Monday, September 27, 2010

To Be or not to Be.

I am sure I am the most inconsistent, freakish blogger.

Two posts in one day. No post for two weeks. One post a week. Promises of the development of another blog. No such blog appears. Promises of weekly recipes. No such recipes.

Who cares really? I can't believe I've allowed my blog to become something on my to-do list. How silly. It's a blog. MY blog. I can do whatever I want. Right?

And what about the sharing of entirely too much information...personal information? I may have only two comments per post, but I do have a site meter, people. And I do have readers, from a small smattering of different places, and I'm blabbing quite a bit of rather classified tidbits.
Why do I do that?

Well, I'll tell you why.

I do play dumb. I do self-deprecate. But if I can applaud myself in one area, it is my genuine effort to remain real.

I'm not interested in shock value, garnering a laugh out of insecurity, or the abolition of decorum through the over-rated promotion of 'letting it all hang out'.

I am, however, interested in that specific point - that intersection -where honesty and dignity can coexist in a harmonious relationship of REAL. I do not believe the two are mutually exclusive.

I am NOT saying I've actually arrived at that intersection. Heaven's no. I'm usually miles from it. Attempting to steer in that direction and miserably swerving out of control after taking all the wrong turns.
In fact, I have only encountered a small handful of people in my lifetime who I can sincerely say have such a balance so perfectly mastered. You know the type. The person who so poignantly speaks truth, without a smidgen of self-promotion, self-righteousness, flattery or agenda. A person disarmingly relate-able and yet so inspirational. Capable of confidently sashaying from room to room, person to person, without offending or disrupting while still, almost incomprehensibly, maintaining integrity of self and character. You would positively hate them if you didn't love them so much.

How do they do it?
Beats the heck outta me.

But I appreciate them for it. And if anything, in my sometimes overly dramatic tirades or specific details about female issues, I am simply saying what I would want someone to say to me if in the same circumstance. It might come across as manufactured stupidity or an unwitting, unfiltered stream of consciousness stemming from a complete lack of maturity. But truth be told, and as boastful as it may seem, I am more calculating than that. I am good at stupid, but hardly stupid. I feel as though the theme of my life could easily be summed up as "hanging on by a thread", but for some odd reason I am still propelled forward by a firm conviction that I really do know what I am doing.

I love history, but get so. darn. frustrated. every time I read anything female related. Our details are missing. The information is not to be found. Go back 50 years and further and nobody thought to detail the background of what it was like to be a girl. A real girl. Why? Why were we too ashamed, too embarrassed, too full of a false sense of 'ladylike' to actually record the details of our pregnancies? Our insecurities? Our feelings? Our crazy?

Why, as I'm reading past accounts of midwifery and childbirth, are there no accounts other than brief medical details from male doctors? Even when it came to personal journals? Why do they rob me of such information? I want to know how women felt 150 years ago while carrying their husband's 11th child. I want to know how it felt to marry a man they barely knew. What was the sex like? Did she miss her Mom? What were her daydreams? How did she feel about the whole dowry situation? Did she experience depression? Enjoy breastfeeding? Want to devour her baby whole? Did she feel powerful?

There is a sentence from a book that still haunts me. It was a biography on Henry VIII's (think circa 1500 A.D.) first wife, Katherine (ok, all together now...go ahead and accuse me...NERD ALERT). She was in her teens, departing Spain - her homeland, her parents, her everything - to travel to England to marry the king. She would literally never. ever. see her family again. Ever. Ever ever. And she knew it. She didn't speak English. She wouldn't even be permitted to keep her Spanish servants (in an effort to fully assimilate into the role of an English queen with English servants). In the week leading up to the departure there is a brief mention of a delay, one caused by her suffering "an ague". Speculations can only be made as to what was making her sick, and the historian hypothesizes that she was upset to leave her parents. Heartbreaking. But what is even more heartbreaking is that for all the documentation we have on her, nothing personal - like this - is elaborated on. No first hand accounts. Her painful miscarriages and still-births. The death of her newborn baby boy. The demise of her marriage. Her isolation. Damn it Katherine, why didn't you tell me?

Why do I want to know such details?
Because in some universal way, it helps me.
To know that I might be the same. And different too.

So, in my entirely narcissistic visions of grandeur as I blog my life's stories, I picture some girl somewhere 150 years from now stumbling upon my information. And I see her laughing as she experiences urinary incontinence. Or bizarrely enlarged areolas. She might feel better about that time her children spilled their Ramen noodles everywhere and she let them eat it all with a fork directly off of the floor. Or forgive herself about the time she lamented being a wife.

Because she'll know that it's okay...Rae (circa 2010) did too.


Parker & Chelsey DeMille said...

I know it's been ages, but I stumbled across your blog about a week ago and couldn't help but tell you how much I admire you for it!!! It's so nice to hear someone with such a beautiful life and family tell it like it really is. Life can be wonderful and lovely and the best it's ever been and still not be perfect...that's why it's life.

Anyway, I feel creepy when I'm just an anonymous stat so I figured I'd say a quick hello and tell you how ADORABLE your girls are! It's crazy to me to see them so grown up...

You're a truly amazing writer Rachel. Your posts are articulate and deep and entertaining...a rare combo in the blogging world. Hopefully I'll learn a thing or two :)

Thanks for "keeping it real." It's refreshing :)


Steven and Wendy OBryant said...

You know how when some people write a long post, you look at it and think... ugh, this is really long, i'll read it later. and then you never get back to it? I'm the complete opposite with your blog. When you post and it's short i think... oh man, i hope she posts again soon. We hardly know each other and the chances of our paths crossing, now that my family has left Sparks, are slim, but I love reading your blog. I'm not a girl from 150 years in the future, but "Rae (circa 2010)" helps me now! Thanks for the honest updates. I can relate all too well.

Joan said...

I know, I know I'm sounding like a broken record but...Rae, how I love thee :)