Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Is honesty my default setting?
I was tempted to answer “yes!” rather emphatically, but that wouldn’t be 100% honest with myself.
And there’s the challenge. Sometimes living in the world means telling yourself–and others–not precisely lies, but half-truths or interpretations. Black-and-white honesty can be brutal, and it can do more harm than good, especially to those you care deeply about. Honestly delivered with tact and understanding is a difficult skill to develop, and there’s a reason why therapists undertake years of training to learn how to do it. Most of us aren’t therapists. Sometimes there is a point where we need to find the modicum of honesty that is necessary. We also have to understand that our interpretations of the facts is just that–an interpretation. “Being honest” can be an altruistic thing–or a completely malicious one, depending on intent.
Being honest with yourself? That, too, is hard, and subject to interpretation. I am renowned for beating myself up over small things. It’s a hard habit to break. I do much better with the Big Issues, but even then, it’s often a process of understanding that I expect will continue until the day I take my last breath.
This is where this road ends. My year of these daily prompts concludes with this one. It’s been a good journey, and useful in encouraging me to think daily about philosophy. But towards the end, especially, it made writing a chore–one I am looking forward to having a break from. I am going to continue to write frequently, but it will likely go back to a couple of times per week (on the average), and instead of short updates I’ll go back to longer things.
I am never going to be a pure Stoic–but there is much in that philosophy that I find congruent, and I’ve enjoyed the chance to explore the writings a little more–and the challenge to have the courage to be true to those things I believe most deeply. It’s been 365 tumultuous days. We’ve made it through the US election and the Jan. 6 insurrection; the sense of panic has receded a bit but there is yet the danger of failing democracy. We’ve lived through a full year of the pandemic, with its various ebbs and falls, with the introduction of vaccines, and now with the cautious resumption of those activities that are closest to my heart–concerts and SCA events, and some limited travel, but especially the chance to start to gather again with friends. There have been eyeopening–if not unexpected–discoveries of unmarked graves on the sites of residential schools, and I have taken on the responsibility of learning more about the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. There’s been a Canadian election, too, with results I am generally happy to live with. I’ve helped a friend edit a CA. I’ve had an article published.
And finally, I am now feeling a little better about looking forward to things again. To again thinking about making plans for future concerts. To think that maybe, perhaps, next summer I might go to a play at Stratford again.
Don’t get me wrong. I still am cautious, and I still do not set my heart on anything. Each event, each day with friends, each concert–it is a gift, and I know that, and treat it as such. I am still here. I am still learning.
This is a day of import for another reason: Two years ago today, we brought home Furiosa. She has turned into a wonderful little cat that will run ahead of you wanting attention and still will often purr if you just look at her. And the other cats are mostly chill with her, too, although not to the point of curling up with each other. But the hisses are a thing of the past.
I am continuing to hit milestones on my embroidery work. I have the first main block done–the part that I absolutely needed to get completed. It was not without challenges–the goldwork embroidery needed some adjustments (I had to pick out a few parts as I had made them too large) but I am extremely happy with it so far.
Tomorrow: I am specifically NOT going to post. In fact, it may be several days, as I push to prep for this coming weekend. I think I’ve earned it.