack jokes to lighten the mood and divert attention from my own discomfort. I withhold information, thoughts or feelings because I’m afraid of what the person will think, or how they will judge me.
This past Friday, at the coming out support group (if you can call me and the facilitator a group – no one else attended, again) I talked about not having any friends. John, the facilitator, said, “I find that hard to believe.” I amended my statement, “I have one friend. And I don’t have any gay friends.” (As a quick side bar, because I worry about how some people might take this. When I say I don’t have any friends, I mean people that I hang out with. I have acquaintances at work and besides Michelle, I have my friend Heather who lives in Oklahoma and I only see once or twice a year but otherwise don’t have much communication with. Michelle is my only “friend.”)
I’ve talked more than once about my lack of friends during my therapy sessions. After a lifetime of not having a lot of friends, I struggle with the idea that anyone would want to be my friend. Deb of course disagrees with this conclusion, but suspects that I put up barriers to prevent people from really getting close. She’s right of course, even Michelle, who I talk more to and spend the most time with, doesn’t know a lot of things about me. (She doesn’t even read this blog, for crying out loud!) I have been astounded, more than once, by the number of people who have shown an interest in me on this blog and on Twitter. People who are seeing more of the real me, but they only see that part of me because I let them, because in a way, none of them are real and therefore there’s no risk involved with showing more of myself to them. All these people who are only sort of real, but not really, not to me, seeing the true me and liking what they see, and I can’t seem to manage to do the same thing when I’m looking someone in the eye.
John told me that he had been thinking of inviting me out for a drink or something because he was interested in getting to know me better, outside of the context of the support group. (John has a partner. He’s not asking me out, he wants to be my friend.) After telling him that I only have one friend and no gay friends he invited me to his house this Saturday night for his “monthly gay men’s dinner party”. I instantly felt terror at the prospect of having to meet new people. I’ll go. I need to go. And besides I’ve been ordered to go by a certain carrot nosed reader and twitter friend of mine. But I’ll admit I’m scared.