The truth and white lies: seven autobiographical ‘facts’.

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The wonderful musician and writer, Mike McClaren from Annotated Margins has honoured my efforts with a Kreativ blogger award. My second ever. I am grateful for his recognition and will respond as I must but only in part. I will list the mandatory things about me but I will leave it up to all those wonderful bloggers whom I follow – I cannot choose among them – to take it upon themselves if they so choose to list seven things about themselves, here in comments or on their own blogs.

Why seven? I do not know, but here are mine;

Seven things about me:

1. I have my mother’s names, all three of them: Elisabeth Margaretha Maria. I share my third name, Maria with all my sisters and brothers bar the oldest. The oldest, a boy, has my father’s name. The use of Maria as a third name for boys as well as girls honours Mary, Christ’s mother as part of a Catholic tradition. We girls thought it hilarious when we were children that our brothers should have a female name.

2. I was born in 1952, on Guy Fawke’s Day the year Princess Elizabeth succeeded to the throne on the death of her father, King George VI. My mother, despite a shared name with the queen, rarely concerned herself with the British monarchy. Her regal interests were with Princess Beatrice and the Dutch Royal Family. Her religious interests were with the Pope and his priests.

3. In 1952 the world’s first contraceptive pill was manufactured. Not that this brought any relief to my parents. As Catholics, they refused contraception until the last baby was born and died and my mother at 43 years of age received permission in the form of a second opinion from a somewhat radical priest who sympathised with her plight. The doctor had told my mother that a twelfth pregnancy would not only kill the baby, it would kill her.

In 1952 inflation stood at 21% and milk cost the equivalent of 7.5 cents a pint.

4. When I was a child I pretended to be devout because it brought the nun’s approval. I also loved to sing in church.

5. I have a third nipple, known as an accessory nipple. It is scarcely visible under my right breast. When I was little it looked like a tiny cave in my skin but as my breasts developed it popped out to the size of a pimple. I consider it an evolutionary aberration. In my mind’s eye I see a pig’s udder with teat after teat to feed a line of baby pigs.

6. I am sixth in line in a line of nine children. We do not count the two and half who died – my oldest sister and my last-born sister who was still born, along with a miscarriage in between. I do not forget the dead ones and would prefer to tell people that there are in fact eleven in my family of origin. I half count the miscarriage, as I feel sure that baby – in my mind, a girl – was not viable.

7. I do not always tell the truth, but my white lies are benign and I sometimes let my daydreams get the better of me, namely I allow myself to indulge in thinking about them as though they were real.

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24 Comments on The truth and white lies: seven autobiographical ‘facts’.

  1. Caio Fernandes
    March 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm (8 years ago)

    this is a god idea , and very nice , about the award .
    i have the same problem about awards , i never choose other 5 , or 7 or 3 . i think it is kind of umpolite with the other followers that are so good friends .
    So your family IS chatolic !! and it is so diferent the chatolicism fro anglo-saxon countrys fron latin countrys . i studied in a north american chatolic school and all saw diferences . but was when i got out the country and start to travel that i realised all .
    didn't you brothers have problems in the school becaUSE OF THE NAME ?
    do you have any sister named Beatrice ? i like this name .
    i have 2 sisters and 1 brother and think it was hard to have lived with so many people , as even for Brazil , 4 kids is considered a huge family . but i imagine that 9 kids must to be easier , i don't know , you are among the crowd ….

    lovely to know about you !!
    see you !!

    Reply
  2. Reader Wil
    March 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm (8 years ago)

    The problem with awards is, is the time it takes to find other people to pass them on and the reason why. I have given that up and collected the awards in a slide. I prefer nice and kind comments than awards.
    Thanks for your kind comment. Have a great day!

    Reply
  3. Kass
    March 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm (8 years ago)

    I agree about the time it takes to complete the rules that come along with awards. That's why I readily accepted Rachel Fenton's faux award.

    But I did like these interesting facts about you. I also have a 3rd nipple, but it's under my left breast. My sister also has this anomaly. We inherited it from our father, who had a line of them running down his chest. Mine actually lactated.

