Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I'm out of the blogging closet

It's not that I have writer's block, exactly. I'd call it more a crisis of conscience. To be more specific: it's feeling stranger and stranger to continue writing about someone behind his back. I'm entering murky waters here. In the over two and a half years that I've been writing here, I've never felt the need to censor myself. For the most part, I give it to you straight: the good, the bad, and the tear-stained and ugly. Every once in a while over the past two and a half years, I've wondered what would happen to my blog, my writing, if I ever started dating someone for long enough that keeping my blog a secret from him would start to feel like just that: a secret I was keeping. I never came to any reasonable conclusions, and up until now, it hasn't really come up. The closest I came to that was Hervé, but he was easy: I knew the whole time that we were only temporary, and he didn't even speak English. It was just easier not to say anything. And now, in light of new events, I find myself wondering all over again. Not that I am ready to 'fess up to everything with my new guy, not at all; there will be no gun jumping here. (Or so I thought.) (Foreshadowing!!!) But now I have to look at everything I post as something that may potentially be read by him someday, and that is a weird, weird feeling. How would he feel reading what I've written about him so far? I have to hope that he would be ok with it, considering it's all been fairly glowing and complimentary. But what if you discovered that, unbeknownst to you, specific details of your personal life had been spilled all over one small corner of the Internet? And what if, say, you had probably never even read a blog before? Would you find it all baffling? Vaguely disturbing? Unsettling? These are all things I have been thinking about lately. So far my guy has been very lovely and loving and laid-back, but you never know what someone may consider as going too far. You just never know with people, do you?

It will all have to come out eventually, I decided, if things keep going the way they are going. But not yet. I will know when the time is right, and it's not now. (I thought.) But you know what happens to the best intentions. One minute you're watching youtube videos of whistling puppies and surprised kittens and dogs riding skateboards (and seriously, if those videos don't turn you into a mushy, sobby blob of molten goo then you are made of stone, people, stone!) and then you're saying, "Hey, you want to see a video of my sister's dog barking while my dad plays the harmonica?" And then you open your video folder and click as quick as you can, but not quick enough, because then he says, "Hey, what's DoW contest?"

"Oh, um, nothing," I say. "Hey, look, it's my sister's dog!"

"Was that your ex-boyfriend?"

"Um, no, it's my old roommate."

"So, what is that?"

"It's...I didn't want to tell you yet."

"Oh. Ok. Well, I won't push it."

"Oh," I say, relieved. "Thanks."

"But you'll tell me later?"

"Yeah."

Then we watch a video of a hedgehog eating a carrot. "Are you moving?" he asks quietly, looking down at my leg.

"What?" I say, confused. "You mean, am I physically moving right now? Am I moving my leg?" I do tend to have a fairly annoying knee jiggling habit, and so I look down, but everything appears still for the moment.

"No, I mean...are you moving away?"

"What? No. I have a lease until August. Why?"

"Well, you said you didn't want to tell me yet."

"Ohh. No, that's not it."

"Are you dating someone else? Did you kill someone?"

"Wha-? No, look...fine. I didn't want to tell you yet, but, well...I have something to tell you."

"Yes?"

"I... I have a blog."

"Ok."

"And...I write about my life, and well, lately...I've written about you."

"Ok."

"Everyone really likes you!"

"Yeah?"

"Well, probably mostly because I keep telling them how great you are."

"I'm not that great."

"Well, anyway...that's it."

"Ok. Well, I won't try to find it or anything."

"Oh...ok."

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

"What is a blog, exactly?"

So, at least now that is out of the way, and he was much less horrified than I had feared. What I didn't anticipate was exactly how uncurious he would be about it, freaking out a bit when he thought I was going to pull it up. "No, don't show me!" he said, flinging his arm over his eyes as I reached for the keyboard.

"I wasn't, er, going to," I said, slightly baffled.

I mean, wouldn't you want to know what kind of rumors the person you were dating was spreading about you all over the Internet? But then again, as I find myself saying over and over...this guy is pretty much the exact opposite of any guy I have ever met before, so perhaps it's only fitting.

So what do you think? Is this a carte blanche to keep on writing the only way I know how- open, honest, and uncensored- without fear of repercussion? I don't know. What I do know is this- the boy is still pretty great, and this blog is back in business, baby!

11 comments:

  1. I doubt he was trying to tell you something by saying that he won't look for it. He doesn't seem like the type to beat around the bush, nor does he seem the type to lie and go look for it.

