Friday, May 6, 2022

Polished Authenticity: Secret Subject Swap


Caprese Chicken Kabobs, marinated, grilled chicken meets Caprese salad in this easy, flavorful dinner. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Read through mine and at the bottom you’ll find links to all of today’s other Secret Subject participants.

My subject is: Are your social media and actual selves fairly congruent, or do you present a much more polished version of your life and relationships?
It was submitted by: Jenniy of Climaxed.

There is so much to unpack here, I'm having a hard time deciding where to start, and although all of what this brings to mind is salient, I'm desperately attempting to sort through and edit my thoughts so I don't go on forever. I think I could.
A lot of what I want to say applies to not just social media but my blog. A blog isn't considered to be in the realm of social media, but I can argue that in many ways, it is. 
The most simplistic answer to this question is that my social media presence is both congruent with AND a more polished version of my life and relationships. It's congruent with because otherwise I'd just be posting pure fiction. It's polished because, and this is my most important point, I believe it should be.
I publish a lot of food pics and recipes, I guess I don't have to tell you that, both here, and in support of this blog, as a vast majority of my social media posts. Obviously these represent me, how I express creativity and how I control stress. 

Caprese Chicken Kabobs, marinated, grilled chicken meets Caprese salad in this easy, flavorful dinner. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Caprese Chicken Kabobs

But completely unlike most "food bloggers" (I put that in quotes because I don't feel like I fit that category), I don't really write about the food, the process that brought about the conceptualization of that recipe, and the experience of trying it and perfecting it. That's because I choose to have more to say than just food. I want to write fiction, humor, poetry (OK, in my case that word is used loosely), life, relationships, struggles, politics, social issues, parenting adults . . .

And it's in these blog and social media posts that I see the need to edit. Polish? Maybe. But edit, definitely. It's here that I find myself most comfortable living in the grey between truth and the whole truth.
Polished Authenticity | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of | #blogging #MyGraphics

I censure myself for the sake of others. I know that many people don't agree with this approach, feeling that editing makes you inauthentic. I can see their point, but I can also tell you that it has to be a personal decision. 
When I first started blogging, and immersing myself in social media, I saw two things play out that solidified my resolve. First, two friends, on twitter, were talking about very personal situations within their familial relationships. Their specificity may have been pertinent to the conversation, may very well have been something they considered necessary in the context of their personal commitment to being genuine and real (the good, the bad, and the ugly), but to me it was cringe worthy. Embarrassing. 
The second situation was what, at the time, was a social media fad, calling your kids assholes. 
I am never going to have intimate personal discussions on a public forum, and I am never going to call my kid an asshole there either.
What you put out there cannot be taken back. We all know this. This is particularly important because tangential people not only in the present (our kids' teachers or their friends' parents, our spouse's family members or their coworkers) but also in the future (our kids themselves) can find whatever it is we've said. Any of it. All of it. 
I write a monthly Fly on the Wall blog post. It's snippets of humorous family conversations and situations. Are they the truth? Yes. Are they the whole truth? Not always.  

And I have a blog post that I wrote many years ago. It still sits in my drafts after all these years. It's a huge piece of my story, and I think it's well written. I think that because it's real and it's raw, it's 100% honest, and it's impactful. But it's someone else's story as well. He actually gave me permission, back then, to publish it. I never have. Mostly because I'm cognizant of the fact that one day, maybe even today, he won't want it out there. And I won't be able to take it back. Just thinking about the ramifications of that situation is more than I can bear.
So no, I don't make up social media posts (or blog posts unless they're meant to be fiction) out of thin air, nor do I polish a negative situation to transform it to be a positive one. If there is something I want to say that I cannot comfortably tell enough of to make my point, it goes on the back burner until I can work it through more thoroughly, find a way to make it authentic without divulging information that could impact someone I care about. That could ultimately change their ability to trust me.
Ultimately, the stability of our most valued relationships could hinge on the level of sensitivity and respect with which we edit the information we share in the public realm of social media.

Due to the interwoven nature of the connections inherent in our personal stories, there is a very thin line, in our public social media lives, that we all have to walk. Where we choose to step needs to be a purposeful and thoughtful decision.
The truth, the whole truth? There is no obligation inherent in being honest that requires telling the whole truth. Authenticity lies not in divulging the entire process, but rather in validity, expression devoid of deceit.


