Can humans handle the truth?

can-you-handle-the-truthOn a site I follow called The Gift of Writing, Natalie Trust wrote an insightful blog Paper Can Handle the Truth. In the second sentence she says this: “The ink giving way to emotion, letters becoming large and lose, traveling down the page. With each phrase scrawled in my journal, I felt a little bit of relief.”

That is how I feel when I write about the ups and downs of living with dementia; for the really difficult or painful moments, my private blog gets a real hammering long before the words get to being published on my blog. Thankfully. And it is a relief.

It is such a relief to write the truth, without fear of reprimand or being told I couldn’t feel like I feel, or that I’m wrong, or even that I’m right. It is a relief simply to get it out.

It seems paper can handle the truth, but can we? Often not, or at least not without being defensive, angry, hurt, and sometimes even going on the attack. I’ve had people attack me on this blog, where my words have been toned down, so one can only wonder the level it would get to if I shared my private writings!

Natalie also wrote: “Of course, it can be frightening to see yourself reflected in your own handwriting, but the paper doesn’t judge you, only you are there, faced with the choice to be gentle or harsh with the truths on the pages in your hands. I didn’t always choose to be gentle.”

I don’t always choose to be gentle either. Not even here, as my promise to myself is to say it as I see or feel it, but hopefully without hurting someone else. I don’t mind if I offend or annoy occasionally, but I never mean to hurt anyone or defame them. If I ever hurt you with my words, do let me know, and in advance I apologise unconditionally. We judge ourselves, often more harshly than others judge us, but judge us others do, and often with a great sense of self-righteousness. I understand that perfectly. I used to be like that. Sometimes I still am…

When writing goes public, it ultimately stops the need to be in control, to be right or wrong, or to be anything other than honest, as reading something that you’ve written, and that others might read as well, needs to be from the heart, and brave and candid. Otherwise, what is the point?

12 thoughts on “Can humans handle the truth?

  1. You’re so brave for airing your thoughts publically. I can’t believe that you’ve even had offensive comments to your posts …. what right do people have to say these sorts of things, especially on this type of blog? Our freedoms are greater now, but people seem to think that it comes with the right to be outrightly rude! Getting this type of criticism and maybe even abuse is more than just black and white and can really cause unhappiness. I know from personal experience.

    • I suspect what I’ve experienced is nothing compared to the cyber bullying teenagers talk about… hiding behind a screen makes it way too easy for people to be thoughtless, rude, offensive, hurtful, or bullying. Sadly, writing honestly about something like dementia, that is outside of what people expect, makes many quite determined to tell me I’m wrong, when all I write about is how it is for me. Such is life.. thanks for your unending support, and mine is there for you too…

  2. Kate, what an excellent job you have done with this entry (and so many others) conveying one of the essential challenges of writing, sharing one’s writing, and serving as an advocate. Bravo! I am honored to count you as a sister and ally in this journey.

  3. Kate you should not have to apologise for what your thoughts are on your own blog. I’m sure everyone who follows your blog would know that you would never mean to hurt anyone with your words, but as you said, people do judge. But ….. keep up your blog, it’s a wonderful outlet. I find my own blog is very healing and therapeutic for me, as once I get my words out of my head and onto the screen, I find I relax, as everything is not going round in my head anymore. Take care 🙂

    • Thanks for your support, but it seems I’m often getting into trouble for speaking up about things I find either offensive, or against the basic human rights of people with dementia… but… it won’t stop me! Have a great weekend, and let’s try and make that date soon? x

  4. Reblogged this on Forget-Me-Not and commented:
    As always, Kate Swaffer hits the nail on the head. It is frightening when words are written down but it is also a great relief to get it out of your head and onto paper or a computer screen.

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