If you know me well enough, you’ll support this next few words: I do quite the amount of editing for my friends, both in Indonesian and English. Nothing professional, just enough to pass tasks with decent grades and please those oh-so-beloved teachers and lecturers who give a damn about language and the proper use of it.

This thought has occurred to me multiple times in the past, but it never really dawned on me until today how much of ourselves we write down, whether personal or not.

I’ve always scolded myself when I rant about something too clearly on Twitter or WordPress when I don’t want to. I’ve even taken care not to be explicit in certain parts in my own private journal. An acquaintance pointed that out a while ago, so I checked. It’s true. Some of my personal writings are ambiguous to the point that I’m not even sure what it’s about. I guess I’m that insecure about what info I give out.

But that’s about things we’re quite aware of. You probably have friends who own a private blog or an alias unknown to most people they know. But this is a whole other level.

When you’re editing tasks or writing down something in passion, you’ll find out many people don’t pay attention to trifle things like who’s going to read it or if it’s too personal. I’ve found out things about my friends from their writings I’d never guess about them. A few have hidden talent in writing, others bring out things that aren’t exactly in secret, but people just don’t notice. Once in a while, something shocking comes along.

Editing a letter informed me that a former classmate planned to go to France for college (nope, it didn’t work out). One friend had me check her essays and stories multiple times; this is how I knew she had a penchant of writing melancholic love stories. Sometimes I get a peek into their personal relationships with family members. It’s one of the perks (well, most of the time) that comes with the privilege of reading what people write.

Sometimes, I get to see these people in a new light. School tasks aren’t necessarily rigid—it can be about you, things you love, and all those mushy, wonderful things. I learn more about these people: how they think, what they go through, their personality.

What I’m trying to say from these jumpy paragraphs is we write down (and post online) more than we think. When people write, they really do pour a piece of themselves.