I was emotionally stirred this morning, as I read seven accounts of writers experiencing the effects of having written their memoirs. The authors bared their soul to the world and received a form of validation in the process. The artful pleasures that illuminated their past were tastefully raw and revealed the human condition in a universal manner that all readers easily understood.
The one comment or point of revelation shared by all seven was that of making choices. In reducing ones life to the page, a selection of entries were decided upon. The chosen stories were filtered for entertainment value and truth. A morsel of revelation was also present. A modern day “ahha” moment, if you will.
I contemplated if I were capable of sharing the intimate parts of my private life publicly. Would I be condemned or praised for sharing my reaction from a conversation with Mrs. Van Husen, a gold medal Olympian from Germany who became a publicist for Adolph Hitler? Or, in our politically correct society would I have the courage to share the internal thoughts I debated in my childhood, while holding a woman’s swimsuit in my hands after talking with a gay neighbor?
Having grown up in the world of theatre and motion pictures, I’ve had more experiences within our liberal world than most would see in a lifetime. The stories would certainly shock the weak minded and amaze the intelligent with insights into the human condition. But, few would expect to learn, that with all the freedoms and generous offers afforded me, I chose to live a conservative life.
It’s all about choice. Not tendencies or leanings, but decisions.
We are free to Facebook what we want others to know about us. Some write too much, giving us no room to contemplate the depths of their soul. Others write little for fear they won’t be accepted. Then there are those who write only the positive, trying to make us think they are perfect, removing themselves from any form of humanity.
Facebook is like memoirs. Every entry is a choice to reveal something about ourselves. We can chose to entertain or bore our readers. We also chose how vulnerable we’re willing to be — Demonstrating our true self or creating a false image to hide behind.
The seven authors were courageous and opened my eyes to the power of revelation through vulnerable sharing. It made me wonder how many followers a person might have on Facebook if they honestly shared their thoughts and feelings. Would their numbers rise incrementally or drop rapidly into the basement? Would the person be praised for their comments this year and be haunted by it twenty years from now?
I have learned that the more tolerance community requires, the more judgmental those around us become. When the Ten Commandments guided our nation, camaraderie was present because we all had fallen short. Listening to each other’s experiences and stories gave us insights into life that helped us fight the good fight. But, today we hesitate to hear those who may disagree with our position or beliefs, for fear we may not be able to defend our perspective with persuasion and dignity.
The risk of revealing our true self is greater today than forty years ago. Yet society needs truth more than ever. Unfortunately there are few willing to risk their future in order to share elements from their dysfunctional life for the sake of humanity. Instead we are entertained by extremists who seek only attention, rather than the common good that benefits us all.
Today, the greater the spectacle the more followers. But our hearts need the truth. We need some imperfect person to remind us of our humanity, while instilling hope into our lives. We need real people to live as an open book. Then we will have the courage to decide what revelation from our life is worth sharing in our modern memoir published on Facebook.