Thursday, April 7, 2011

Honesty

I read Lori's latest post, Liar, about how she sometimes doesn't tell the truth of how her husband died, because it's just so shocking and she doesn't want to deal with people's reactions. This is when she's talking to casual acquaintances such as a store clerk or the old lady down the street, not someone she knows well.

I get that.

Our life stories are woven in with those we love, and sometimes those we love make shocking choices that forever change our own narratives. Suddenly, our own story becomes difficult to tell.

I've thought about that in relation to dating again. It was just over a year ago that my marriage broke up. Naturally, I've begun to think about dating. But that brings up the question of sharing my story. How much and when?

Like I told Lori, I'm not going to put up a profile on Match.com that says, “Ex-husband into children and dead chicks; now residing in Leavenworth.” Like the details of Lori's story, some things are on a need-to-know basis. But that is my story now, a legacy my husband left both me and our children, like it or not. Anyone who knows my name can google it and find my blog and know everything. That will probably scare off a lot of men. Then again, I'm probably not a good match for men who scare easily.

The truth is, we all have our dark stories. That's what seasons us and rounds out our edges. In this instance, the dark story belongs to my husband and not me. My mistake was simply trusting too much. But when I look back I can see that it has led me on a journey of self-discovery. It has made me stronger and pushed me to step beyond my fear and use my voice in ways I might not have without an impetus.

And honestly, I've become comfortable with my story, however unseemly it is to store clerks and little old ladies. Because it's real. That doesn't mean I'm going to share it with everyone who crosses my path. It just means I'm owning it and looking forward to writing a crackerjack ending.

Whomever I end up with is going to have to be comfortable with my rather odd narrative. And I will have to be comfortable with his, whatever it may be. But if you've ever bit into a fine Godiva chocolate, you know that ultimately what matters is what's on the inside.

* * * * *

Lots of love to everyone who has voted for Wanderlust in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Inspiring Families Contest. Thanks to you, I'm still in the top ten! Voting remains open until April 15th. I would love it if you would vote for me again today. Here is the link. Just click the orange thumbs up. xoxo:



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38 comments:

  1. You and Lori are such examples of strength and grace under such horrifying circumstances. I have no doubt that the courage it took for you both to share your life stories will help so many others who are struggling with their own life stories.
    Jenn

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  2. Thank you Jenn. If that is the case it would be the silver lining on the dark clouds and something to be grateful for. x

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  3. You've given me the courage to make my blog public, and believe me that was not an easy decision, but your courage has made me a bit braver.

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  4. What a post. I'm am proud of you!!!!
    Living with the shame of our story is horrible. We all have one.
    I lived with the an alcoholic mother and through school pretend all was fine. I felt shame, until I realized it wasn't shameful and by me opening up I may help someone else.
    I do agree not everyone needs to know everything.
    I finished reading a fab book by Brene Brown that talks very deeply about shame.
    I think you and Lori are courageous. I admire. X

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  5. That's so true x we all come with a story and we all come with baggage. Sometimes people come with more then expected but it's about rolling with the punches. When you do start looking I hope you enjoy the experience and have a wonderful time, good luck

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  6. I agree with owning your own story, and revealing it in its own sweet time. My own is not something I'm willing to hide behind (though I have yet to detail it online, for reasons of which I'm still not entirely certain). But it's as much a part of me as my hair and eye color---just less obvious---and while I don't bring it up in the first handful of dates, I let it reveal itself as it becomes relevant and I could never build a longterm relationship while hiding it.

    Just don't let your story make you feel "less than." Ever.

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  7. You have my vote! You have fast become one of the most inspiring blogs I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  8. Owning "our" stories is the key to finding peace. Our stories are just that - ours. They make us who we are. They are the essence of us. I love what you have written and I love your strength. xx

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  9. I generally don't tell, unless someone seems genuinely interested and it's someone whom I've known for a while and am likely to continue interacting with on a regular basis. Like you said, there is my ex's story and there is mine. Mine is - I trusted someone I had all reason to trust, someone I exchanged marriage vows with and meant them. What he did is his story.

    What annoys me though is that some people, when they learn the whole story, see me as a victim, they over-sympathise and pity me. They don't see the strength and resilience, they see only the scars and cracks.

    The shame is not ours, Kristin, Lori and others. We are dealing with the fall out of others' actions in the best way we know how.

