As much as we reveal in our blogging, we conceal at least the same amount and maybe more. I’m sure it’s not just me. Why do we do it?

Despite electronic media, I like privacy. The rusty underbelly of my life is not for public viewing. What is wrong and right my life isn’t stable. It’s mobile. It flows. The world is up or down,  forever in flux.

If I write about it, whatever it was becomes fixed. Suddenly, it’s a “thing.” Even when the moment has long since moved on, you are still fielding feedback from your original post. I have learned — the hard way — that you should really not say anything you don’t want to be dealing with three years from now. The Internet is forever, even if your troubles are not.

What is wrong or right depends on myriad minor details. It is rarely worth writing about the little problems unless the event holds some kind of universality. As an example, anything involving customer service and the perils of dealing with it, is global. No one gets out of life alive — or without getting disconnected by customer service. Most other stuff tends to be forgotten as soon as you get over that bump. If you write about it, it becomes permanent. You have etched it in virtual stone.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

My other reason for not bothering to write about the little complaining stuff is because it’s not interesting. The tedious remembering of those icky, gritty details is boring to read and equally boring to write. Whining is dull. Mine and yours. Dull as dirt. Despite this, at least half the Internet is filled with people complaining about stupid stuff they won’t remember in 24 hours. For a fair number of people, complaining is the only thing they do.

There are people who show up on my timeline about whom I can’t remember ever reading anything which was not a complaint. They live tragic lives. Ask them. They will tell you in intimate detail — they are the most unlucky people on Earth. Because everything always happens to them.

A pipe breaks? “OMG we’re doomed!”

Flu strikes? “Why am I afflicted by the gods? Why is the universe punishing me?”

A lost cell phone? “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

Their cars never run. Their jobs never last. The go from one job to another and the same stuff happens at each one, yet they never wonder if maybe they might be doing something wrong. Their relationships are doomed from the start because that’s what they expect.

The other day, it struck me that all of us have a more or less equal number of bumps in our road of life as anyone else, but not all of us view each as a calamity. Unless it makes a good story.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Much of the pleasure of blogging is getting to present ourselves and our world in a positive way. Unless you blog for sympathy — and some people do — blogging lets you show off some of the nice stuff in your life. In my virtual world, I can be better than I really am. I can be more fun.

Who said “full disclosure” is what blogging is about? Not me. Writing about the grimy details of life is like posting ugly selfies. Why would anyone want to do that? I’d rather make you laugh.

I’d rather make me laugh.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

27 thoughts on “WHAT WE SAY, WHAT WE DON’T SAY”

      1. Agree 110%. I like to share pleasant stuff. Make people smile or laugh. There’s enough whining, complaining and ugly accusation on social media to last myriad generations. People don’t care about your paper cuts.


  1. I don’t know about “full disclosure,” but your blog is an open book compared to mine. I blog anonymously, so what you know about me isn’t much. You know my gender (perhaps), my age (old), that I’m from California and live in the city, that I’m liberal, that I’m married, and that we have a dog and a cat. Hmm. Come to think of it, that’s more than I thought you knew about me.

    Did I make you laugh? Or at least smile a little?


    1. Those of us who are good at deducing know more, but that’s not the point. If you didn’t make stuff personal, no one would read it. It would be boring. It’s the personal stuff that makes it interesting. But HOW personal is a different issue. There’s personal and then there’s TMI, Finding that line .. well … some people don’t seem to know there IS a line.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As the saying goes: “It’s a wise (Wo)Man who knows when to keep H(er)is mouth shut!”

    These days it is a much wiser one who knows when and what to type and what not to! 😉

    Or, putting it another way: “What is said can soon be forgotten – but what goes on the web is likely there forever.”

    Always remember the Golden Rule: “Drinking and typing don’t mix well!” 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s good to know what is public material and what isn’t. I don’t have that much deep material to worry about, but personal spats between people are one of the many things I never write about. First of all, they are temporary and don’t mean anything and second of all, why does ANYONE need to know that? That’s my TMI.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While I do believe venting can be cathartic I also believe there is such a thing as too much venting. It’s okay to let your close friends and family know when you’ve had a rough day but for the whole world to be privy to all your daily ups and downs is a bit much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good to be reminded that it can be all too easy to blurt to world. It’s actually quite a dangerous facility. E.g. there could be temptations to wreak revenge; set records ‘straight’, and all that kind of tit for tat stuff. So yes, more power to making others, and ourselves feel better, by being entertainingly personal without unseemly revelations.


