Friday, 23 January 2009

To emote or not to emote.....

"In "real life" (and I use this term quite loosely), Sarge is my blogging touchstone. When I met him in college, at a time and at an age when I and everyone else was emoting all over the place, being touchy-feely, revealing all manner of personal secrets and shadows just to get attention or hook up, boys and girls alike, Sarge was dignified and loath to unload all his personal business. He's still like that, god bless him, and I aspire to his masterful circumspection. Let's be honest, though, I often consider his perspective and then go on to shamefully emote and reveal anyway..."

This excerpt from Leah's "The Weather in the Streets" focuses on an issue that goes round and round in my head.
I am someone who will probably tell you what I think and how I feel about most things, I will quite possibly tell you without being invited to do so, I may tell you in an overly emotional way and I may regret it later, although most times I don't.
I think that this way of being is inbuilt and while it can be problematic at times I also think that the world we live in seems to has an unneccessary bias against it.
I don't remember Leah ever saying anything on her blog that was terribly offensive or inappropriate, she has revealed things that many of us would keep private but as far as I can tell, nobody thinks less of her for doing so. In this case then, why does she refer to emoting shamefully? What is shameful about it?
I suspect that, like me, she has felt some pressure telling her that her way of being in the world is somehow less than what it should be and I have to ask why? What makes Sarge's "dignified circumspection" better? Why does Leah aspire to that? Why do I aspire to that?

I have a friend who delights in telling me that not every thought must be uttered and his point is well taken, lots of thoughts are not really suitable for public hearing but I have to say that for me, pretty much every thought does have to be uttered. For me it doesn't exist until it has taken shape in words and those words need to be organised into some kind of utterance. Those thoughts which need to be uttered might be said as part of an internal monologue, they might be blogged or written in a journal, they might need to be vocalised to an appropriate audience. The whole trick is to pick the right mode of expression.

I don't have any conclusion to make here but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. I would also like to know whether a natural tendency to dignified circumspection is ever problematic and are there any advantages to a more transparent style?


  1. I'm not afraid to admit you lost me on this one. The way my brain is misfiring right now I couldn't follow any of it. But I did read it and that's what counts.

    Hi Kylie.

  2. oh, i wondered whether it was clear. is it your brain or my writing?
    a few more comments might reveal

  3. I get it! But of course, we're both talking about the same thing...

    It's really an interesting question, isn't it.

    I think I find myself more often around more emotive people, my family of origin being exceedingly expressive. My friends and I really let it all hang out over coffee and on the phone, and so I'm used to doing it all the time, and realize sometimes that I need to put a stop on my mouth. I've always been attracted to circumspect men because it seems almost exotic. Luckily, Sarge isn't a total clam though--he'll talk when talking needs to be done!

    I have come to the conclusion that, overall, although expressiveness and emotiveness are good social traits, circumspection is more unusual and lends a certain air of dignity, whether deserved or not. (have you read "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"? If you have, maybe you catch my reference? The mute who misleads everyone?)

    But it's true, my sister for one won't even read my blog anymore--she used to religiously-- she thinks I go waaaay overboard. I guess I just can't help it, at the end of the day. I must communicate!!!!!

  4. I understand your post totally. I am an extremely social person, and usually I say what is on my mind. Especially if it is the truth. I have a tendency to be very blunt sometimes and I have no patience for stupidity. I am married to my exact polar opposite. He is quiet, observant. He remembers even the most insignificat conversations and has the tendency to dredge them back up years later. Leaving me looking mystified at his brillance. But I am who I am and noone can change it. Just and Kylie and Leah are who they are, and frankly, who would want to change us. We are interesting and we make the world go round. At least where our families are concered.

  5. Fantastic post my friend!

    Honesty vs dignified circumspection...

    I think theres a time and a place for both ;)

    They're both important...

    I love your style its the right balance between the two,

    Much love, M

  6. It's hard for me to be straight out about things I think and feel but I believe that a big reason for that is the way I was raised. "Making a scene" was not, but definitely not, encouraged.

    And my elders' definition of "making a scene" is quite broad!

    I sometimes wonder if that might be the reason that so many of my family drink. Because the next day, all can smile and say, "Oh, well, X had had one too many, don't ya know. Wasn't it silly and meaningless, the things he/she said while in his/her cups?"

    Wonderful posts today, Kylie and Leah...and I do really mean that!!

  7. I've struggled with this my whole life. Growing up, my family emoted like crazy (lies mostly), tromped all over any and all feelings present, made outlandish claims and feigned horror at challenge. I cringe at the mere memory. I wrote and maintained the "dignity."

    One day I met Gary and therein I met a REALLY dignified guy (read: WAY TOOOOOO QUIET!) I tore his shell off (figuratively, of course) and found him brilliant through and through. His family suffers from a complete lack of emotion -- zero . . . zip. I was a raging extrovert in their presence because I had an opinion I felt comfortable expressing. Tailspin of emotion and fear as I reworked the "fitting in" thing.

    I gave it up after a bit and just became ME. It's so much easier, even if some find me prissy while others find me outspoken -- no sense trying to do the impossible and please everyone.

