Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Does your family read your blog?"

Where would I be without Baggage? Would I have anything to write about?

Well, surely I would, but recently she seems to be my muse...or maybe my gadfly*.

Baggage asks, "Does your significant other read your blog?"

When I started the blog I told everyone about it. I even asked their permission. (I'm not certain what I would have done if they had said no.) I also warned them that though they could read it they probably shouldn't. I was going to be honest and some days the way I honestly felt could hurt their feelings. It was up to them.

I try not to talk to them about it much. I would kind of like for them to forget it exists.

But Baggage asked and I asked Hubby. He said, no. He figures it is personal.

But what about the others?

Evan denied reading it when I asked him months ago, though I suspect he does periodically. There is never any evidence that he does. He never says anything that shows he has been reading it. I would if I were reading a blog in which someone talked about me (see below).

Brian I am certain does not read it. He spends very little time on-line.

Andrew: same answer as for Evan.

David: Not a reader. He may have checked it out, but I just can't imagine him reading this or any other blog.

Carl...now there is a story.

Carl might or might not (hey...Carl...if you do, would you tell me? I would like to know.) But here is a story...

Carl had an on-line journal about five years ago. He actually asked us to read it. I did not want to. I mean, it was a journal. I said I would, but couldn't find it quickly on the web and did not get back to it. He complained that he knew we were not reading it because if we had we would have talked to him about some things.

I sighed, and found it and read it.

There was a lot there, but one item was an account of what happened when we were at a fast food restaurant with another family. As I remember the story was this: everyone kept asking me questions without giving me a chance to answer the last one. My frustration was building. Brian, who was then pretty short, needed help picking out the ingredients for his sandwich and I announced to the crowd that I was not going to answer any more questions until after I finished helping Brian. I hoisted him up so that he could see the selection and then Hubby said, "How did you want to us to pay for this?" "Yondalla?" "YONDALLA? Do you want me to write a check or what?" I want to claim that I responded in a completely civilized and rational manner, but I confess it was not one of my finer moments. I was tired. I was frustrated. I apologized to Hubby later.

However, In Carl's account I turned out to be a wide-eyed crazy screaming monster causing everyone in the restaurant to stare and small children to quake in fear. I confess it was a funny story, but I did NOT say some of the things that he claimed I said...and he left out all the preceding events. In his story I transformed into "Mommy Dearest" (yes, he used that phrase) for no apparent reason at all.

I read it and thought, "This is why I shouldn't be reading his journal."

We talked about it in our next counseling session. I told him that if I read that in a journal when I had not been asked to I would think it was my own fault for getting my feelings hurt. Teenagers sometimes need to vent and tell stories like that about their parents. I should not be reading his journal. Since he asked me to read it though, it felt like he was trying to send me a message and so I wanted to talk about how I felt. I wanted him to take down the post (I did not think he would), and I wanted to talk about what happened and our different perceptions of it.

He was surprised. It was just a story. He defended its basic accuracy, agreed that there was some hyperbole, and seemed to understand why it would hurt my feelings. On the other hand he did not write it to hurt me. He was just expressing his feelings. Besides, THAT was not the part he wanted me to read. He wanted me to see something else; something else about how he had been feeling recently.

Then I was really frustrated. I realized that Carl wanted to use the journal as a way of avoiding talking to me directly about his feelings. This was a nightmare. First, I was going to be getting it wrong all the time. Second it was going to be whole lot of work trying to figure out whatever I was supposed to be figuring it out. Third, I was going to get my feelings hurt because he was going to write more hyperbolic "mommy dearest" stories. Fourth, he needed to learn to communicate directly.

So I stopped reading it. I have since resisted any temptation to get into the boys MySpace accounts (although I have asked them to show me their friend lists so that I can assure myself that they are being very careful about who they communicate with.)

I do think about what I will do with the next kid. They won't be legally old enough to give me permission, and I now know how important sharing has become. I don't want to risk them saying they didn't want me to do it. I'll worry about that later...

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*Socrates called himself Athens' gadfly (a large biting fly). He meant that he stung them out of complacency. Without him, the people of Athens would just go about their day and never think about anything important. Of course it also suggested that he made them angry, which is unfair to Baggage since she does not make me angry...even if I complain about all the thinking and reading she prompts me to do.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad your hubby doesn't read. Makes me not feel bad. I think I might get offended by what Geo would write if he wrote. So maybe that is why he doesn't read me?

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  2. Nope, none of my family reads. None of my friends either. My family knows I blog, and I have shared some of the stories I wrote about. But I already told them I wouldn't give them the address so they could read it. What is the purpose if I can't get stuff off my chest. I suppose if my Bald Man asked I would give it to him, but he says he is not interested and it works for me!

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  3. This is a neat post and makes great points about internet communication.

    My dad actually has his own, non-personal blog on a specialized subject. He asks me to read it but I don't, because it sometimes has stuff in there that offends me. My own blog I would never, ever want my mom, dad or stepdad to read.

    On the other hand, I ask my husband to read my blog but he usually refuses to. He makes a long complicated explanation about how he feels it would be censoring me from talk about him if he read the blog. Very odd, but obviously it's a common dynamic.

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Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.