The reality is, though, that everyone censors to one degree or another. We all decide what we're going to share and how much we're going to bare. It's called self-censoring. Even the most enlightened librarian in a position of acquiring new library materials will practice some form of bias. Certain items will get ordered, others not. Of course there is a limitation of funds, but still. And writers also self-censor. We pick and choose which personal thoughts, feelings and experiences we write about. We tell some things and not others. Whether this is to protect ourselves or our readers depends on what we are writing about and who we think our readers are.
We all have a tendency to put our best foot forward. We want others to view us favourably, to think well of us. So we write ourselves the way we want to be seen, and rationalize our thoughts, actions and decisions to create the most positive spin. Don't you agree?
Having said all of this, what type of person do we most admire or want to befriend? I think it's the person who is authentic and transparent, the one who is willing to be real. This doesn't mean she has to share her story on national television or draw worldwide attention to herself. It means she has to be willing to self-reveal in private conversations with people she cares about or is interested in, who will hopefully treat her authenticity with the respect it is due.
What does this mean for writers? Should we withhold the "breathings" of our heart and share them only with certain people in oral settings? Should we fill our pages with these breathings and send them into the world where anyone may regard them and treat them how they wish? Self-censor and rationalize or be authentic and transparent?
Quite honestly, I find it hard to say. I think it depends on the person and the story she has to share. I think it depends on how willing she is to accept any response and on how valuable her thoughts/feelings/experiences/knowledge may be to someone else who may be thinking/feeling/experiencing the same thing or its polar opposite.
I have shared personal stories online and in print. I have revealed parts of my self. I have tried to be authentic and transparent. I've no doubt also omitted details that may be too personal or that would have painted me in a less than rosy hue. What can I say?
I am human.
For more of my writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.ca