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  10. My philosophy has always been we choose to grow and get stronger through all the crap that comes our way, or we choose to let it dominate and destroy us. Kristin you are a true survivor and through you, so shall you children also be, for how can they not when they have such a beautiful courageous example to look up to. xxxx

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  11. You inspire me, in every sense of the word x

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  12. @ Maryam - Wow, I'm flattered. I hope you find writing and developing a blogging community as fulfilling as I have. It's broken me open in a very good way.

    @ Belinda - Thank you, xx. There is no shame in our stories. Life can be a tough journey to navigate. There is not place for shame.

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  13. The man who ends up with you will be a lucky bloke indeed.
    He'll be getting a woman who knows herself, who is strong, brave, filled with grace and kindness, intelligent,
    loving, funny, and who won't ever settle for second best.
    xx

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  14. Still in the Top 10! Way to go you! You know you have my vote.

    What you wrote, about scaring off a lot of men/not a good match for men who scare easily... That is really resonating with me. You've given me food for thought about my personal circumstances (and how I have chosen to see them up to this point).

    Thank you xx

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  15. The thing is, honey, as you become stronger and more comfortable and certain in who and how you are, you *will* attract someone who loves and celebrates all that is YOU. That's been my experience; I wish with all my heart the same for you.

    For all the crap that you've been through (and some of us can empathise directly), it's revealed new strengths and allowed your incredible inner beauty to shine brightly and wide. Karma in action. xxx

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  16. I still juggle the when and how I refer to 'my past' on a daily basis.
    sometimes a bit of humor works (i refer to my ex to 'the mistake') and sometimes take the right to say 'i really don't want to talk about it' or 'it's a bit personal (and/or complicated'. people do sometimes innocently ask questions that claw open freshly healed wounds and your kids may be close by too..
    any survivor of forms of abuse has to learn that the past simply doesn't always stay in the past, it's an ongoing process to learn to live with it.
    and it's our damn right to LIE if we feel it's easier for everyone.

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  17. A wonderful post.
    And no one can blame you for taking your time to reveal. Honestly, it's not first date pillow talk material. But if you entered a serious relationship, i know you both would speak up, and no one could hold it against you for taking your time. They're not pretty stories to share, and frankly they're not stories that are much fun to share are they?
    It's not lieing in my opinion, it's just holding your cards close to your chest for a while. :)

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  18. @ Inkpuddle - Revealing our stories on the internet is a fairly extreme step and not one everyone will necessarily want to take. I think it's more important that we simply make our peace with them.

    @ Danielle - yes, none of us escapes without some "baggage"!

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  19. @ Vegemite Wife - thank you! What a lovely compliment.

    @ Annie - amen. I love what Eden says: "you can't outrun your shadow." We need to embrace the good with the bad.

    @ Dorothy - I don't want pity either. But I agree, I write partly because I want others to know it's nothing shameful. x

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  20. @ Toni - You forgot bootilicious! x

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  21. You are the storyteller and you can chose the time and place to tell your story. Whatever you say has to be right of you and you alone.
    Your story is full of courage, love and honesty and you have given us inspiration to share our own stories.

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  22. i think your writing is amazing - as is your honesty..

    we can't change the story of our past, but I really believe we can direct the future story, once we have made the decision to do so

    plus, those men who may google you? they will just find you here, inspiring others in their life journey

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  23. Crackerjack ending, baby. Crackerlackin' crackerjack ending.

    xo

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  24. @ Kakka - aw, love it. And I so agree, we have the choice of what to do with what life throws at us. Every single day we make that choice. xx

    @ Holly - backatcha, babe. x

    @ Being Me - yeah? I think there's a lot of truth to that. I like what @ Ruddygood said. The more comfortable we are with ourselves, including our strengths and checkered histories, then we will attract to us others who are also comfortable with that. You have some very unique strengths, my dear. Own it! xx

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  25. Another amazing post. You, nor Lori have the need to feel shame for the actions of your ex, and Lori's husband. Much easier said than done. And omitting parts of your story for people who don't pay a huge part in your life is not lying.

    Like Belinda, I also grew up with an alcoholic mother. For so long I carried the shame of her drinking, and her actions once drunk around with me. It was my dirty little secret. But once I let go of the shame that was not mine to carry, I started to discover who I was, not some alcoholic's daughter, but a person in her own right.