    Reply
  4. Annotated Margins
    March 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm (8 years ago)

    Guy Fawke’s Day… that's exciting. (I don't call them white lies; I call them imagination.)

    Reply
  5. Tommaso Gervasutti
    March 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm (8 years ago)

    How important is this subject you have touched. I have always felt that most of the times it is simply impossible to tell the truth.
    And from time to time it's totally impossible to determine what the truth is. One of the most difficult meanings we can come across!
    Lies and truth are important just because they are by now Hamletic and basically fragile matters,(maybe in some golden age it was not so!) very important but "on edge" and for this reason to be handled with utmost care.
    Just like life and death they are words I sense I must avoid while writing poetry.
    And then: an old Chinese belief coming from the Tao world can be applied: "when one starts talking about truth it means that truth is gone".

    All my best dear Elisabeth and thank you for your comments on my posts.
    Davide

    Reply
  6. Anthony Duce
    March 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm (8 years ago)

    Congrats for the award. As for the things about you, I think even with a few white lies, you tell so much about yourself in everything you write. Even when writing about others or commenting on things unrelated, there is something of you that comes through, something you don't try to hide. But I did like to learning more the easy way. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Mim
    March 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm (8 years ago)

    Cheers! Do I hear a comic tone here? It may have something to do with the list in which the items are equally important. If everything is like everything else, the result is comedy. I enjoyed your post.

    Reply
  8. Eryl Shields
    March 3, 2010 at 1:00 am (8 years ago)

    I have come to believe that what happens in the mind (daydreams, imaginings, etc) are equally as real as what happens in the material world. One's internal world affects the external one and is often the place where creativity begins. So it's nice to hear that you indulge in thinking of your daydreams as real. The boundaries are more blurred than some would have us think.

    Nice to find out a little more about you.

    Reply
  9. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 2:00 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks Caio. No, I don't have sister named Beatrice. A nun by that name taught my husband in primary school and the kids called her sister Beetroot. It is an interesting name depending on where you come from, as are most names. There were aspects of growing up in a large family that I lived and other bis that I hated. I did feel I had a ready made bunch of friends. thre was always soneine to muck around with, but I also felt oftentimes invisible and the competition for atttention was fierce.

    Reply
  10. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 6:01 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Reader Wil. I have noticed that some people love awards while others loathe them. I'm somewhere in between.

    I appreciate the recognition but I don't necessarily want the work involved, especislly not if it doesn't resonate. so far for me that hasn't been the case. I enjoyed both tasks set for my two swards.

    Still it's hard enough to march to my own schedule, let alone feel a need to accommodate to someone else's. The same could be said of comments on other people's blogs and responses to comments on our own blogs.

    These comments could just as easily be directed at you too, Kass. the idea of a 'faux' award is terrific therefore. It doesn't require an action on the part of the recipient other than a thank you. Very often that's all we need.

    It's a democracy in blogland and we are not obliged to respond. We can choose to go along with the awards and the comments or we can say 'thanks, but no thanks'.

    An offer is not a command, but I think it's easy enough to experience it that way. It's hard to say no to a gift but maybe sometimes we need to do so if we feel so strongly against it.

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 7:00 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks Mike, imagination, not white lies, that's a comfort. I'll keep that in mind.

    And Davide, I'm with you on this one. I doubt that there is any such thing as the absolute truth only a sense of truthfulness, which we might sometimes glimpse a but we can never truly get a hold of it. As your Chinese proverb suggests if we think we have the truth we're living a lie.
    Thanks, Davide.

    Reply
  12. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 8:02 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks Anthony. I do try for honesty however much it might be imagined. I suspect it's the same with your portraits . You presumably try to get an honest likeness, to get something genuine from what you see before you but you can't get it photographically correct. If you did there would be little point to it, except as a sort of caricature of the real, maybe a la Andy Warhol and there's something hyper real about his work that has it's own honesty.

    Reply
  13. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 11:06 am (8 years ago)

    Mim, I'm glad you detected a comic tone. I was trying for it to some extent. I hate being continually gloomy. I do the grim side of things well enough, but I'd love to develop a capacity for more humour. Thanks.

