Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What is "True"? What is "Valid"?

A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with my sister about the lens of memory and its personal nature. This led me to consider who has the right or privilege to determine what is authentic or valid when we're engaging in our own narrative. I pointed out to her that I've tried to be clear as I've composed this blog that it's from my perspective, but there have been times that it's become a matter of debate.

So, who gets to define truth? Who determines what's valid? Who gets to say that their version of events is the most accurate, or in the more emotionally-charged sense, 'correct'?

My perspective will be at variance with hers- when I write, I'm talking about how *I* experienced something. This isn't about consensus, it's about being honest with ourselves about how we experienced certain things. Does anyone have the right to force us to change the story so that it lies more in their comfort zone? In my opinion, no. That robs the author of so many things, and at the very heart of it, it demoralizes and dehumanizes him or her.

Writing is my catharsis. As much as I talk, a lot of it is a defense mechanism because I'm socially awkward and don't know how to really relate to others. I do better when I can collect myself and commit my thoughts in writing. It's my release valve, so does anyone get to tell me that I'm not allowed to do it because it makes them uncomfortable? No. I'm not lying. I'm not airing the dirty linen. I'm pushing things out of my head so that they're not jacking up my blood pressure or causing me to lose sleep.

There is a degree of circumspection, and of course, a lot of what I write from here on out is governed by my employer's newly-minted social media policy. If you've noticed, I've hidden some of my earlier posts that may touch, however vaguely, on matters related to my life in academe- it's an editorial decision based on self-preservation, more than anything.

So here we are. I claim ownership of my ideas, of my past, and of my opinions. I claim the right to write them from my own perspective, but I can't force anyone to process them in any particular way. That's just the nature of intellect...

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