The Part I Haven’t Been Sharing

In re-reading older posts, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in this blog.  I’ve self-censored it.  I’ve written a highlight reel rather than highlighting the real and in the process I’ve appeared to be much bolder than I truly am.  The truth is that I’ve gotten scared.  I’ve chickened out.  I’ve had a bold plan in my head and decided, ultimately, that it broke too many social boundaries or sacrificed my sense of public propriety that I hold dear.

These are the parts of the story that Christy knows.  We both share moments when we decided, at the last minute, to abandon the experiment.

Here are a few examples:

  • Failing to ask a barista at Starbucks to sign my cup as “Starbucks,” as an autograph for a fan of the chain.
  • Failing, at the last minute, to go to the public library and get people to sign up for a cause I believe in
  • Failing to share my drawings or pictures with some of the strangers I’ve talked to
  • Failing to write something more meaningful in a private message
  • Failing to create an event with an invitation
I’ve considered turning this blog into a book.  However, if I do that, I want to revise this story, not to save face, but to lose it; to drop the mask of bravado and admit that there were moments I wasn’t able to face my fear.  I need to recognize that throughout this journey I have been as much anti-hero as I have been a hero.
Just thought I would spell that out in case people didn’t do.  Sometimes I get scared, really scared, and I hide socially.  And sometimes I hide the fact that I hide.

5 thoughts on “The Part I Haven’t Been Sharing

  1. I’m worried about when you decide to ‘stalk’ people!. That often happens on FB, where people visit walls frequently, read posts and look at the photos, but never actually make a link.
    I have an image in my mind of you stalking someone’s home to fulfill your experiment.

    I hope you don’t. It could lead to trouble!


  2. This is my favorite post so far. I think I will actually use this as a discussion point with my photography students next year. We can talk about what they wish they would have done to make their projects better. Then we can discuss why they didn’t do those things and analyze which fears are founded and which are artificially created by social expectations.

  3. I think it also describes real life too! You described your abandoned plans as “Failing to…”, but maybe it is like you referred to: Consideration of breaking social boundaries. Don’t be too hard on yourself! But we do learn so much from our fears and what holds us back on something. I think it took me years to realize that some choices I didn’t make in the past were simply prompted by fears which were not founded, as Roderick mentioned. Now as I guide my own teenagers, I often try to get them to consider if they are avoiding what could be a potentially good opportunity (personal growth, not just financial) because of a fear or because it just seems out of their comfort zone….and if so, can they live with wondering about the “what if I had”. These have been situations online as well! And sometimes they change their mind and sometimes they don’t, and that is OK, but I hope it reduces the regrets that can add up in one’s lifetime! I think we become very well at hiding what we hide. Has the need to do this (and fears) increased in our society? Online and in person?

    Someone recently told me that they were struck by how similar I was online and in person. And I am fairly new to this technology! So I often reflect about those younger than me who have more years of managing both online and in person considerations of social boundaries and I learn a lot through my teenagers! And now I am just rambling trying to think what I had meant to say when I started my reply….I find it hard to chat in these little boxes…:)

    Good luck ahead….in whatever you decide!

  4. Remembered my initial thoughts somewhat! Wondering if Facebook is crafted so that we are lured to go farther than our usual personal and social boundaries–and there may be equally good and bad outcomes in that. I prefer twitter, but I set up a Facebook only recently (to connect with some who aren’t on twitter!). I often think about why twitter is more in my comfort zone. Can I hide easier? I am also a moderator in an online forum and my comfort there took awhile too. I have been in tune though on how my teens have used FB. I find it interesting how they talk about “friends” there. One was talking just yesterday about a FB friend who sits and talks with her on the bus, but not at school. Which led me to thinking about spaces (the bus, social media, social groups, school) and how we guide ourselves in all spaces with the obvious and subtle social expectations of each, as Roderick also referred to.

    So I enjoy what you are exploring, John. There are things we do with social media that are good and positive, so if we can figure out how to take some of that into real life and make it OK….then it is all good! And vice versa. Hope I have made sense!

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