Thursday, February 03, 2011

How Good Is It Really?

Do you get those holiday letters describing perfect families, where the children are all brilliant, they have traveled to exotic places, and even the pets behave?  From one year to the next, only the vacation spots change.
I am forever reminding myself that isn’t true to real life.  But it’s the image most people want to share with friends and family.
You never hear about the fights, the drugs, the depression, or any of the other negatives that likely enter into most families’ lives from time to time.  
I’m finding the same pattern often comes across in the Blogosphere. I am always suspicious when everything is always coming up roses.
I understand the desire not to share the family dirt with the friends and relatives that read one’s Blog.  But unfortunately I seem to have trouble writing meaningful posts that include family without telling the whole story, some of which might be unflattering to some or all of us.
So in an effort to respect my immediate family’s feelings on this subject, I have vowed to limit my posts to myself and Jake.  You will get the good, the bad, and the ugly as it pertains to our lives.  


Blogger Pauline said...

I had to chuckle at the thought of a holiday letter filled with news of drug abuse and mayhem. It's true - life is never all roses but then again, there is so much awfulness in the world and it's all reported on so often, there ought to be a few places one can turn for happiness and a bit of beauty, don't you think?

6:46 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- For me there is a certain beauty to the truth. I suppose I find some sort of comfort in knowing other lives have the same ups and downs as mine. Not everyone sees it that way.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

That reminds me of an article I read some time about about how things like Facebook and blogs make us feel worse about our own lives. It's not the good news from our friends but acquaintances, the people from whom we don't hear the bad.

People post pictures of family vacations and updates of happy events. With your friends, you know the downs that come in between.

That being said, I do try to bring some bad to my writing as well as the good, but I'm not sure it works. I'm sorry you feel stifled!

David Sedaris included a holiday letter with all the negatives in his book Holidays on Ice. I got a kick out of it, but my bookclub thought that section went too far.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

I've actually gotten a few slightly sarcastic holiday letters from some cousins of mine which make references to their adult children not seeming to have a sense of direction in life and self-deprecating references to baldness, dwindling mental capacity, middle aged spread, etc. It's usually kind of funny.

I don't have any issues with those cheerful, braggy, but kind of boring holiday letters. They are just trying to set an example of happiness I guess.

I am one of those who has trouble writing about negative things. Once I get started it usually turns into some kind of unpublishable rant. So I usually avoid it because it tends to be a little one-sided and that's not really fair to whoever else is involved.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I love David Sedaris. I'll have to check out the holiday book.

Cyndy -- The secret is in balancing the good and the bad. That's pretty much the way it is in real life, yes? I, along with most of the American population, find a steady diet of saccharine totally boring. I don't have any interest in writing it and I can't read too much of it.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for those places where, and people with whom, we can let out hair down and talk about how things really are. That kind of trust, honesty, safety, and intimacy is a precious thing!


12:41 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- We've shared a lot of reality, haven't we? I'm so glad to have you as a sounding board!

1:05 PM  
Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

I actually knew someone that would send out a holiday letter annually that contained EVERYTHING. She'd write it long hand on multiple pages, copy it, and send it out and it included graphic discussions of surgery, frankness about depression, and on and on. It was... amazing.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Aileen said...

It's so odd to read this post at this particular moment! I have just posted to my blog for the first time in almost 9 months...and it's a post about the depression I've been experiencing...

AND, I was feeling guilty about posting such a "negative" post! :)

5:46 PM  

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