I have a philosophy of radical transparency which sometimes gets me into HOT hot water. But painful as the scalding is, I keep doing it. I keep trying to tell as much of the truth about myself as loudly as I can to the people around me because I've become constitutionally averse to the practice of hiding anything about myself and my true nature.
Sometimes I overstep bounds and end up oversharing-- which sucks, and I'm learning to have more finesse with that-- but in my heart I know I would rather err on the side of too-much-truth than too-much-hiding. In fact, I highly recommend it to all geniuses.
Here are some of the rich benefits of not hiding:
1. More space on my dance card - The folks who can't cope with what I have to say and the truth I have to tell leave. This is really scary-- but also really freeing. Because once they're gone I no longer have to spend time persuading or appeasing them. I've lost a few friends this way-- and I'm glad I did.
2. More energy -- When I'm transparent, I let go of my control over other people's opinion of me. Since I'm just being who I am as honestly as I can, I'm not manipulating or managing anything. This frees up my creative and emotional energy.
3. I find more people to collaborate with. The people who genuinely like who I am and what I have to offer can find me and know me because I'm letting my freak flag fly. They can walk right up and say "Hi!" and feel confident that we're on the same page-- because I'm being really open about what page I'm on -- even though that page is rather weird and far-out. It's my page, damnit, and I'm on it.
4) Less stress -- I don't have to jump through the mechanical performance of trying to be someone I'm not-- when I'm truthful about my real limitations and my real beliefs right from the get-go I don't let people peg me with false expectations and I therefore don't unconsciously try to meet their expectations. I just show up and I give what I can as freely as I can.
Because I enjoy the benefits of radical transparency so much, I've decided to be radically transparent with my students in my Reading Poetry class this semester about who I am and what I really think. I'm not selling the university's agenda or any notion of academic literary studies any more. I'm offering the real way that I allow poetry on the page and in life to read and change me.
So I put this little list of things about myself and my views on the syllabus for this term, and I'm kinda proud of it, so I'd figured I'd share it here:
- Poems are like hits of acid and can massively alter your consciousness. This means they need to be treated with respect and ingested properly.
- I think our entire educational system is corrupt; I expect most of the things you’re offered in college won’t actually help you in life at all; I’m trying to make this class an exception to that.
- I haz a blog which you are welcome to read: www.awesomeyourlife.com.
- I haz a Facebook and a twitter, too: @carolynhoney. You’re welcome to friend me.
- I don’t really read new poetry unless it’s by a friend of mine. I think most contemporary publishing poets are bores and charlatans. (And yes, I know that’s mean and I’m working on letting that go, but there it is—that’s what’s true today.)
- Poems completely rewired my brain (see point #1) making it impossible for me to write a conventional doctoral dissertation, which means I won’t get a degree and that has made me sad a lot but also might be kind of a good thing because conventional doctoral dissertations in English kind of suck and also I like my rewired brain better than the old one I had.
- My book is on ending suffering genius but somedays I still suffer, a lot. I think that’s because not suffering as a genius is sort of a day-by-day , moment-by-moment thing like not smoking cigarettes as a former smoker.
- I’m part of a group which throws big conscious art parties and hosts other rad events, called Evolver Pittsburgh. Perhaps you would like to check our stuff out on Facebook. I’ve been thinking maybe I should start a chapter of Evolver right here at Pitt—what do you think?
- I really love parties—but not beer-soaked ones— I like strange and mysterious ones, preferably with costumes and fire-spinning.
- I sometimes pray to the spirits of Emerson, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Emerson and Dickinson have stained glass windows in Heinz Chapel so that makes it easy.