Why I Share Embarrassing Stories

Yesterday, I posted a story about shitting myself in Nepal. I’ve had this story in my back pocket for about a year now. It’s not the most flattering story, to be honest. I’ve never written about it. If you’re good friends with me, maybe you’ve heard it over a few beers.

The last time I remember telling this story, it was election day. I was in Budapest, drunk out of my mind. I told it to my climbing partner, a man I’ve known a long time and have a deep bond of trust with, and a person I’d just met that night at the hostel. “Maybe you don’t share that one on your blog,” my friend said when I finished the story, and the laughter had abated. “See, that’s the sort of stuff I love to hear!” the other guy said. “I don’t fucking care if you went to this city and drank these beers and took these pictures. That’s not real. Stories like that are what I want to hear when people tell travel stories.”

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Book Review: Catcher in the Rye

 

I interviewed for a job recently, largely off the strength of this blog. The interviewer, who, after clicking around this site surely knew a lot more about me than I’d like, said: “The thing I like about you is your authenticity. You seem to be honest, no matter what you’re talking about.”

This was a big compliment for me, even though I ended up not getting the job.

Even now, the comment still warms me from within. It means I am doing something right. It means I am being the person I want to be. The kind words multiple interviewers gave me about this project warmed me against the sting of rejection.

“Authentic.”

Why does that word carry such a positive charge for me? And why is it such a deadly sin—in my perception—to be fake?

These are the questions that were knocking around in my head while I reread “Catcher in the Rye.”

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