Truth Or Dare
Somewhere in the skies above me is a plane carrying my son and 7,987 of his classmates towards the northern end of the state. Somewhere in the skies above me he flies for the first time without parents and family. Somewhere in the skies above me there are people who are probably less than excited to be on a plane full of ten year-old boys and girls but that is the way it goes. Last summer I flew back from New Jersey on a plane full of 14-15 year old girls. Aside from the shrieking, constant running between seats, whispering and occasional bout of tears I was just fine.
I won’t lie and say that I am not somewhat nervous about his trip but I am more excited than anything else. More excited because I see him on the cusp of something amazing. This is how it begins, this is the start of his really pulling farther away and developing his thoughts and ideas about life without our influence. He still has many years and miles to go, but I see the beginning ever so clearly. I see the beginning and remember some of my own trips. The memories are sometimes hazy but there is enough clarity to remember playing games like Spin the Bottle and Truth or Dare.
Sometimes I think that it is best if I forget what happened during those games. Sometimes I think that if I want to retain my hair and my sanity I need to just pretend that stuff didn’t happen, but I can’t and so I won’t. Instead I’ll talk with you about how Truth or Dare makes me think of blogging.
The game was really simple to play. A group of kids would assemble and then each one of us would take turns choosing Truth or Dare. If you selected a ‘Dare’ you were asked to do something. I remember a variety of dares ranging from eating raw eggs to various physical acts with the girls who played with us. If you chose Truth you were faced with having to answer a tough question. Sometimes it was a relatively innocuous question like, “have you ever picked your nose?” It is juvenile, but just goofy enough to make pre-teens and teens squirm a bit.
And since kids can be cruel and hard upon each other it could be a bit tougher on you. I remember being 17 and having a major crush on Anne Stacey and being asked to admit it in front of her. I hadn’t wanted to play and now I was stuck with no easy way out. That led to all sorts of good times.
But when I think of Truth or Dare with blogging I think about what truths we dare to share with our readers. I think about what heartfelt secrets and or stories we dare to reveal and how often we do. This blog contains pieces of my heart and fragments of my soul. There are secrets here that my closest friends don’t necessarily know yet sometimes I write them down and let others read them. In the days of complete anonymity it was easy to write them down. But as more people learned my name and I stopped playing the Wizard of Oz it got to be a little bit harder.
And then I got to the point where I just didn’t care. It got to the point where I remembered that it had always been an open secret. I might have written under a pen name but I always knew that one day my words might be discovered and they were.
The outcome of that was that I decided that while I would still dare to share my truths I would also pay more attention to boundaries because I didn’t want my family to be involved in some of the conversations that would arise from these words. Let me clarify that by pointing out that when I write about school, birthday parties and opinions on these matters it is possible that my children will take the brunt of my words.
What I mean by that is if I say that “Johnny’s father” is a pompous ass it can have an adverse affect upon my kids. I don’t want them to be ostracized or treated differently. I don’t care what they say about me. I am a big boy and capable of taking care of myself. But the kids deserve a chance to live their lives without having to deal with the shadow these words can cast.
Sometimes life is far more complicated than we wish it to be, but such is the power and influence of the truths we dare to show.