    Thanks, also Eryl. I agree about those blurred boundaries. I put in a post about this some time ago. If you're interested see: http://sixthinline.blogspot.com/2009/03/fact-and-fiction-in-writing.html

    Reply
  14. steven
    March 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm (8 years ago)

    elisabeth – your last response to a comment here was of real interest to me as i was reflecting on my own sense of humour – which is rich – and how so very little emerges onto the pages i share. why is that? sharing hard truths, beauty, goodness, and humour – it's possible isn't it? perhaps one dilemma is that readers may not be attuned to the humorous voice unless it's present on a regular basis and so they get a sense of the "voice" of the writer so they can distinguish between the serious and the comic! i enjoyed this post by the way – white lies – imaginings! steven

    Reply
  15. Elisabeth
    March 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm (8 years ago)

    It is, as you say, hard to convey humour, Steven. I find some of the blogs where humour is constantly evident also have a poignant underlay as if the person is expressing their sorrow witin their humour.

    It's hard to get it right on line. If we were face to face, we'd pick more up in tone and facial expression. Here we can only rely on the words and images. Or use those dreadful smiley faces, which I refuse to entertain.

    Reply
  16. ALeks
    March 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm (8 years ago)

    :O)

    Reply
  17. Beth Niquette
    March 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm (8 years ago)

    What an amazing woman you are! Truly–you are such a surprise. I never tire of reading your blog.

    Thank you so much for your precious kind words, thoughts and prayers. You have no idea how much they meant to me. ((hugs))

    Be sure to pick up a little something I made, which you can find on my art blog. Blessings to you, sweet Friend.

    Reply
  18. Elisabeth
    March 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for your brief observation, Aleks. I appreciate the nod, the grunt of approval, I hope, whatever it is.

    Thanks Beth. I'm off to your blog now to pick up my 'little something' from you. As they say in the classics, 'you shouldn't have'. But of course I'm delighted that you have.

    I was listening to a radio program yesterday where they were talking about an alternative currency in which they included gifts on line. Virtual gifts.

    They are valuable and well worthwhile. After all we are continually giving to one another when we share our thoughts, our words and our art. Thanks, Beth.

    I hope you are bearing up after losing your beloved Criquette, though it's important to let yourself grieve for as long as it takes.

    Reply
  19. Meri
    March 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm (8 years ago)

    I always love these "facts about me," particularly when they are strange and wonderful. I indulge in the fantasy (or hope) that by learning how we are connected by our humanity and vulnerabilities and sharing our wisdom and compassion with each other, we are creating peace. We're bloggers of peace.

    Reply
  20. Elisabeth
    March 5, 2010 at 1:02 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks Meri. It is fun to write the so-called facts, especially in the spirit of peace that the blogosphere generally invites. And in that same spirit, it's good to meet you here.

    Reply
  21. Dave King
    March 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm (8 years ago)

    Day dreams are real, surely. They are real day dreams – you can b e more sure of that than the supposed reality around you, which is merely a figment of the brain. Interesting post.

    Reply
  22. Liosis
    March 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm (8 years ago)

    What a strange and interesting life you have lived. I suppose I shall do this as well, but I do not think my truths are quite as true as yours!

    Reply
  23. Martin Heavisides
    March 6, 2010 at 12:33 am (8 years ago)

    Interesting piece, Elisabeth. I did a '25 Random Facts' as a chapter in my novel UNDERMIND–my first was "I have no intention of telling 25 random facts about myself."
    I appreciated your comment on Taste Test–I was slow to respond mainly because I've been visiting the blog little lately, and have been somewhat lazy about writing if the truth be known.

    Reply
  24. Elisabeth
    March 6, 2010 at 11:56 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Dave. I must say I tend to trust my daydreams sometimes even more than my logical thoughts. as you suggest, they're more than a figment of my brain.

    Thanks, Liosis. The truth is such a jelly like and wobbly notion. I never trust it and even so I can't stop using the word from time to time.

    I'll bet your life is far more interesting than you give yourself credit for. Only you can't see it. Most of us can't see the fascinating stuff about ourselves.

    Martin, welcome to my blog. You needn't apologise for your tardiness in getting in a comment. We all do that from time to time, take our time that is. Thanks for visiting.

    Reply

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