Learning Honesty: Feelings about Other People

Honesty has become an integral part of my identity and my writing journey, but I realized that being honest about my negative feelings for other people is something that I have yet to learn.

As you can see through my blog, I am not a fan of privacy. When it comes to my thoughts and feelings about my life, I can be as honest as hell, but when it comes to my thoughts and feelings about people, I often use euphemisms, evasion tactics, and I even resort to downright silence.

I am more bold when it comes to challenging other people’s beliefs, but I am mum when I need to tell them that I they hurt me or simply irritated me.

Being honest doesn’t mean that I want to become red-faced-banshee-screaming honest. I’d rather be cool and collected and yet able to face the painful issues that arise in my relationships.

Honesty as identity

I rarely bother with lies because I suck at it. I can’t keep a straight face, I feel guilty right away, etc. Sometimes I’ll lie about petty things like, Yes, Ma, I took my vitamins already, or say white lies. I don’t ever fake rave about something, but I do say “Ok lang naman“.

For me, lying is a form of repression. My issue in life has always been to express myself. I was the talkative kid who people chastised as epal, then was labeled as shy because this was the only way they could make sense of my introversion, then I unconsciously internalized the shyness label, then I was maligned and transformed by social perception and I became a shy person, I thought shyness was inescapable but I made a decision to fight my own prisons, and I spent years trying to get back my original identity.

Lying is creating a whole new story of identity, and this contradicts my megalomaniac and vain need to tell people who I am.

Honesty as a writing skill

Being truthful is my edge as a writer. When people describe why my pieces are strong, they say it’s because the articles are very honest. My first published piece, Diary Malady (Confessions of a Diary Fanatic), was a personal essay on how I became obsessed with writing in my diary.

This article shows that I essentially started as a diary writer, that I was preoccupied with cathartic confessions, and so at the root of my writing life, the integral element is expression not lies.

My writing idol, Jessica Zafra, is honesty immortalized. She will tell you exactly what she thinks and what she feels. No qualms about it. She will punch you with her words; she will actually punch you if you’re the noisy guy at a theater, but what she will not do is lie.

I am also slowly realizing that my path as a writer will be through personal essays, memoirs, and now I am learning about memoirist-reportage (a term I stumbled upon while reading The New New Journalism by Robert S. Boynton and hopefully I can experiment with this while working as a writer).

The next challenge

My need to express myself and my candid blog made me assume that I was an honest person, that is until I realized that there was an area in my life that I wasn’t being honest about.

I almost chickened out when I had to confront someone about our relationship. Then all of the confrontations I had in the past came rushing in. I remembered that they ended painfully, which meant I wasn’t able to resolve it; I just decided to end things.

Although I don’t regret letting go of those toxic people, I think that being more honest about what I felt and why I was hurt would have helped me heal and move on faster. Now I also don’t know what I will do with some of my current relationships that need repairing, that need confrontation, but I know that the first thing I have to do is to be honest with them.

I don’t know how I will learn to be honest about other people. Confrontation is not my style (this is so weird because I’m a debater). I’m not the type who complains that the food is not good at a restaurant. I think it’s unproductive to be negative. I am afraid of losing my cool. I don’t want to lose people, but I have lost some while living in the confines of this fear.

Despite these doubts, I know that I need to learn how to have difficult conversations with other people. It’s part of growing up, it’s part of becoming a mature person, it’s part of life.

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All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations.