prerogative

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein41 Comments

I’m not one to agree with Bobby Brown, but it is my prerogative to change my mind.  I write things sometimes and they feel so true when I’m deep in them, but now, as I reflect on experiences I’ve had, I wonder if I was assessing properly.  We all do the best we can in the moment, but what if I was wrong?  Maybe the pit in my stomach was my own shit, not some sign.  Perhaps all that mess I craved was me stewing in miserable to feel more alive.  Maybe it was actually unhealthy not vibrant.  The fact is I’m no editor.  Though tonight I was told I often write things publicly and end up regretting writing them later.  It’s part of living an unedited life, but what if that’s what growing is about?  What if being a grown up means editing?  I’m in trouble if that’s the case.  I only feel like a grown up when I have to go to the bank or negotiate with a landlord.  Otherwise, I’m still an unedited girl, which I’m learning isn’t necessarily a good thing.  I’m second-guessing myself lately.  Wondering if I should have deleted what I have, not just off this blog but in my life.

Comments

  1. Okay, you're making me dizzy. I liked the first post best. The second one was great – but I wasn't finished with it. This one isn't bad!

    By the way, being wrong isn't the worst thing…

  2. Once I read the last post, I wondered if another "significant other" may be hurt by it, or more doubtful of the relationship. We all say and write things before really thinking them out, but often don't think of how it might reflect on others. I've done this many times, and we can't take it back, only hope that others will understand us, at that moment. Your feelings at the time though, were real to you. By your current post, if I understand it, maybe it made someone uncomfortable, or doubtful?

  3. One more thing, if you both can, but don't ever want to be without each other, then it's real. For now. But it has to be both.

  4. Dude what's going on???

    You're right it is your perogative to do whatever you'd like and right whatever you'd like. It's also your perogative to second guess yourself and things in your life. But remember that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and just roll with it.

  5. maybe it is time for you to listen to your 'heart' and give your 'mind' some rest. there is no such thing as 'second guessing' when it comes to your 'heart'. Everything is just 'as is', just like it is meant to be….

  6. I once kissed a girl outside a bar in the lower east side waiting for a cab – nothing came of it – but if we start editing and deleting things from our past – we change who we are now. Being grown up means accepting all those things we are now and have been wrong about in the past.

  7. i think it must be my current hormonal frenzy that has finally pushed me to comment on your site as ive been reading it religiously since the times article.

    i wish there was a way to comment only to you, not to the whole world that reads your blog, but i understand that is not the nature of the game. you have made your writing, your personal experiences pubic and that is your privilege and choice as a writer. i suppose it still seems somewhat odd, the notion of an emotional attachment and friendship with complete strangers via a blog. did i just say emotional attachement and friendship? god i did, im sorry, im a cancer.

    anyway, there is much i would like to say and have considered saying but the real point of this it that you should not regret an unedited life. you say what you feel at the time and those words can be raw and piercing and bitter and all sorts of adjectives, you know this. but you are not legally or morally bound to your feelings at a particular time and place in your life (not in this case it seems at least). just because you wrote it down does not mean it is written in stone. yes, honesty is sometimes painful. painful for you as a writer, painful for your readers and those close to you as well. life is also sometimes painful as we have all learned. i wish for all humanity we could take away the hurt and pain and still have the gained experience that comes as a result, but god knows that is not possible.

    stop beating yourself up for things you will never be able to change. you are better than that. i have gathered this in a few short months from few short words. there are two sides to everything, its not always as simple as right or wrong. just be who you are.. be conscious of it, be proud without being an egomaniac, be open to change.. be all those bad cliches that they told you to be in middle school. they are true and so are you.

    perk up. toot toot, beep beep.

  8. it is surprising that you still put yourself out there so completely, now that your blog has become a public forum. how do the people in your life respond when they read what you've written about them?

  9. Human memory is a fluid, dynamic construction where we do indeed edit and delete as time progresses.

    A blog is a static history of moments in time that aren't necessarily the ones that would be archived in your memory.

    Even if you hit the delete button, it's likely your words will still exist on a server somewhere in California. So take the words for what they are and just let your mind do it's natural editing.

  10. "What if part of being a grownup means editing?"

    I'd like to think that being a grown up means not having to edit. Not because you don't care anymore about what other people think, but that everything you do has already, on some level, been pre-approved, so that you don't stumble and trip and upset someone and need to go back and edit those bits out. There is no filter from my four year old's brain to her mouth that reminds her not to say "look at that ugly old man over there". When you grow up, you know to keep such thoughts to yourself. Last year I posted something mean-spirited on my blog – I hadn't meant to, it was stream of consciousness stuff – and I've been clamouring to delete the whole sorry episode from my memory ever since. It's been an ego-shattering exercise, and so far largely futile. Maybe being a grown up means not editing yourself, but forgiving yourself and moving on. In which case, I still have some growing up to do.

  11. This person posts comments under multiple names using the same IP address and an fake email address. Please resubmit.

  12. I've randomly come across your blog a week ago and I can immediately offer you the answer to your dilemma; it is very simple: you are taking yourself very seriously. Furthermore you seem to believe that "writing" about yourself may lead to superior state of knowledge. Funny. You are just a replica of Sarah Jessica Parker. Like the character of the tv series you are pretentious and self-referential. And you totally lack sense of humour. Your little world. Your little problems. It is a sad and hopeless affair. An American tragedy.

    Julian (Bologna, Italy)

  13. Don't regret what you wrote or did, that was you doing you in the heat of the moment. I have the same problem sometimes, but lately I've just said "fcuk it" and I continue to do me. Too much doubt will throw you into a myriad of self doubt and that's not healthy. Your real friends/loved ones love you no matter what and if they have a problem they will speak up, discuss and forgive. Anyone else – fcuk it.

  14. Based on Dru's comment above, I think I missed the evolution of this post. That being said, I definitely am with you on this one.

  15. I think living an unedited life is brave. It's one of the things I enjoy about your writing…it's brave. When I read this entry, I thought about how every time I fill a journal, it is inevitably thrown away some months later….our words have impact on ourselves and on others, and I toss my writing/thoughts because I am afraid of that impact….Are you worried that your words are negligent or careless? Is that what's on your mind?

  16. It's partially about regrets. I've said it before. You're an adult when you regret. But it's also that through a journal, I've been able to see my changes… see how I see things differently now. I don't necessarily believe, for example, life should only be about passion (as many of my posts emphasize). I'm learning it's about compassion too.

  17. Funny. I've edited my latest comments about 10 times. Wrote them, deleted them. Some profound stuff. Does this mean I'm an adult? More likely, it means I'm a chronic perfectionist.

    Bottom line: Regret is part of life. As you grow and learn, you realize what you thought in the past was wrong. And this never ends, unfortunately! The older you get, the more you realize you DON'T know! The words "I'm sorry", come so much more easily. If you edit yourself for every mistake you might make, you will eventually end up sitting in a corner saying nothing! Go back to the YAWP. It suits you.

  18. Steph?

    Here is something to remember and hold onto: Feelings aren't Facts. You are entitled to your feelings, and it is proof that you are insightful that you can actually change your mind about something. I see this as good, not bad!!

  19. Oh, I forgot comments don't come up immediately when you post them here anymore.

    I meant that I agree with Dru's comment from 9:30-ish this morning. Life is about learning, growing, and changing. Sometimes you will do things you may regret, but they all are on the path.

    It can be difficult, I suppose, if you blog about something and hurt someone else in the process. In When Harry Met Sally, I believe Sally said something to Harry about people not wanting to know exactly what he is thinking every moment of the day. (I could be wrong, but I really think it was that movie.) The point is some people will not alway want to hear what you have to say and it may hurt or anger them.

    I guess it's a balancing act. You have to decide who you are and what's important to you. You don't want to necessarily change who you are for someone else, of course. You would want to change for yourself. Only you can decide what is most important to you and who you are.

    I sense that you are the type that just gives a Devil may cry laugh and let's it all fly out there when you write here. It's really cool, and you have built a loyal fan base as a result. I guess it's up to you as to whether that is who you want to be in the future.

  20. I think part of being a grownup is not so much editing, but limiting the number of times we "rewind and repeat" actions and words that only now begin to loom as mistakes. But those mistakes helped carom us along to where we are.

    Editing is for term papers, business letters and books, as I'm sure you're learning. Life is linear; it's analog; and it doesn't come with a delete button.

