Taking Out the Garbage

I read something interesting today that I wanted to share, because with all this radical self-reflection we all seem to do these days it resonated as kind of important.

The short version is here, on Peter Rudd’s wonderful Coromandal blog. He excerpts from the much longer article Sons of The Beach on WorldHum, and his comment on the exerpt is:

In real travel, there is what I think I travel for, and what I really travel for.  In the essay Sons of the Beach, backpackers value independence, frugality and acceptance of locals; but they are really looking for themselves in other like-minded travellers that they meet over there.

I think there’s something in that for all of us. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what we think should be our motivation, actually is. The answer that is politically correct or reflects well on us is the one we want to voice.

And it’s complicated by this era of self-constructed social media identity, because we’re doing a lot of broadcasting of ourselves now, making public our lives and our motivations. We can all be guilty of editing that information to tailor the impression we want to make.


There’s a fine line between saying things and believing them. No-one really believes that old saying “if you repeat things often enough, then they become true”. Maybe they’re true, maybe they’re not.

I’ve found myself talking a lot in the past year or so. Here on this site, in online forums, in person and also more quietly one-on-one on my phone. I’ve had some very intense and very personal conversations. Often it’s about BDSM and quite often I find myself needing to draw deep into myself and bring out my core beliefs and express them.

So, for me personally, Peter’s observation reminded me to be careful to listen carefully to my self-talk and make sure I’m being truly honest with myself. Not to just assume that I’m telling myself the truth, but to question myself a bit. Are the reasons I’m saying I’m doing things really the reasons I’m doing them?

Like computer programming (and some of my more disastrous efforts in the kitchen), it’s the principle of Garbage In, Garbage Out. You need to start with quality raw ingredients.

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