August 14, 2007
me, myself and mine
I once had a Strawberry Shortcake diary. I very carefully catalogued, with the help of its matching tiny pencil, all the most important happenings in the life of a 3rd grader. Field trips to New Jersey parks – yes, we do have them – and elementary school Field Days. I chronicled my first crush in vivid, two-line detail. How I loved Scott Toale; how I almost collapsed when he gave me his YMCA patch when I was 8 years old. At one point, and despite the trauma I don’t recall exactly who the perpetrator was, but someone found the diary. Its little gold lock was no match for his or her grubby fingers, and within seconds it gave up my secrets. Found out, I frantically erased the contents of every page.
Seems strange that a woman with such a traumatic diary history would splash her thoughts for all to read on the Internets, doesn’t it?

Strangely enough, this has always been a safe place for me because of the relative anonymity afforded me, given my teeny, tiny slice of the blog world. My family has so far respected my boundaries as far as these entries and pictures are concerned, something for which I am thankful. I know that the very existence of this site nearly kills my mother, who I am sure envisions archives full of Freudian references and photoshopped horns placed on each of her pictures. Over the years, others who I have asked to keep their distance, whether they be friends or dates, have and have not respected my wishes, but those past decisions are neither here nor there at this very moment in time.

Last night my mother called with several issues to put on the table. In rapid succession, she fired them off. I don’t actually remember what followed the first of these, however, because she opened the list with a simple, “Ok. So don’t write on your site about Mary. She’s looking for your blog.”

Come again?

Mary? I thought. Mary, the young friend of my mother who I’ve only met a few times, a woman new to her life for whose companionship my mother is truly thankful? I sat in silence for a few seconds, giving myself the space to make sure I had it right. No, I'm right; she’s my mother’s pal. A woman who I have no true interaction with or opinion of other than loving that my mom has such support in her life.

So why Mary would want access to a friend’s daughter’s blog, when my mother always indicates to others that, although very proud of my online endeavors, even she does not have “access” to this site, is really just beyond me. Is this really the place for you? Are there not other pursuits that allow you to indulge your curious – and if we’re all being honest with ourselves, probing – side? If all else fails, is there not a pantyless teenebrity on Melrose at whom you can gawk?

I’ve been down this road before. And each and every time it happens, I become momentarily bitter about imaginary boundaries that are crossed. I scan my mental archives to see if posts might be misinterpreted or in any way hurtful to people close to me, however unintentional. I wonder if pictures make me look as if I'm having too much fun, too little - do I appear to be a girl who is flirtatious, irritating, narcissistic? A tiny bit of panic sets in. Are mine the words of a woman who would make her parents proud?

These discoveries make me doubt and urge me to edit, to check content and the words I know without reservation that I chose carefully the first time I wrote them. I hate that reaction with every ounce of my being. This is mine. And with every intrusion I feel like a kid again, hiding in my closet to write in that miniature pink diary. Only this time, I very much want to resist erasing any of the pages.


Blogger Cece said...

For that reason I don't let any of my family know/read my blog. Only a small handful of IRL friends read it. Family is off limits!

Blogger Scarlet Hip said...

We seem to be at one with our thoughts on blogging of late. Hence my name change and address.

Blogger Caroline said...

I started a blog when I moved from NJ to FL and thought it would a great way to keep in touch. Lately, I am feeling like MySpace is better for that and I'd rather my blog be anonymous. I dont really want my "former" friends knowing any troubles in my "new" life. Oh well.
PS - Where in NJ are you from?

Blogger Mamma said...

No erasing!!

Your parents have to love you for who you are.

And this Mary? Get a life hon.

Blogger canape said...

I agree with Mamma.

Recently, I invited my mom to start reading my blog. Even though I had said some tough things about her and my dad, and talked about stuff that normally would be off limits.

Just seemed to me that I could either offer who I really am to her, or keep trying to present myself the way I think she wants me to be.

So far, I haven't been sorry.

And yeah, Mary. Get your own life.

Blogger EDW said...

If we ever drink together, remind me to tell you the absolutely horrific story of my blog outing. While I freaked out and that's putting it mildly, eventually I started breathing at eating again. What I learned from it is, fuck them, they don't have to read it if they don't like it. Don't edit your truth, as I think I've said before to you on this topic.

Blogger throwingroses said...

Wow, that Mary really does need to get a some form of a life. I remember when I first started to keep a blog I was afraid to write about anything personal- from my friends to even experiences that had happened to me. I was full of fear of what people who say- could a friend be offended by their bing included in a story? Eventually had to just be who I am, tell the stories I wanted to tell, let those who will be annoyed be annoyed. If they weren't angry about a blog mention then they would be angry about something else.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Yeah, change nothing. You're perfect. You're writing is perfect. If Mary is in the mood to pass judgment, she is more than welcome to step over to my blog. I'm sure I can offend her plenty more than you.

Blogger Heather B. said...

Feel free to send her to my blog where there is rampant use of both the 'F' word and 'C' word. The pleasure will be all mine, my dear.

Blogger JordanBaker said...

Sounds like Mary needs to learn to mind her own darn business.

Blogger The Middle Child said...

I let my mom have access to my myspace, but not my blog. And like your mom she will tell me what not to write... "Your brother did such and such again, but don't post it on your blog!" Ha.

In the past I have shared my blog with whomever I was seeing in the interst of being open. I have regretted it every time. I have edited posts, deleted posts, censored my own writing, etc. In fact, today I wrote about some tension between my boyfriend and I and I know he is going to be pissed, but I have decided it is my blog, and I'll write what I want.

I know exactly what you mean with this whole post....
Rock on girl!

Blogger Melina said...