  21. I think that part of growing, at least for me, is learning to extend compassion not only to others but also to myself. Deleting or coloring the past does happen in some ways, not with the press of a button but insofar that our relationship to our memories changes. That's one of the wonderful things about writing and reflection — as soon as you write it (the experience, the emotion, the unfolding) you are no longer exactly the same person who lived it.

    I love this site and I thank you for it.

  22. You know, Take That (a much loved, very talented and tearfully missed British band) once made a very powerful but sombre track called "Do What You Like". You should listen to the deep, evocative lyrics before answering your questions. They changed my life many years ago — and saved many people from the abyss…of that I'm sure.

  23. I often wonder this too. I think I'll be the type of woman who takes the appropriate things seriously; i.e. career, raising a family, but remains carefree and slightly immature about the rest.

  24. Thanks Justin, for elaborating on my train of thought. (Due to circumstances beyond my control, sometimes the train just leaves the station prematurely!)

    Anyhoo, you and I are together on this one. It reminds me of that song "This Is Your Life" by Switchfoot (Beautiful Letdown CD). "Are you who you wanna be??" Love the song. Actually, love the whole CD. Check it out, everybody, if you haven't already!

  25. I definitely could be wrong, but I think this post has been edited somewhere between yesterday and today? I swear I remember it reading differently yesterday. If so, how ironically humorous it is to edit a post about editing (and I don't mean anything bad by that).
    I could be remembering wrong, though. That's the funny thing about memory – it's not always accurate. Not even close. Humans look back on things through a filter that we've built out of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences that occur in the time that passes. Having that filter is great because it helps us deal with things as we MOVE FORWARD. But unfortunately it screws up our ability to accurately recall the past. That's why keeping a diary (and not editing it!) is a great way to preserve our memories intact, knowing that our filter hasn't blurred our recollection of our past selves, past lives.
    Editing is dangerous – by definition it is a post-hoc process. Editing in life is impossible. You can't change the past. Being an adult means knowing that you CAN'T edit, but still moving forward with the knowledge of the things that you WOULD edit if you could. Hopefully this helps us do better in the future than we have in the past.
    Editing in writing is a different story. I personally like the idea of making "edit" an impossible function for a blog as well. Why would you want to change an entry you've already written? It expresses what you wanted to say at that moment. If you later find you want to say something else, then ADD, don't edit.
    Finally, I think we should all eliminate the DELETE function from our lives. People, things, memories should be SAVED, not deleted.

  26. I just noticed there are a lot of amanda's posting here. Sorry if I used someone else's screenname!

  27. Hell yeah, its ok to change your mind. New experiences, new information, new discoveries all give us the ability to refine and see things differently. Your position can change, its only natural. In the heat of the moment, something can feel completely right, but later can be completely questionable. And then as we grow older and reach different stages of our life, the things that we thought were so important become less so. Your comment about passion/compassion reminds me of Dylan saying that its hard to be angry when you're a millionaire. His sudden rise to fame altered his whole reason for writing songs in the first place. It happens to everyone. You reach one goal only to discover that theres more to it.

  28. Hi Stephanie, first, let me say that you are very brave to post all of your thoughts/feelings out here in public – I admire that. I've kept diaries over the years, or e-mail records…sometimes that are so excruciating to look at that the only thing I want to do is douse them with gasoline and set them afire to somehow stop the blazing emotion. But I put them away, in a safe place where I don't have to see them and no one else can find them, and then when the pain recedes – sometimes years…it's absolutely fascinating to look at them again, and remember the depth of emotion that prompted the writing of them.

    And I'm glad you put the color picture back – beautiful! Have a happy weekend.

  29. I feel the same way. Sometimes if writing my blog causes more trouble in my relationship. I freak out about something with me and my guy, post it on the internet, and I know he reads it. He shouldn't be in my head when we're fighting but because I can't help writing it out, and he can't help reading it, I think it makes things worse. Censorship if I do, and censorship if I don't.

  30. Is this really a matter of changing ones mind?
    Feelings are registered in ones body, and they stay there forever. Other, new feelings can outweigh the old ones. Push them away so to speek. But they're all 'bound' and valued by the time and space you first registered them. When time passes, some feelings resurface. When they're positive we accept them far easier than when they're not. Time changes, places change yet not (so) much (unless you moove). People do change though, since their feelings travel a similar path as yours, though other people, times and places are involved. And so the value they put on 'past'feelings changes for them. Only by analysing and prioritizing your feelings you can work things out. But you 'll have to share with others not (so much) involved. Otherwise you would have already dealt with the(se) disturbing feelings yourself. Time can play tricks on you. It's called growing, exploring and discovering your own identity. Be who you want to be, the rest will follow, including good (or should i say better) feelings…..