    You have to follow your heart. While I'd love to hear all about "The Adventures of Rachel in Love," I only want to hear about them if you don't think that they'll disrupt the good thing you have going.

    If you do end up ever showing your blog to him: HI ______!!! ("HI YOU!!!" didn't seem like a nice thing to say.) You're obviously a special guy to have snagged our Rachel. I like you already! :)

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  2. I think we all have to deal with this to a certain extent, whether we're dating or married, or just have families we want to blow steam off about. How much to disclose? How much to censor? I think everyone has to find their own balance that they're comfortable with. Sometimes you really do need to vent and be honest about the things that are going on in your life - sometimes that is the point of the blog. But when they involve personal details about another, they have the right to set limits.

    Maybe the thing to do here is to just ask him how he feels about it. Maybe he's not particularly private and doesn't care one whit about it. Maybe he's fine as long as it remains relatively anonymous. And when it comes to the things you write about him, maybe it's helpful to keep in mind that one day he might read them. He might not be interested at the moment, but someday he might come across it. So you have to know that you can stand up for whatever it is you've written. And as Dawn said, definitely don't sacrifice the good thing you've got for your readers' sake.

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  3. I thought I was in a similar position until recently. That is I was seeing someone for a while until he told me the other day that he just wants to be friends. Now he's open fodder to a certain extent.

    Until that point I hadn't written about him and I also hadn't updated my blog much. I had mentioned that I like writing and that I have a blog but he was also quite uncurious, probably because he only wanted to be friends, or he didn't get what a blog was.

    But if I were getting serious with someone I'd want them to know because blogging is a part of who I am. I'd wait until I knew what was going on.

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  4. It's really hard to write about someone on the internet. I had a similar with Inspector Climate he knew OF the blog for a while and then he started reading it.

    You can only do what makes you comfortable.

    I hope you keep writing honestly about it because its a great read, but I totally understand that that is not always easy.

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  5. Well, I just googled "dow contest blog" which could probably be what he would search for if he were that curious and you didn't appear in the search results... So, I guess you're safe, haha

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  6. I'd say he probably really won't try to look - yet, anyway. Some people are simply not intrigued by this kind of stuff for some odd reason. I think what plays in your favour is that he doesn't really know what exactly to imagine, so it hasn't really peaked his interest. I understand you though, I haven't actually told anyone I know about my blog, with the exception of one friend, and as soon as I told her I frantically ran to my blog to edit... Silly, really. But she never really took much interest in the blog either, so I could stop thinking about what she'd read and tell other people. Some people just are funny and don't take care about the blogging world at all :)

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  7. When I started blogging, I didn't tell the guy I was dating I had one until at least a year later - and I believe I only did because someone else mentioned it in a conversation! But he didn't even know what a blog was and only ever asked to see it once or twice in the following years. He did however ask me for the address after we broke up (ha, yeah right!).

    And I haven't told the current man either - but like you, I've felt obligated to censor some things because of it. (Which is where private blogs can come in really handy!) :)

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  8. c is not into reading my dumb blog, but then again not many people are! but, god, if he had one, i would be all over that like butter on hot corn. maybe is a girl vs guy thing.

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  9. Censorship is always good. I found out a long time ago if you tell about EVERYTHING then EVENTUALLY things get hairy. But it IS your life and he is (hopefully! YAY!) now a part of it and it would be dishonest as a writer to pretend otherwise, non?

    Sqqqueeeee, I am just so happy for you I don't want to stop hearing about it!

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  10. I've been through this before, and with very different reactions. In one case, I began having to heavily censor what I wrote not because I cared what he wrote, but because all of his co-workers started reading it and it was a breach of his privacy at work, especially when we broke up.

    Another ex told me that what I did was my business, and that he was confident enough to not care how I portrayed him or what people think. He even told me he wouldn't blame me for writing exactly why we broke up (the reasons for which are very sordid- and make him look very bad). I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't, because I found out that his sister has been reading the blog and passing it on to various family members.

    It's a touchy subject and I have learned to just navigate it one issue at a time. I think there's always a certain level of censorship, whether you're aware of it or not, and a certain amount of self-awareness and you have to decide how to find the balance between being honest with yourself and your audience and still being comfortable with him reading it. That balance will tip sometimes one way and sometimes another, and the basic rule of thumb I've always followed is: don't write anything that he either doesn't already know (he should never be surprised to find out something) and don't write anything you can't imagine him reading. Those things tend to keep me in line.

    Hope that helps! It's always weird, regardless, I think. :-)

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  11. I find it hilarious that he covered his eyes when he thought you were pulling it up.

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