I woke up today to find this in my in-box (I made the one segment bold):
:: Radical Honesty ::
Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a
constant energy drain. To free yourself from the
burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the
skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any
truth, no matter how “unacceptable” it is.
Withholding truth is such an integral part of our
culture that you probably don’t notice when you’re
doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your
thoughts and expressions, and continually ask
yourself, “Am I being as honest as I could be
about that? Is there a deeper truth?”
Examples of “acceptable” dishonesty include saying
you’re “fine” when you’re not, and *not* saying how
you feel about the way your friend treats her child.
When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice
how it feels in your body — the energy and effort
required to distort or ignore your true feelings.
Then imagine being radically honest — telling it
exactly like it is. If you could be that honest *and*
keep your heart open, would you?
Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.)
Copyright (c) 2009 by Scott Noelle
WOW what a powerful message for me this morning after I spent about an hour discussing some recent oppression and unfairness in my life with William last night. If you will recall, I posted this back in May. It was part defense and part personal reflection on how I communicate or am perceived to communicate with others about me, my life, radical unschooling and peaceful parenting.
Up until a few days ago, I was a member of The Pittsburgh Hip Mama Meetup Group and because the majority of the group members probably would not describe themselves as people aligned with HipMama.com or Hip Mama Magazine (yet that’s where the name for the group was taken from) I was not well liked or tolerated by a majority of the group…because my personal pendulum swings far more Left (or Right, depending on how you draw up the Political Compass) and I tend to employ “radical honesty” and not agree with the majority’s need to play the “nice game” with them instead of saying how I really feel. After saying many things that apparently made people cry (yet having others send me emails saying, “finally, someone with a voice of reason”), I was pretty much left with three options, 1) abstain from speaking at all, 2) playing the nice-I-tolerate-understand-everyone-game or 3) be myself, piss people off and be removed from the “club” (like we’re in high school or something).
Because the “current administration” didn’t want to appear so subjective, censoring nor intolerant of divergent thought, they very cleverly pounced on an idea to remove me (that sounded so conspiratorial, but wasn’t meant to), which seemed very objective and played on the idea of member privacy. The following is the email I woke up to a few days ago:
You have been removed from The Pittsburgh Hip Mama Meetup Group. The person who removed you, Marissa, said: ---------------------------------------------------------------- I regret to inform you that you have been removed from Pittsburgh Hip Mama. The organizers are unsettled by your re- posting other people's statements from the Hip Mama message board onto a public website, as we feel that you have violated our members' privacy. ----------------------------------------------------------------
To which I sent a hasty email back (probably shouldn’t have responded at all or not until I thought it all out and had completed this blog post). For some reason, Meetup.com didn’t send me a copy of that email when I have received a copy of EVERY other email I have sent through Meetup.com (so, you can’t view my initial rebuttal). I basically applauded their efforts to evict me in a seemingly objective way and pointed out in basic language how I was in NO way violating member privacy, but that since now I wasn’t a member I could name names left and right if I so chose to. I wasn’t mean and didn’t use profanity — how the fuck was that an email from me — I was playing nice.
The “re-posting other people’s statements from the Hip Mama message board onto a public website” was in reference to the post I linked to above…I am only assuming this, because I can not think of another incident where I quoted a Hip Mama member. First, no where on the HipMama site does it implicitly, explicitly or otherwise state that I can NOT re-post or quote discussions from the message board onto another message board, public website or any other media source. That is unless they have recently added that to the numerous rules in the Hip Mama Road Map since my removal. I can’t be sure, because I have no access to that now. As you will notice when reading the post in question, I went over and beyond all means necessary to protect the privacy of the person I quoted. In fact, I did everything possible to NOT identify the person whom the words belonged to, because I wanted to protect their privacy. I didn’t reveal their name (not even initials), didn’t reveal their group/organization name nor did I reveal their gender. By Google searching for a phrase from the quoted text, you won’t find any identifying marks and all roads point back to my original post. Furthermore, only those members who had already read those words on the discussion board or who might have stumbled upon them while searching the archives of the message board would have known that they were from a member of Hip Mama Meetup. However, now you know that the quoted words belong to a Hip Mama member and were more than likely said by a woman.
Legally, unless otherwise prohibited by oral or written contract (like that of patient/client/parishioner confidentiality), I have the right to quote anything from anyone that is said to *me* or in a public forum. Furthermore, the words I quoted were about me and “spoken” to me, but in a manner and in a forum in which other people could read and even comment as they saw fit…it wasn’t like I quoted a private email or something…and even that would have been “okay”. The only thing I might be violating is copyright law, if the person I quoted does not want to remain anonymous and would like to publicly OWN THEIR WORDS. I didn’t take credit for the words, change the words or give credit to another person for the words.
Meetup.com privacy is limited at best. In it’s terms of service agreement (under “Your Information”), it’s stated,
“”Publicly accessible” areas of our website are those areas that are available either to some or all of our members (i.e., not restricted to your viewing only) or to the general public.
You should understand that your Public Information may be accessible by and made public through syndication programs (including data feed tools) and by search engines, metasearch tools, crawlers, metacrawlers and other similar programs.”
Besides, haven’t we all learned by now that NOTHING you post on the Internet is private, unless it is encrypted and only YOU can see it — even then it’s still iffy as to whether or not it is truly private. You should assume that you can and will be quoted at any time and by anyone (with or without your express permission). I don’t send out into the world that which I don’t want the world to know or that which I don’t want coming back to me.
I am deeply bothered by a group that would allow its organizers to remove a person with no warning or chance to refute accusations brought against them. I am also deeply bothered that a group would act in such a way that indicates it owns the words spoken in its online message board by its members. Hip Mama Meetup does NOT own the words or information on its message board nor does Meetup.com own the words or information on message boards that it hosts. Each individual member owns his or her own words or at least they had better, otherwise they shouldn’t be speaking them.
Back to “Radical Honesty”. I would much rather have received an email that simply stated: “You have been removed from Hip Mama Pittsburgh, because the organizers do not like you, your philosophies, your level of decorum and tact on message boards nor do we agree with the messages that you are sharing with ‘our’ members. We find you contrary to ‘our’ purpose for existence as a Meetup group.”
To which I would have had no reason for writing an email reply or for that matter a long blog post. I could have simply muttered under my breath, “well, fuck you too” and then gone on about my Life as though nothing had happened. It’s not the fact that I was removed, which irritates me, but in the manner and the reason for which I was removed that irritates me. Why can’t people just be honest and NOT invent (though clever as it might have been) reasons to banish someone?
I asked William if I was being petty by deciding to blog about this or to even consider doing anything more than deleting the you-have-been-removed-message since I was thinking about leaving the group anyways. He reassured me that I am indeed NOT being petty and by publicly stating my concerns, grievances and thoughts as soon as possible, I can make others aware of what “really went down”, the typical “group-think” practices of Hip Mama Pittsburgh organizers and publicly defend myself against accusations that are not true. Apparently, he thinks that’s my job as a blogger…
“This is yet another example indicative of the decline of human logic” ~ William Parham (though, I might have misquoted him, in which case, he’ll correct me in the comments)