  31. whatever it is that's troubling you, just forgive yourself. learn to forgive yourself. that's what i learned when i was your age (and i'm not all that much older or wiser now…) you are not perfect, and that's ok. nobody is. you exposed yourself and maybe you are feeling the random, public judgement of that now. but hey, at least you are real. and it's ok. be messed up sometimes if you want, but try to remain kind. and if you forget to be kind sometimes then try to learn from it for the next round. but don't beat yourself up endlessly. it doesn't accomplish anything. just keep moving forward, learning, and remember that some of us understand what it's like to be in your position. and it's ok, above all.

  32. There is a certain dignity which cannot be regained when you become a celeb or when you do what you do, Stephanie. It is stripped of you like purse ripped from frightened clutches in the night, as though you knew it was possible, but didn't think that it would happen to you.

    But that being said, eventhough there are a myrad of assholes who take the opporitunity to crucify you, I and most of the other readers on this site appreciate your brutal honesty about your life. Your sharing makes a lot of us get honest with ourselves, and realize that we all do crap that puts us into a vulnerable place, be it love, be it work, or have a blog. We are all the vulnerable, and the honesty is what makes you a very real person in this sea of fakes.

    Change your mind-I always thought that it was a woman's perogative to change her mind whenever she deemed necessairy? Feel free to change it whenever-we earned that right the second we started paying the phone bill and the rent. But don't second guess your heart-I have done this more than once, and it didn't work, and it left me really empty and alone.

  33. I do hope we learn to edit our actions as we mature, if what we are doing is destructive or no longer serves us. But to edit our thoughts, feelings, speech, expression? Please, never! Of course feelings are mercurial, of course they sometimes take control, only to fade away. But to capture and record those moments, share them with people who say "Ah, I know that feeling! That's me!" — that serves an important function. Not just for you, in recording the expression, but for the reader, in the self-recognition and greater awareness. . . No matter what you do, someone will be unhappy, that's life.

    I doubt you need or want the unsolicited advice, but I want to support and encourage you to keep it real, raw, unpolished and unedited. That's the way you feel, that's how you most evocatively express yourself, and that's what keeps us coming back for more ; )

  34. trish, i would argue that part of being an adult IS editing portions of your life. can you imagine life if everyone did whatever they wanted, without contemplating the consequences to others exisiting in the same world. i think it would quickly become a very insensitive and self absorbed world. now, i am sure i will hear from dissenters, but sometimes our thoughts, actions, words, etc., can be hurtful to others. and without editing those things, we can cause undue grief for other people. it is my contention that while this might make "us" happy in certain circumstances, it might hurt/sadden others, and consequently be unfair. and sure, life isnt fair, but i think we owe it to ourselves and to others to at least attempt to be as responsible as possible.

    and while some might argue that it COULD lead to a more open world, i would hazard to guess that while that might be the case at times, it would certainly not be the case in every instance. and i would thus proclaim an unedited life selfish and irresponsible.

  35. Trust your intuition, no matter what.

    This coming from a woman who ignored her intuition and is now suffering after learning her boyfriend has been living a double life: me in Portland, Oregon and another girl there in Manhattan whose name is on the loft here in Portland, whose stuff was in the drawers.

    Sometimes in order to see the truth, we simply have to look.

  36. Apparently, I missed the initial entries. Ah well, life ploddingly moves on and I'll contentedly remain fifteen minutes behind for the rest of mine…

    So… to be or not to be, to edit or not to edit – is this really the question? But, of course, being grown up means editing is a must. The inbred sense of assessing oneself is not just begun as an adult. Editing functions have been going on for as long as we can remember (or not remember). Enhanced insight works similarly; exercise makes muscles stronger, and anything you don't use you lose, blah, blah, blah. However, the efficiency with which one improves these skills is what changes over time, when practiced often enough.

    Are you remembering that editing can be used passively – BEFORE words are spoken and acts are committed? It's not done exclusively after what becomes the obvious. So, trying to approach life as a RESPONSIBLE Peter Pan is usually much more fun in the long run. You entwine the endearing qualities of being a child – humility and vulnerability – unedited, of course, with conscientious thoughts inserted as discernment through the eyes of an adult. This makes ya 'wanna grow up,' because the revolving edit door we're all born with, opens more naturally if we retain that child-like sense of wonder and spontaneity, even while at the bank.

