Talking. Talking. Talking. I've been doing a lot of that recently. On Pyramid, on IM, on livejournal. To be true it's kind of strange. I think part of that is because it's all been online. Which in turn means that more than too much of my talking in person is but rehashing discussions I've had online. And of course, I haven't been talking much in my own journal, which only compounds the situation. Do I rehash yet again?
I argued earlier today on the nature of authority and child rearing. I read segments of that to my housemates and was accused of being the most cogent presenter of some of my points, so y'all may find it amusing. Rather than give my unspoken thoughts on the matter, I'd be interested in your take on it all.
But I've been having other discussions as well. The more recent ones have been striking me at bad times. The dangers of taking so bloody long reading email and lj whilst on im I suppose. I was chatting with snowcoma last night and we got onto discussing religion, mine in particular. In large part it's a topic I don't tend to discuss very much, and when I do I tend only to discuss individual facets of it. I don't recall the last time I sat down to give a full accounting of my beliefs. Oh, hey! don't run away yet! I wasn't planning on doing so just now, I was just saying.
If there's truly interest, I may discuss them later, but as I said: it's not a topic I'm prone to discussing. In poor company I tell myself it's because religion, like politics and sports, is a topic best avoided in polite company for all too often it's taken wrongly and feelings are hurt. But there's more to it than just that and even in good company I do not often comment on the topic. To be open, I do not subscribe to any organized religion (nor any common unorganized religion ;) and a number of my beliefs would no doubt be considered at best heretical by those with a stake in such things. So I have cause to keep these thoughts close to my heart. But again, this is mere justification.
I had another chat, a brief one, with an old friend earlier today. She brought up some of the things we used to talk about, things she doesn't really have anyone to talk with about these days. Like the discussion on religion this struck me at an odd hour and so I fear my response was not as well thought as I would have liked. But this reminded me of previous thoughts and conversations. There are a number of topics I'm in the closet about, or at least which I don't discuss freely with others. It's not that I've talked to noone about them — in fact, I've talked about all of them with someone — but rather, I keep my own council.
And perhaps I keep it over much. I believe that a free open dialogue is essential to healthy relationships, and yet I keep these secrets. There are of course reasons for this. On the one hand, much as we would like to be open and free with our thoughts, the world is not very accepting of that sort of behavior. Look at all the tales of those cast out from their families for coming out as gay, look at those persecuted for their beliefs when admitted to in close-minded countries, look at those who are denied employment for their affiliation with the wrong god or the wrong party. And yet, despite the undeniable, we cannot let that pessimism close our minds to the faith that a better world could exist were we to brave the unknowable and let the world bow to our vision.
On the other hand, we have the skewed empiricism of psychological history. I grew up in one of those families where what goes on within the family is not to be discussed with outsiders. (And in so mentioning have broken that very taboo.) Because of this I was raised from a very young age to believe in the principal of presenting appealing words and smiles and secreting the appalling truth away. I have in large part broken myself of that tradition and will certainly discuss necessary things, even be they unsavory things.
But yet, I retain all too much of that mindset. Of these secrets I keep, how many in truth do matter to the world outside? My religion and politics affect my actions, but is it necessary to discuss them beyond that level? Do the details of my sexuality matter to any other than those I should like to participate in it with? A voice deep inside of me says yes, much as years of history and countless tales of persecution tell me otherwise. That deep voice tells me I ought speak of these things, that it would better help me associate with those of like mind, that it would help me to better form my beliefs by the review of my peers, that it would give strength to others who may feel the same but be afraid to admit it even to their self, that it may enlighten those who have never given thought to their assumptions. And yet, these secrets I keep.
Threats of shaming, stoning, and persecution aside, there's another reason I speak not of these things. In the back of my mind is ever the worry, that I may be wrong. Or worse, that the fault lies not in error but in madness. The folk axiom goes that if one questions their sanity they must be sane. There's some sense in that, but I'm not sure I trust it as a metric for determining my own sanity; it seems too flimsy a document to base one's cognition upon. I have always taken a perverse joy in teasing Delirium. Methinks that god has much to teach to those willing to learn. But it's playing the devil's game to taunt the unfathomable. And so, ever lies the worry that mayhap I have at last crossed the unspoken line.
The fear of insanity is not that I fear the insane, nor even that I fear for my reputation. But rather it is a fear of the loss of self. I pride myself on the exploration and understanding of deeper mysteries, most important of which is the mystery of the self. The fear is not that the world will misconstrue my actions — the world is notorious for misconstruing everything, and also for being forgiving — but that my actions are not my own. Most people are in thrall of their preconceived perceptions of the world. To the best of my capability I avoid that most despicable state, but the fear of insanity is the fear that it is no longer I who commission word and thought and action, but is some unliving ghoul, some tangle of preconceptions unrealistic unaltering which enslave the will as truly as any hidebound philosophy.
And of course, there's the fear of rejection. The fear that should I actually come out and discuss these inner thoughts, then the world would leave me cold and alone, unwilling to consort with those as would believe or feel such things. The fear that should I expose my heart to the world, the world would take it and crush it under jack-booted heel and prance off tittering at that silly boy and his silly heart as he bends over to pick up the slimy shards to put the dusty rag back into his chest and hobble on.
I'm not sure if there's a conclusion here, or if rather it is a thread which will ever haunt me. Since I first started questioning my self there has always been the question of secrecy. And these countless years later these questions still remain.