I say we go find Mary. Let's see how much it would freak her out if we just started trolling the real highway (as opposed to the information highway...worst.term.ever), and just started staking her out.

Basically, that's what she's attempting to do to you and I think it's completely wrong.

My mom and I have the same deal, she has not been given access to my site and she's very good about it.

Blogger Jorge said...

Erase anything and I'll just go to the archive pages on the internets and start a new blog at wordpress.

There is no need to erase. No need to change. If people can't accept who you are then they can go fuck themselves.

The light-haired woman with two cats that us Canajuns fell in love with shouldn't apologize for who she is or what she writes.

Besides, maybe you're wrong.

Maybe the Virgin Mary wants to read your blog pages?

Blogger punky said...

In the 6th grade, I had my diary stolen and then read aloud on the school bus while I sat in the front and pretended not to care. It was traumatizing. I refused to write in a journal or diary for the next 8 or 9 years. I even went so far as to be excused from personal writing assignments in English class.

That all changed in my early 20s when I realized that my feelings are mine and that no one can argue with them or tell me that I am wrong for having them. They are feelings and therefore not up for debate. I have been journaling, blogging and sharing my feelings and deepest thoughts ever since without fear and without apology.

Yay for you for fighting the urge to edit, to erase or justify your words, thoughts or feelings. They are yours, they are beautiful and they are hopefully here to stay.

p.s. Hello Mary. *waves*

Blogger Rachel said...

My goal is to get to the point where I can live my whole life by the wise words of your commenters, not just my blog life.

Specifically, be yourself and they'll either love you or they won't.

No editing. In blog. In life.

Blogger The Hotfessional said...

Yea, what Rachel said. Her last line says it ALL baby.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Yes, I hate that too. Most of my family knows about my blog but it's read at your own risk. They're not allowed to be upset or pissed off or even annoyed at anything I write.

Don't edit. Rachel said it well.

Blogger TX Poppet said...

Wow! You sure hit a nerve today. Well done. I'm gobbling the comments on this as fast as they come.

Blogger Paperback Writer said...

No, resist the urge to delete your entries. It'll feel like a cop out. And the anger will come back.

Blogger Sizzle said...

i'm familiar with those feelings.

and i had a strawberry shortcake sleeping bag when i was a kid!

Blogger Gwen said...

I feel the pain, friend. My mom (who won't stop reading my blog, no matter how nicely and not nicely I ask her) also has a friend who is supposedly devoted to mine. WTF? If I were twelve (instead of 13, heh), I would just march in and delete the whole damn thing, out of spite. Let's be strong together .....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never erase anything I write. I don't know why, either. I've kept all my old journals since I was a small child- online and offline.

A couple of times my parents have found my blog and caused drama over it. My mom even left a comment on one of my recent posts. I guess it didn't mean anything when I told them to either not read my blog or not make me aware that they are.

Blogger Rebecca said...

I really enjoy your blog and your writing and have never felt that any of it would be offensive or upsetting to anyone. That being said, unless made invite only, blogs are out there for anyone to see, and part of having such a blog is accepting that anyone can see if it he or she chooses.

One thing to consider is that Mary may not have any malicious intent in looking for your blog; she may just be curious. And, really, what's so odd about someone showing interest in a something that is nothing if not public?

Last year I lived with a girl who was always incredibly friendly to me. In fact, I considered her one of my good friends in the area. After I moved out, I found out that she had a blog on which she had been writing horrible, personal things about me the entire time we had lived together and after. Should I not have read her blog to protect her privacy? After all, she never told me about it. Or should she not have written that stuff about me to protect my privacy? She had no compunction about using my real name. After I told her that I had found the blog, rather than apologize, she made it invite only, which, if she only wants family and close friends to read it, is the appropriate thing to do.

Blogger Becca said...

Hi, I just began reading through some of your blog and really enjoy it. I also had a bad experience with my journal being "discovered" as a child and I felt embarassed. For a long time I never wrote anything. I'm still fairly new to the blogosphere and the whole idea of putting my life out there for people to read so I haven't gotten terribly personal with mine. What I have noticed is that the friends I have made through it thus far are not judgemental. Those are the kind of friends I'd like to keep. So a little encouragement to continue writing what you want because it's your life and no one can tell you how to live it. Blog on!

Blogger Laurie said...

It's hard to keep anything anonymous on the Internet. People in my life know I have a blog, and if they want to read it, I say, lackadaisically, "whatever." It's a "read at your own risk" sort of thing. But what's so strange is that even though my sister and my mom know I write online, they really don't read my stuff that much. My theory is that I chew their ears off enough in real life. I left it up to my mom as to whether she wanted to read or not. And when she did, she seemed a little overwhelmed, and I haven't heard much about it since. That's okay with me. At this point in my life, I'm letting the boundaries establish themselves, with just a little bit of help from me.

One of my best friends works at a realty company. Apparently she laughs out loud at my website sometimes, because, she says, I'm funny. Other people in her office therefore ask what the fuss is all about, and I've picked up a couple of readers there. They call me the blog girl. At first it was weird, but now I just don't care.

I guess what I'm dancing around (poorly) here is that you are such an honest and obviously gifted writer, Kris, that I can imagine why people close to you (and maybe the people close to them?) would want to read what you have to say for reasons other than judgment and mining personal information. I'm not sucking up, honestly, I'm just saying that it's a pretty natural impulse. Or maybe I'm just a nosy bitch. ; )

In the paraphrased words of my old Irish ancestors, "May those who are meant to cross your virtual doorstep know what they're in for, and whether they like it or not, may they leave ye a pint (or perhaps a glass of wine?) on the way out."

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