Category Archives: privacy

Private Public

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Mr b called me something last night that got under my skin a little. No, not a bitch, or a nag, or crazy, or OhMyGodWomanDoYouEverShutUp, or any of the other many things I could be called. Instead, he called me “private.”

My first thought was Me? Private? HAHAHAHA! I mean, I am a blogger! If there is one thing that – by definition – bloggers are not, it’s private. We write about our lives and out kids and our families and friends and then put it out there on the internet for seventy hundred million people to see. I have a facebook page and a twitter account and about a million photos on flickr that pretty much anyone and every can see. I’m not private!

But then I started thinking about it and well, maybe he’s right.

The conversation started because I mentioned that the boy wanted to friend me on facebook and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Not because I don’t’ want to be friends with him, but because – and I know this will come as a HUGE shock to you – I have a potty mouth. I know!! You all thought I was a delicate flower, right? I have gotten friend requests from a few of the younger family member and have largely ignored them (other than some of the older teens, since they already know how I am) because of this – I don’t want to have to censor myself on facebook. I already censor myself at work, and in many social situations, and at scout and band booster meetings, and cheer practice – I don’t want to do it on facebook, too, dammit! Fuck! (see what I mean?)

Anyway, I made the decision that I would hold on to these years before he would die of embarrassment if I tried to “friend him” on facebook and let him in, but when he searched for me, my name didn’t come up. I mentioned that I might have my privacy settings set so people couldn’t find me, and mr b jokingly (mostly) (I think) said, “You and your privacy – you don’t want anyone reading your facebook, you have a blog I’m not allowed to read…Jeez!”

And he is right – one day last week when he was using my computer and I left facebook open, he teased that he was reading it and I jokingly (mostly) (I think) said, “I don’t want you reading it!” And when he recently started expressing interest in my blog, I jokingly (mostly) (I think) said “I don’t want you reading it!”

I felt a little bad each time, but brushed it off. But it – along with the latest proclamation of me being private – got me wondering: Why am I so secretive?

It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong – I’m not meeting guys or posting naked photos of myself (God help us all), or saying terrible things about him, so why wouldn’t I want him to read it? And I have come to the conclusion that the answer to that is the ever-logical “Because.” And that? Is no reason at all.

I think there are a few things that contribute to my being the way I am. For one – mr b has never had any interest in this stuff. So for the years that I have been blogging (and more recently “facebooking”), it has been mine. My own little escape – my thing that I didn’t have to share with anyone else. Anyone who is married and/or has children knows that it is hard to do or have anything that belongs only to you. I ask you – parents of young children – when was the last time you got to take a long, relaxing bath, or have a phone conversation, or read a book, or watch TV, or even go to the bathroom without someone interrupting you? Can’t recall? Exactly!

And then there is the way it has been approached. I would have been far less likely to bristle if mr b had said he wanted to sign up on facebook and add me as a friend. But sitting down and reading my page felt a little more intrusive.

But mainly, I think my “private” nature was something that I learned from years of dealing with my mom. I never had any privacy or control growing up. And before you go all parent on me and say that parents need to know what their kids are doing, blahlblahblah, I am not talking about normal parenting. I’m talking about a mother with a terrible suspicious streak and an assume-the-worst nature. She read my diary – not only did she read it, she blatantly broke the lock open and didn’t even try to hide it. And then pretended like nothing happened. She would open my mail. Not college acceptance letters and the like, but personal letters sent to me by my best friend in Florida. When we were 10 or 11! What could a ten year old girl in 1978 possibly have to say that she had any interest in? She went through my purse, read my notes, searched my room, listened in on my calls, and told me where to go and what to wear and what to eat and so on and so on and AAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

I grew up longing for privacy, and the ability to make even the simplest decision for myself, and time alone, without someone looking over my shoulder. It trained me to hide things that needn’t be hidden, just for the sake of hiding them, rather than for any real (or scandalous, or interesting, or juicy) reason. It’s not that I have been trying to keep mr b out of that part of my life, it’s that I have spent a lifetime just trying to keep a part of my life to myself.

Every five minutes I go back and forth, thinking, “I’ll let him read it.” Then, “No – it’s fine like it is.” Then, “But there’s no reason not to!” Then, “It’s FINE!

Right now – at this moment – I don’t know what I will do. I want to open up a little more. And I decide I will. And then the thought of it actually takes my breath away a little.

But I’ll try. I’ll think about it and I’ll try. It took a lot of years to break me, I can’t be fixed overnight.

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