Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Real vs. Make Believe ...continued.

Well, shit.  I guess there's more.  But that's just it right...there's always more to the story.  And that's how I got so hung up yesterdayGo there and catch up if you're feeling a little behind.

I started off with a simple comparison.  Real vs. make believe.  I was actually going to be funny and tell you that one of my favorite parts of the whole photo shoot experience was how at the end of the night, after many laughs and expressions of relief; after spending some hours together as friends and a glass of champagne we stood in the foyer to gather bags and put on boots and my girlfriend looked down at my stocking feet and the conversation went just about like this,

"What kind of weird socks are those?" 
"Those aren't socks, they're spanx!"
"What?  They go all the way up like Oprah?"
"Yep, all the way up to my padded bra...this body is a work of fiction baby!"
"No Way!"
"Yep...I used to be big and I have some leftover skin.  And my babies sucked the life out of my sagging boobs.  Nice right?"

And then...the most amazing thing happened.  My other friend whipped her shirt up and showed off hers too.  Like I said, we're all hiding a little something.  I hide my unglamorous bits with shapewear and enhance my deflated bits with engineered undergarments.  And that's the reality.  And it's funny because the relief came from the connection I made with my friend about our little shared secret.

I'm not sure how my thoughts yesterday got so hung up and why I couldn't just write about that revelation and let it go at that.  In the same way that I am certainly more than any picture/essay/evening on the town will show you, I am also less than that.  Certainly there's more to the story...but there's also less.  The parts of me that I fix up show you what I think you need to see.  Or do they show you what I think I need to be?  Ugh...maybe both.

1904's comment gracefully blasted right into the mess I was dealing with as I wrote yesterday.  Thank you sir.  As a writer, I am in the midst of a major struggle with how to capture Truth but still enjoy the art and the crafting of it.  Because that's what I do...whether you choose to see that or not.  He calls it a Problem of Depiction.  Yes.  What to say and what to leave out?  Which stories to tell straight up and which ones to embroider a bit?  Which truths to tell and which truths to leave out?  That's the one that nags at me...as a writer of non-fiction.  It's a blog not a novel, but it's also not my personal journal.  It's a collection of essays.  And it is all true.  I don't make stuff up.  But I do leave stuff out...and that tells a story too.

Or maybe it lets the reader think what they will.  Because as 1904 says, if I know the truth about padded bras and children who refuse to eat exotic foods sometimes and marriages that have just as many defeats as they do victories then somebody else knows the truth too, right?  If a reader chooses to use my broad strokes of content to paint a picture of my reality then there is nothing I can do about that.  We are not what other people think we are...ugh...

But I'm mad at people for that.  There.  I said it.  I'm frustrated that people think I am things that I am not.  But now we're back to where I started.  People think I am these things partly because I want them to.  I am not intending to be fake when I enhance the reality, but the fact that I think I need to makes me question why I feel like it's important to do so in the first place.  I am not intending to be untruthful when I spare some of the details, but the fact that I do shakes my confidence as a writer because there are parts of my life that I fail to mention.

There's probably even more here to say.  And do.  And think about.  But tomorrow is another day.


  1. Oh for crying out loud - this is a "food for thought" blog. Not the detailed journey of every living-breathing-thinking moment of the life of Nancy.
    We get to hear the cream.
    We get to hear the highlights.
    We get to hear the funnies.
    We get to hear the introspections.
    We are being invited to see what you'd like us to see.
    Sometimes you show us the mildew in the bathtub, but it usually because you've found a new organic homemade product and you want us to see how well it's doing.
    Spanx are great, but we still put clothes over them for modesty.
    And anyone who wants to see more, well, that says something about them. Don't you think?

  2. heh. Nice rant dear friend. Noted.

  3. Part of the reason that I like to read here is that it rings true, not fake. what may be a problem of depiction is cultural, nonetheless, it is written well, thoughtfully considered and dropped into the pool. what i make of it becomes mine. i thought 1904's comment rocked the boat, which is very close to 'awesome' and not actually destabilizing... and sometimes feeling tucked in is just wonderful, forgetting about what others are seeing, but just having the feeling of tucked in, whether it be undergarments or mother's love? feeling good is mostly good, yes?

  4. I love you very much.
    And I know what you mean about what other people think.
    Here's the catch: what I think of you creates my reality; what you think of me creates yours.
    Oh, we can nudge and persuade and cajole and shape the look of things and win the "right" point of view some of the time, but at the end of the day I can't really control what you think, I can only work on what I think, what I see, what I do, what I hope and love. You are such a beautiful and talented writer and thinker and doer and being and mother and daughter and lots of other things too. That's what I see. You inspire me. And that is good, in my opinion. That's really really good.
    Thank you. Write some more. I love it. I love you. Very much.