Secret Subject Swap, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver 


What TF Sarah 

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Caprese Chicken Kabobs        


Printable Recipe

1/3 cup olive oil
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1/4 salt
1/8 pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
6 oz grape tomatoes
5 oz mozzarella balls
fresh basil leaves

*Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
*Cut the chicken into bite sized chunks. Place in a resealable gallon sized plastic bag. Add about 3/4 of the prepared dressing, seal the bag, massage to be sure all of the chicken is coated. Refrigerate for 2 - 4 hours, turning now and then. Cover the remaining dressing and refrigerate.
*Preheat your grill to a medium heat (about 350 degrees).
*If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them before using. Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto the skewers. Cook on the grill for 8 minutes.
*Gently mix the tomatoes with the reserved dressing.
*Once the chicken has cooked for 8 minutes, turn over. Skewer the tomatoes and add to the grill. Cook the tomatoes, turning once, and the chicken, for about another 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
*Remove the chicken and tomatoes from the skewers. Mix with the mozzarella balls. Serve topped with fresh basil, chopped or torn.



  1. That's a hard question to answer, and I think you did well. What's more, "congruent" and "polished" lies in the eye of the beholder, up to a certain point?
    I'm glad you are not a "typical food blogger" who goes on and on about the ingredients, and what inspired you, and why you chose to slightly underbake your cookes unlike last time ;-) These posts usually include a dozen almost identical pictures of the meal, and if you're lucky, after half an hour of reading (or scrolling) you get rewarded with the recipe.
    When posting / writing, I try to say what I would tell the people who are concerned to their face. Well, with the exception of the "evil HR witch" maybe ;-)
    Happy Friday :-)

  2. I definitely show the side I want people to see! Is it the truth? Absolutely. The whole truth? Nope. My main goal in my social media presence is to uplift, maybe even cause a smile. Am I always successful? Probably not. But I prefer lessons learned in a snapshot to gritty details.
    I love your blog, Karen! I love your opinions and your insights. Your voice is genuine, intelligent and sometimes downright hilarious!

    1. You most certainly are successful, I always enjoy seeing what's going on with you, makes me feel like we're connected even though you live so far away.

  3. A lot here to comment on. My Mother's Day meal (part of which is going to be prepared tomorrow) almost got changed to this, but we decided not to because I think my son would enjoy the previously scheduled meal better. That's my son, rarely mentioned on social media, except when I say that he exists. He's very much a part of my life, and he's a private person. I respect that. I think you are wise not to publish that draft post. You can't undo anything that appears on the Internet and you are wise, knowing that it can be healing to write things down, but then you burn it or tuck it away, never to see the light of day. I think blogs are part of social media as we invite likes and comments, and many of us share posts on some form of social media. And, we all polish/edit our social media image just a bit because, well, we are all human. Finally, I enjoy your blog posts, whether or not they have food. So,back to your recipe. We will be making this another time. I Love caprese salad. I love grilled marinated chicken kebobs. Yum. Alana

    1. First, it's clear we think alike about editing our social media posts out of respect for the people we care about. Second, thank you for reading and commenting on all of my posts, the support means so much to me. And third, I'm so glad you're going to try this recipe. When you do, let me know what you think.

  4. One of the things that drew me to your blog when I first found it was that it was more than just a cooking site--it's much more well rounded.

  5. Just dropped by and have to say I am glad I did, I ike what I read

  6. Hear, hear! You've got it right. It's a difficult line, and you walk it well.

    1. I knew you'd see my point, as you walk that line well yourself.

  7. Social media and how we present ourselves is an interesting topic. Because of improv, a lot of people see me as quite authentic, but I feel like people are not as interested in us as we think they are. That being said I still believe in the connection of us all and how it helps us walk on this journey.

    1. I think that when it comes to social media, people are very nosy, and we have to be careful what we let them see.

  8. I really like how you put that and I agree with so much of what you said. My only thing about myself is I'm not anywhere near as outgoing in real life as I am online and on social media. I can talk to everyone online and it's fine. But I'm not so comfortable being around others in person. I censor myself online as well. I think we all probably do to some extent.

    1. Sadly, I know some people who don't. Many of them I've stopped following because some of what they say just makes me so uncomfortable.


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