    Behaving like a grown up is much ado about manners – achieving the necessary restriction of our "loudest behaviors" – and the other elements of this tight rope act delineate how we tango in our relationships. Huh? What I mean is this: to determinedly live one's life 'straight up and dirty,' you'll be faced with confronting the insulated mix of behaving childishly as an unedited self; versus weighing the benefit of protecting others from the more emotional manipulation of being "completely real." Ideally, clarifying the consequences ahead of time of how a thought and deed affects one's position, avoids the cloaking of a more immature lack of self-control. I'm thinking here as an example, of how children we are often wont to do just the opposite of this in the middle of the supermarket floor. So, an adult must incite not just repeating the apologies and avoiding the regrets of childhood, but additionally learn enhanced consideration of our powers behind the impact we exert upon others through our behavior. Enter the edited life.

    This is nature's ramification control. Children regret lifting that cookie typically when found out and forced to face up to their impulsivity. This doesn't change in our lives as adults! Regret remains everpresent and doesn't disappear when we hit milestones, and most definitely not when 'losing face.' It's an emotion ingeniously designed by our Maker as a catalyst for change (but, not necessarily improvement). When one's fleeting, but free-falling realities sometimes leave unedited emotions out of the mix – online or elsewhere – we all benefit. Whether we love the recipients of these dalliances or not doesn't really matter, as it's the unconditional acceptance earned by unedited behavior that all of us crave, and inherently this drives most of our intentions from within.

    Personally, I love to edit. It gives second chances to do better, and increases layering of choices, emotions. It keeps reactions flexible. It's an invitation to change in conjunction with the facts. It so prevents repeats of conditioned mistakes, using quick-as-lightening fluidity of thought as a prevailing force. It steers your perspectives, rather than reducing responses to willy-nilly actions that can wind up ultimately slipping out of gear. Even better, there's less worry about spilt proverbial milk, drawing shades of grey outside black-and-white lines, and speaking clearly of wants and woes. When diplomacy and tact are present alongside of honesty of emotion, this is a genuine seal of reaching adulthood. It sets us apart from our counterparts, and has been going on all along for most of us as an involuntary and much desired process.

    What's been increasingly interesting to me regarding this blog is that comments written from the "peanut gallery" do not have the option of making changes after hitting "post;" they cannot be edited and yet you often do, Stephanie, appearing to exercise this option regularly in making content, spelling or clarification changes. Remember, as you decide whether or not you will incorporate this technique into your adult life, that editing is a luxury to be valued, and a gift to be given to others. 'Site under construction' and 'work in progress' usually suits humans beautifully, too.

  37. Crap! – sorry for the double (now triple) comment – having trouble with my Internet. I didn't think the first one took. Why can't I go back and edit, delete the first post! I feel your pain ; )

    It takes courage to break out of the pack, question everything, and form our own authentic identities, find our own truths. I think that’s the maturation process. Trying to do and say the “right” and “polite” thing always won’t get you there; that will keep you being a “good girl,” not a fully actualized adult.

  38. jayne, i simply wonder if you would feel the same way about editing if you were on the receiving end of something hurtful. i would guess that you would, under those circumstances, wish that the person possibly used a bit of restraint, or at the very least consideration, prior to writing about you. and honestly, i never even saw the post in question, that was subsequently edited. i simply know that bloggers have a somewhat unfair advantage as they can post what they want, and then choose as to whether the person they wrote about (and this assumes that they were even aware of it) has the opportunity to rebut/refute the commentary about them.

    i read all the time comments about "i wonder if the anonymous commenter would say such things if they were speaking to you in person". well, i would say the same thing about the blogger. often times, the person about which the post is written never gets the opportunity to try to voice their opinion, tell their side of the story, or set the record straight. and the rebuttal from the legions of blog admirers (and the blogger themselves at times) is "this is my blog, i can write what i want, and everyone has to just deal with it".

    and sure, your answer might be "i would prefer someone to say what they want/feel about me, even if it might be hurtful". and my answer to that would be that its easy to say that when it isnt you thats being disparaged, or having your personal life posted up for the world to read.

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