    While my childhood, wasn't the worst, it's not a life I'd wish on anyone, but at the same time, without that experience, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

    The strength and courage you have shown since your marriage broke up and you found out the truth about your ex is truly inspiring. Thank you.

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  26. @ Suburp - I imagine I have a lot to learn yet about how this will impact me (and especially my children) in the future. I'll have to figure it out as I go along. x

    @ Pink - Knowing me I'll err on the side of saying too much too soon! I'm not very good as discretion. :)

    @ Cinda - I like that. We are the storytellers. We can't change what some of the characters do, but we can choose how to tell the story. There are a hundred ways to tell a story.

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  27. @ Alice Becomes - love your take on it! I agree absolutely that we can direct our future. I'm directing mine due southwest about 9,000 miles.

    @ Georgia - Yes! It's like all that energy that we put into shoving the truth away, once we let go of that, we free it up for much healthier pursuits like self-discovery. And life challenges, for all their shittiness, do hone us. They have to ability to make us stronger (as opposed to harder) if we let them. x

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  28. There's no rule. Sometimes it will feel like the most natural thing to do to be honest at a first meeting, with others it might take years. It is a part of your history, but it is NOT a part of you - okay, the experience obviously is a part of you, but the shame, horror, pain - that isn't. You are the opposite of all those things - strong, brave, hopeful, determined, proud, nurturing.

    M2Mx

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  29. It is hard to know exactly where the line falls when it comes to the really hard things.

    I grew up in abuse, and although I write about it on my blog and I spend lots of time with other survivors and activism....sometimes when I meet someone and seemingly simple things come up in conversation, I don't know how much to say.

    There have been times I've been tempted to say that my father is dead. I never have...but it might be easier than trying to explain the truth. ouch. That is tough to admit.

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  30. The way I look at it we don't owe anybody our past. But maybe they can earn little bits of it as and when and then more importantly earn a future.

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  31. You have my daily vote, Miss K, because you are indeed a fine chocolate :)

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  32. I like that you were inspired by Lori's post to write this wonderful post. I don't think it is lying to smooth out the edges for other people. They don't all need to know how horrendous the world can be. Dead chicks? Really!?!

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  33. @ MultipleMum - Really. http://www.wanderlustlust.com/2011/03/falling-through-cracks-of-system.html

    @ M2M - you always manage to make me feel good. :) xo

    @ Tracie - Reading your comment made me sad. But I understand completely. We don't owe it to casual acquaintances to relive our pain for the sake of technical accuracy. x

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  34. Of course, you don't need to go into the finer details on many things, it's not a lie, it's protecting yourself, your children & your privacy. That's the beauty of being in control of what comes out of your mouth or gets typed on a keyboard. My husband goes to war, he protects me from what he doesn't say, i'm grateful for that. Love Posie

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  35. @ Steve - you always phrase things in such a way that they make so much sense. Love what you said.

    @ Glowless - takes one to know one, Lady Godiva!

    @ Posie - I worry far more about protecting my children, honestly. I at least have the ability to understand some of what's transpired. x

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  36. Sometimes I tell people, sometimes I don't, sometimes I tell edited versions. What I do know is that the people who accept it and are great with all of it and who turn out to be wonderful supports aren't always the ones I expected to. And I'm learning to share my truth and stuff everyone else - unless it affects my kids. Then I have to keep Mum. One day, they can decide for themselves how much they share.

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  37. I too wondered how much to share. I had two very different reactions to my story when I did share.

    The first guy I dated told me he basically didn't want to hear it. In his words, he doesn't need to hear it to know it was bad. Which may be true but I needed to tell it, I needed to be with someone that could understand when it hurt.

    The other guy I dated, whom I am marrying in 5 weeks, was 100% comfortable with me sharing. He had some bad things happen to him in his life and he told me that he understood my need to tell someone. What I told him one night, about 9 months into our realtionship when I was sharing with him some of the darkest times, was that I knew I couldn't marry someone who didn't know all of that. That it was a part of me and a part of who I was and I needed him to know about it so he know why I sometimes reacted the way I did to things.

    So, to end this really LONG comment... I think full disclosure is sometimes necessary, but with the right person at the right time. You will know. Good luck!!

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