(and Sex, but Only a Little Bit)
|Untitled by yyellowbird via Flickr|
In a recent conversation, a friend* and I were discussing blogging. I think we were discussing diaries and blogging, etc. I mentioned that I tend not to write about some topics on my blog (probably most primarily sex) because my in-laws and parents, and even potentially my boss read it. I vaguely recollect a look of horror from the friend as she said something to the effect of I never censor myself.
I have been carrying this little moment around with me for awhile thinking of it in those spaces when your mind wanders off, and today I thought to actually address it out loud. It occurs to me that I held onto that line because I felt a little guilty for censoring myself. But as I muse over it, I think I'm prepared to whole-heartedly embrace self-censorship on my blog.
First of all, I'm one of the most open people you'll probably ever meet. I have, on more than one occasion, found myself telling virtual strangers more about myself, my relationship, my inner thoughts and workings, than my husband has probably even told me after a decade together. Admittedly, that wouldn't be much more personal than, "I prefer not to go by Nate," which, no exaggeration, took him a year to tell me and came out as I introduced him to my parents. But yeah, I'm not great at censoring what comes out of my mouth. However, when it comes to putting my words on paper, or the web in this case, I've always been a bit more circumspect.
It boils down to two things. First, the fact that the web is a public space. My posts get cached. I may one day decide to stop blogging, but it is highly likely that what I have written will still be accessible in some way. It's important not to forget that the words you write or type have permanence. The second is that because you will have an audience, it's important to remember that your words, no matter how anonymous you may think they are now, have the potential to have an impact, whether it's on your life or someone else's. In the age of cyber bullying and cyber sex scandals, I think it's something too many people overlook.
That's not saying that the internet required me to change how I wrote. Chalk it up to my personal sense of grandeur, but even in my diary-writing days, I always wrote like I was addressing a crowd. I tried for that balance of humor in my I'm-so-depressed-that-no-boy-likes-me entries, so it wouldn't be a heavy read, and I wouldn't sound like a pathetic sad-sack. I added details that, as the person experiencing the event, I already knew just to give my reader context. I know, I know, right?
Obviously blogging was not a difficult leap for me. It will come as no surprise to you that I tell everyone the address of my blog, nonchalantly bringing it up in conversation and subtly posting it to my Facebook page hoping to gain more followers. But even if I wasn't happy to make my writing public, I would not, no, could not forget that no matter the code name I gave myself and my husband in my blog, no matter the anonymity I tried to retain even by choosing to write in a diary that I planned to later burn, the act of writing something down gives your words power that you have to be willing to own.
Someday I might have something interesting to add to the topic of sex; even then I'll be choosing my words carefully. Because they're a reflection of me even if they don't have my name attached. But let's be honest here, they'll surely have my name attached. We all know that I don't do anonymity well.
*I cannot remember who I am paraphrasing, so I apologize if it was you and more apologies if my memory of the conversation is wrong. Still, it's not really relevant to the story, so I suppose it's insubstantial to this post.