    Fast forward . . . my kids are outgoing, brilliant, witty, LOUD, and WELL ADJUSTED! I envy their confidence at such a young age, but joyfully join them with aplomb. I like me . . . maybe some don't (yep!) but most find me likeable (or I guess they avoid me). I have found no problem getting along with ALL types. I enjoy REAL people, and some of those emote while others sit and absorb (or tune it all out ... politely).

    Great post! I feel so much better after emoting all over your comments section. (This probably counts as four or FIVE!) : D

  8. I admire people who can express their emotions and be open. Obviously the expression has to be in an appropriate place and with appropriate people. You have to be a little bit 'cirumspect' about what effect your expression is having on other people around you- is it making them uncomfortable/embarrassed/afraid? In revealing your own emotions you can leave yourself open to hurt or ridicule.
    I am always guarded about revealing too much because I work in a health profession and have learned to keep a 'professional distance'. Unfortunately this spills over into my personal life. When I had my first baby for at least week, maybe more, I treated him like all the babies I had looked after in the maternity ward where I was working at the time- ie- change, feed, wrap and put back in cot! it was quite a while before he got a real mothering close cuddle.
    The variences in out personalities are what makes people so interesting-
    Vive La Difference!

  9. bob,

    i didnt say hi

    sending you hugs


  10. leah,
    hi :)

    my mum and my brother are expressive, dad and 'na less so but i think i was so busy saying what i needed to say that i didnt even realise that some people dont act that way!

    i do often find a circumspect person easier to respect, which means i can put them on a pedestal but i have realised that ultimately i have a much better understanding of the talkers.

    i havent read "the heart is a lonely hunter" but i long ago observed that pretty much any fool can appear dignified, wise even, if they keep their mouth shut!

    i cant imagine what your sis finds overboard but i guess she knows you in a different way....

    i have to say that, like you, i am compelled to communicate.
    if i sometimes go too far i think i'd rather be true to myself and get it wrong sometimes than to shut up forever



    wow, i've just realised how late it is and whaty i have to do.....
    i'll be back!

  12. cece,
    i have also been accused of bluntness. even when i thnk i am exceedingly diplomatic people believe i am blunt. i hope that i dont hurt people but i like to make sure my message is clear.theres no point in delivering an important message so obliquely that it is missed!

    we do make the world go round, for sure. imagine if everyone was quietly dignified :)


  13. ahhhh....

    encouraging and gracious as always!

    i think if you knew me you might see that the balance is sometimes off :) but thanks.


  14. hi megan,
    you are so right, there are things that i wouldnt regard at all as "making a scene" but others think it's outrageous!

    families are funny things aren't they? the dynamics are so complicated at times. if you can teach liam a better way to go that will improve thngs for all the generations to follow....


  15. hey deb!
    you are most welcome to emote all over my comments page :)

    that trick of being happy with ones self is the key to so much. if we want to please others all the time we twist ourselves in knots in the process. of course most of us need a coupla rough edges knocked off to complete the picture

    bless ya

  16. megan,
    i didnt mean that as an order, more as encouragement :)

  17. cinnamon,
    i have often wondered how health professionals (or anyone else who gets up close to others' lives) manage to keep the distance they need. it never even occurred to me that some of you would do it more naturally than others :)

    i'm with you:
    vive le difference!

  18. I'll take all the encouragement I can get! ;)

  19. I've been ill the past few days, so I'm almost with Bob, but not quite!!!!! You never lost me! I'm just so ill Mommy!!!

    I'll simplifiy it for all of you. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If all else fails, delete!!! Seriously.

    Circumspect? I don't know. I'm attracted to a smart, thinker, doer. That's an accurate description. Right? Oh, and he should look like Johnny Depp.

    Love you baby,
    Me XO

  20. Hi Kylie,
    How's Zackky doing? Are your kids going back this week after the Australia Day holiday or are they going back on the 2nd feb?

  21. suzie,
    sorry to hear you've been a bit crook but you're here now, so things must be lookin up :)

    yeah, i like circumspect men.
    i like talkative men
    i like doers
    i like thinkers
    and lookers...

    take care babe

  22. jo, hi!
    the kids are back at school this week. the holidays have just disappeared in a blur of, i dunno....stuff!

    zakky still isnt walking but he seems really happy and he continues to gain strength.
    i took him to the chiro yesterday, she spent a long time with him and he was very calm. his hip and shoulder were both almost dislocated and there were numerous other injuries. mary thinks that when the inflammation decreases he should improve further.
    his improvement so far has been miraculous (and i'm not just using that word because it sounds good)
    and i'm hoping for a full recovery for him

    the kids have found it a tough week, the girls especially so i'm grateful that things have gone well.

    thanks for your continuing interest

    love to mark & helen


  23. Thanks for your reply. Helen goes back on the 2nd feb because the state goverment says that having four curriculam days a year is too much. So teachers are going back on tuesday to friday and having those days instead of spread out over the year. It is good for Helen as she has just had a week of summer music camp and needs to recover. Also still has some year 11 homework to do. She is supposed to have read 2 novels to prepare for the year.Oh, she has just said i'm going to read them this week. Talk about cutting it fine with her work.
    Good to hear about Zackky. I didn't know (chiro) they would work with animals. Anyway have a good week and hope it is not to hot.


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