I have been thinking a lot lately about truth and narrative, about the ongoing curating ourselves and our histories. My husband S is up for a job soon that could possibly be game-changing for us. He has to go through a second interview and present his best face, even though he already knows the interviewers through other work. We want to adopt a child from the foster system, and to do so we will need to go through the homestudy. In either case, we want to be open and honest, but how do we decide which information is relevant? How much of what we present is factual in any case, when we get to questions of attitude and aptitude? How much of the curating is even conscious?
What I am trying to say is... presenting any aspect of yourself to the world leaves out so much complexity that it is exceedingly easy to be misjudged. And no one ever remains unjudged. Let's start with social media, since that is an easy target. Everyone curates a (best?) version of their self on social media (at least I hope, otherwise there are a lot of wine-swilling mamas and extremely humourless feminists in my circle...not to mention one individual who seems to think about the pending Illuminati takeover all day, every day.) You can post, 'like', quiz, etc and build up the version you want to show. It is pretty easy to decide - and control- what you want out in the world.
Not so easy when it is a face to face interaction, like an interview or a homestudy. S thinks he is the God Of All Wooden Arty Things, and I believe him, but will the interviewers? I believe we are even-tempered, supportive, loving and not-to-mention-superfun parents to Panda and Pickle, but will a child services worker see us the same way?
Okay, now I have thought myself into a corner.
What I am trying to say is...narrative is important. It builds our identities inside as much as outside. My sister is a master of this - she has been reinventing her past (relentlessly, and in the face of photographic proof to the contrary and not to mention I was there) for years. She has built the perfect self, the self she wants most. Now, I think most of us want to live (buzzword alert) 'authentic lives', but what is that really? Is it more authentic to recognize the journey that brought her to the person she now is inside, or is it okay to for her to retrofit her history to match her current self, because she feels she will be judged on mistakes of the past, even though to the world at large those mistakes were minor and easily understandable?
Okay, no- that isn't what I want to say; this isn't about my sister at all.
What I am trying to say is... we are all a story, written by us, but read by others in their own private language. We each have our own arc, and our own denouement. In the best cases our story is interesting to us. In the worst cases it is a policy manual ghostwritten by outside expectations.
None of this is really what I am trying to get to the heart of, though some of it is in some part. If anyone knows what I am trying to say, drop me a line....