    1. Luckily, I’ve always been very quiet about personal stuff because revenge has a funny way of backfiring. If you’re gonna do something ugly and sneaky, that is exactly when you need to shut up about it. Publication is not likely to get it done 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a blog backroom where all my whinging and fussing goes. Once it’s written down, it stays there. If I can’t find humor in it, or a fitting parallel to other things, if I can’t find the deeper meaning in it (and most whinging has none) then it stays in the backroom. And once written out, Im happy to leave it there.


    1. That’s why (I think) we write about battles with banks and tech support and not about battles with bosses and boyfriends Because everyone deals with the banks and the tech people, but personal issues with people we actually care about? Those are not for publication. Especially because the tendency is that when you “expose” it, it takes it from a little spat and turns it into “the end of the world.” I don’t think that’s what we really want. Usually.


  6. I like to think I can ADD something to someone.

    And I think it’s all wonderful – despite the very tough stuff that we go through.
    We are alive. We have BEING – We have Love. Gift of unpayable and glorious proportions.

    There is rainbow over that mountain. And I’m heading for it.


    1. I’m with you. Begin alive is a big deal, especially these days when so many people we know are seriously ill. We are at an age when the number of friends is rapidly diminishing. Yay for us still being here.


  7. I was bored silly the other night and so tapped into an on-line psychic reader guy. This person proved why it’s wise to keep anonymity on the web. Well to me (and yeah I’m prone to b*tch a lot at stuff I can’t do anything about nor change, but b*tching about it helps me not commit suicide some times, so there’s that…) This person began to address me as “Emily” because of the “Em” in my Embeecee nomenclature used on line. I’m not “Emily”, not that there’s anything wrong with the name “Emily”, but this idiot was supposed to be psychic (chuckle guffaw snort). At least I KNOW my ‘cover’ works pretty well… IMHO (for what THAT’s worth) nobody intelligent gives out random certifiable information about themselves online unless they are extremely stupid. ID thieves and hackers and random other bottom dwellers leap on that stuff quicker than a duck on a june bug. Keep writing dear, you ARE hilariously funny (IMHO) and laughter is much needed in this old world, along with the healthy dose of common sense you seem to possess. Cheers.


    1. I’m pretty loose these days because we don’t really have much to lose. If it was lose-able, we already lost it. We don’t have money, valuable stuff and our bank account is essentially empty.

      As for psychics: there are things a psychic can “feel” and many that he or she can’t. It depends on who they are and what they are sensitive to. I try to avoid psychic stuff because over the years, I realized — I don’t want to know. Psychic can become creepy really fast.


  8. Good post Marilyn. I think we do want to sound better than we are to our online friends and the world at large. Some things life throws at you are too big not to mention but they don’t need to be dwelled on just acknowledged.
    I do read my drafts before posting and if I’m in a bad mood and have written a ranty post or comment I will sometimes delete it because other people don’t need to hear it. I’m also aware that family members and friends read my blog and if i offend I will have to live with the consequences.


    1. I delete a lot of posts. Occasionally they hang around for weeks before I finally decide it’s a no go. I have learned to NOT post anything ranty or whiny without letting it sit at least 24 hours. Sometimes I barely mention something, but everyone picks it up anyway, like Garry’s upcoming (when???) cochlear implants. People often surprise me in a good way.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh dear…if I wrote about all the things that bother me, upsets me or the lows in life, it would be never ending. But that is life and we all have problems. I have enough of my own and don’t care to read other peoples personal problems. Why depress myself? I would rather read interesting things. Like your kind of stuff. Fluffy happy is a no go for me too!


    1. It’s a fine line between whining, ranting, and just telling a good story. I dance along that line a lot and I delete a lot of posts that I think have gone one way or the other. It’s an interesting line, though. You need to say enough or your posts get really bland … but if you say more than you want to, you’re going to be fielding questions you really aren’t ready for. But I love writing, so it’s kind of fun. Also, truth be told at my age, there’s not nearly that much to hide. Retirement is simpler than working.

      Liked by 2 people

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