“I’ve learned there are three things you don’t discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”

~ Linus Van Pelt

Do you have a Great Pumpkin? Is there something in your life that means a great deal to you but that you keep under wraps? Have you let the secret out to someone and had an unfortunate outcome?

I have a few things about me that when I share them with others, result in silent, polite head nodding or a series of questions that imply: I think you are a bit crazy so I need to know if I should leave you alone with my kids.

What happens next? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes a shift in a relationship dynamic. Sometimes exploitation. Sometimes a new alliance.

To sit out in a pumpkin patch, alone, based on the idea that something you cannot prove or explain will happen at some point, is faith or it is foolishness, or it is both. That’s the thing about Great Pumpkins. You kind of know and feel somewhat foolish for believing, but you keep the faith all the same. It just feels better that way.

Still, I tend to keep my Great Pumpkins to myself. I’ve learned the hard way. Ever since I admitted a crush on the class dork in second grade and was mocked on the playground after school, I’ve learned to keep my deepest wishes, desires and practices to myself.

Great Pumpkin theories are shared on a need-to-know basis.

I’m not always happy with this arrangement.

Some of you out there are so open with your lives. Whether it’s a health issue, an impending divorce, a hurt from the past, an addiction or weird obsession, or just stupid daily stuff, you put it out there. This is the stuff of life to which I’m drawn. Raw. Real. Honest.

Blogs about perfect people and their perfectly sculpted and staged lives bore me on good days and gut me on bad days.

Blogs about real things keep me coming back for more. Just today I read three moving posts: a woman fighting for her life, overcoming one emotional trauma at a time; a woman revealing that she and her husband have separated; a woman breaking silence about the domestic violence in her home.

Not all is gloom and doom in the blogosphere. I also enjoy reading about those of you who are doing well but share your life in a way that endears me to you, makes me want to meet you some day over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

Sometimes I think I know more about the bloggers I read, and they know more about me, than the people I know in real life.

And that is a pumpkin of a different color.

11 thoughts on “Tricky

  1. I find the older I get, the less I talk about personal things with anyone. Probably not healthy, but definitely true. Regarding: the bloggers vs. real life peeps – I think part of it is that I just don’t get a chance to personally talk with my friends any more. If they are mommies, we’re on a play date; if they’re not, then it’s one of my rare evenings out and I don’t want to talk about personal stuff. In contrast, the blogosphere is there when I can steal a few moments and my brain has a chance to think about, well… me. It’s also available for interaction at the mercy of my weird-ass schedule 🙂

  2. Tanya: You’ve nailed it, I think. I try to have meaningful conversation in face-to-face meetings but often, I mean always, I’m interrupted by my children or I’m on such a tight schedule. Another thing, we’re all in a rush, on the go, or too busy paying attention to our smart phones, which are constantly buzzing and beeping for our attention. Reading blogs, commenting and writing are ways to connect in a focused way.

  3. I keep thinking it must have been hard to NOT mention something like a separation for so long. Sometimes my blog is my Great Pumpkin…IRL friends and most family are usually oblivious to such things, and can’t imagine what I’ve had to write about for two years…

  4. There’s a certain safety in admitting to the pumpkins–or the dragons, or whatever one wishes to call them–on the blogosphere. But as you’ve seen happen with me, there comes a point when, if people one knows from Real Life also are in on it, self-censorship starts setting in. That’s why I had to start that second blog, even though I “took back” my original one.

    But yes, that fear of judgment…it gets in my way all the time. It’s why I’m back in therapy, too, really, even though that’s all mixed in with other Family Stuff and fun things like that.

    There will always be those who love to judge, or can’t seem to help but judge, and when we are tender in places, it just seems safer not to expose our tender underbellies to their darts and spears and poison…

  5. Molly: I love it, too! I don’t think I could give it up.
    Unmitigated me: I think that too. Then I browse the archives and remember what I’ve forgotten.
    TeacherMommy: Well put, TM, as always.

  6. I used to save my Great Pumpkins for my blog. Then over martinis, I confessed I had a blog to two local women whom I like but don’t particularly trust. Now, I am very careful with what I post knowing that they read it. I think my blog has suffered.

    Your blog, your posts, your stories – on the other hand totally resonate with me.

  7. Small town: Ouch! Sometimes I think I’ll spill about the blog. I’m always glad I when I don’t. The few IRL folks I’ve told have been extremely underwhelmed and uninterested. On the other hand, I’ve been outed a few times, so it’s possible people I know are reading and we’re all playing dumb.

  8. I used to keep my deep dark secrets to myself. But ever since I started blogging? I tend to be more willing to share personal and private matters right here on the Internet.


    “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
    — Marilyn Monroe

  9. I am on over-sharer, as I’m sure you can tell. 🙂 I’ve learned my lesson the hard way over the years and now I am a little more careful about what I share and with whom I share it. I would love to have an anonymous blog where I could “out all my pumpkins.”

  10. Meleah: An anonymous (or semi-anonymous) blog is a great place for deep, dark secrets. I have some posts publish-ready but I am too scared for them to see the light of day. Someday …
    Mama Mary: Believe it or not, I tended to have looser lips years ago (blame it on Peach Schnapps). The good thing about that time was that almost no one remembered a thing I said or didn’t remember it correctly. So, secret out but still safe.

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