There’s a remarkable diversity of relationships you can find and make in this place. There are your superpower soul sisters who know you so well that you speak in your own private tongue. Your freshman friendlies who you’d take to lunch for an hour but not much more, your intellectual crushes whose knowledge you want to swim inside. Your Latin Dance (take the class!) partner of the day who’s in close physical—but not emotional—contact. Your “We almost dated.” Your “I slept on their couch after roller skating one time.” The range of fellow people have at minimum one thing in common with you: they are also here. Sometimes that’s about it, but you talk to them and sometimes share with them precious pieces of your identity.

I want to do an in-depth study to discover at what point exactly and past what threshold do we each decide a person is deserving of our details. Which ones get your true opinions on a Tuesday and which ones get, “It’s good?” A lengthy, unusual conversation might spring up in a Kilgo hallway with someone sort of new, and in a game of constant conversation running semesters long, you can keep your cards close and maintain that Tuesday is fine, thanks, and not mention the itches on your brain. “Good” is default, and “bad” demands further explanation.

This is not really my approach. I have signs and signals all over my life and written into my skin that explain me bit by bit, and I’m almost always open to elaborate. By Jove, the stickers on my laptop are a dead giveaway of my affiliations and past fixations. It rarely takes more than an offhand inquiry for me to ramble personal information that the acquaintance had not yet “earned.” It feels more taxing to lie about or reduce the significance of a ring, a t-shirt, my summer plans than to exhale it all out. Because of this I fall into the category of being an “oversharer.” It also means I’m a trail of breadcrumbs everywhere. My stories and pieces are scattered with all kinds of people, some of whom are close and special and “deserving” and some of whom are not.

This is my inclination and it also makes me feel more in touch with how I think and feel if I actually verbalize it as much as I do. But I fear that this practice of jumping to what’s personal also chips me away. Some stories are not that special anymore because too many people know them, and they carry less weight when I want to open up to someone who means more to me. Secrets are a nearly foreign concept. And whatever identity recognition comes from living openly is complemented by vulnerability.

Deciding how much of yourself to reveal is not a dilemma of speech alone. Art, we are told, benefits from reaching deep into our pools of uncomfortable truths, and from struggle and pain and everything that is real real real! The great mystery of “you” is artistic value. What the rest of the world hasn’t seen is where your most valuable work will emerge. This is where I am afraid of handing out candid moments like section party fliers. If I’ve already talked it all out, what’s left for the notebook to hear? And even if there is stuff left, you still have to convince yourself to unseal what is left. At what point exactly and past what threshold does the piece of paper deserve your honest words?

My reassurance is in knowing that artistry works on its subjects like a pair of 3D movie glasses. It makes some things appear too harsh and overwhelming and a little bit scary. It makes once flat things become very, very real and get all up in your face. You can still see the world okay without it, but it’s fuzzy and often dull. Art is a way to find another side of a part of you that didn’t appear in retelling stories—sometimes it can sound like this, or like this, or even be purple and red and also round. I feel safer leaving those breadcrumbs behind me knowing that the process of creating will always be able to replenish the loaf.

Art is hardly ever a direct imprint of a person’s identity, unless you’re making collages of genome sequences. The point of it, I think, is to represent the subject in a way that can’t be done in any other form. “The Sun Also Rises” can bring about a combination of generational nostalgia, wanderlust and melancholy that’s also present in a Lorde song, but its recipe is different and the flavor stands alone.

There can’t be a correct answer to when and why you open up to people or in artwork, and no one ever owes somebody else full disclosure. But I think that there’s no real limit to what you can divulge about yourself, and you don’t have to save all of the feelings for the angry art. Just figure out what scribbles are in you that you didn’t even know you had.

Georgia Parke is a Trinity senior and Recess Editor.