Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tell Me Tuesday... Sunday Edition *updated*

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.
Luke 12:2

I know, I know, it's not exactly Tuesday, not even close. But I need you blog-writers out there to tell me something...

Have you ever asked someone NOT to read your blog? If you have, why?

I just asked someone not to read my blog, and already I'm secondguessing my decision. You see, every once in a while, I want to write about a subject, but consider my known audience and think better of it. For example, I know for a fact that there are some men that pop in over here, so I never write about my cramps or pms out of consideration for their um, delicate sensibilities. I also know that people that go to my church, are part of my family, live in my town, and go to my kids' school read here from time to time. Out of respect for my children and husband, that rules out any stories that will come to bite me/us in the booty. My husband reads too, so that keeps me on my toes about writing about things that would make him less than proud of his wife... sometimes.

For the most part, I actually enjoy the accountability. It helps me avoid foot-in-mouth syndrome, (most of the time) and also keeps my flesh in check as I write. I think it's good to have the reminder that I am not writing anonymously, and that my words can affect people. I don't mind the certain level of censure that comes with the job... really.

However, over the last couple of weeks, I have reconnected with an old high school friend. One that was coming up on the
Paths series, if you get my drift.... and all of a sudden the terrifying thought entered my head... what if he knows about my blog!?!?!

Quickly, I went to my myspace, where this blog originated from, and erased every possible link to here. I went through old posts from this site to see if any recognizable mention of him was here. Whew! Nothing. I haven't yet written about his role in the Paths series, and had only one passing mention of his existence on my
200th post. I was in the clear.

Later that day, I went to post. I must have started and stopped a hundred times. Writer's block in the extreme. I felt all bound and gagged by these odd feelings of "
who is going to read this?" I tried again the next day, nothing. All of a sudden it was like I realized I am not singing in the shower, but in giant auditorium in front of hundreds of people. The freedom I felt when I wrote posts like this and this was gone.

So, last night, I popped online to chat with him in instant messenger and asked him if he had read my blog.

"I just peeked at it, haven't actually read it yet." was the answer. My face felt all hot. Now what?

"How would you feel, " I said very tentatively... "about not reading it?" As soon as the words were typed, I realized I hadn't thought out how I would explain when the inevetable next question was asked...

"Okay, but why?"

"Well, I don't know. I just... well... ummm... it's kind of like my um, diary and...."

"Am I in it??"

"Um, no, but... well, I feel like knowing you would read it would effect my writing and..."

"Now I want to read it"

"I know, but. as a favor, could you please not?"

"Of course. No problem."

I thought for sure that would make me feel better, that I could sit here and write good old fashioned HisGirl post, and move on. But for some reason now I feel more vulnerable, less open, and more... well... cautious. And I'm not sure I made the right move, either.

Should I feel more comfortable saying these things to strangers than to friends... should it matter? I know I'm fooling myself thinking I can control who reads here. Should I rescind my request for him not to read this, apologize for being so secretive, and just send a link? Oh! the dark recesses of an overthinking mind.

So today, I'm asking for your input ...
1) Has anything like this happened to you? what did you do? what was the outcome?

2) Should there be a difference between what you would write on a blog and what you would say to people you know in real life?

3)Is it just dumb to take back my request now? Should I? Should I not? ugh.

Okay, my friends... I want to hear from you. please... tell me-

* UPDATE: I went ahead and rescinded my request for my friend not to read the blog. I took into consideration all the fantastic advice ya'll gave. The truth is, you're right. I already follow those self-imposed guidelines of not saying anything that I would be ashamed of- and so there was nothing to be so secretive about. I took some time to let God examine my heart to see what it was that was bugging me so much. Turns out it was just a fear of vulnerability, and a lack of trust in God. I realized that was dumb, so I sent a quick email with a link to the blog, inviting him to come on over anytime. *waves* hey, man! Now, all of you... behave. We have company. ;)


Sing4joy said...

Oh! Mamap just posted on this subject and is taking a break from her blog to re-evaluate. You should re-read that post. And that is all the advice I have for you. Can't wait to see what other, smarter people say.

chickadee said...

i think you constantly have to have in your mind who is the last person on earth i would want to read this and write with that person in mind. you have to because eventually THAT person will find your blog and read it. it does limit what you can/would say and in my opinion it should. unless you are ready for the entire world to hear about whatever then don't write about whatever. write about something else. and write about whatever in your private locked journal then burn it.

Scrapper Mom said...

I agree with Chickadee although my life is pretty much an open book. I don't have a lot of secrets, but I do have a little dirty laundry in my life. I have written about some of it, but I think you just have to use a little discretion and be conscience of who "might" read just in case. I don't want to write anything that, like you said, would be an embarrasment to my husband or my kids. But it is I want to feel free to write about whatever. I know my hubby reads, and I have talked with him about how he should never take it personally when I write about my ex-boyfriends, or anything of that nature. I don't plan on ever NOT touching on something I feel compelled to write about and you shouldn't either...once again..just use discretion. I don't see what the big deal is about your friend reading. He may get a kick out of it. It is part of your life. You can't change it, so you might as well laugh about it.

That's just my opinion, but others that are more private may feel differently. Like I said..I'm pretty blunt and open about stuff.

This is long. I hope it makes sense.

AND..btw...I LOVED your path series and looking forward to more!

truth said...

I haven't asked anyone to NOT read my blog. Mostly, because I figure that would make them want to all the more. Sometimes there are those who I wish didn't, at different times, for different reasons.

Tonight, for example, my heart is hurting. I really wanted to sit down and express it all in a post. It helps me sort through my feelings and such. But I couldn't. It was too personal, too many people who read my blog that could be hurt and are too close to the situation. I didn't want to embarrass anyone either. But I really needed to do it. I just spent the last hour writing like 20 sentences-just trying to be discreet. It didn't help at all. I felt all muffled inside. Feelings were not sorted, just shoved deeper.

Let us know what you decide and how you deal with this.

Tracy said...

There are so many times that I've thought about disclosing more about my life, but I won't. If my audience were totally anonymous, yes, I probably would. But since my readers include family and friends, nope. I have to stay on the safe side.

Jenster said...

A lot of bloggers have anonymous blogs for this very reason. But there's still a risk of discovery.

I like having the censoring, too, because there's a lot of ugly I could write if there wasn't the fear of certain people reading it.

1) The only thing kind of like this is when I wrote about post-cancer intimacy when our church was gearing up to do a sex series. It left me extremely vulnerable, but it all turned out to be a pretty good thing.

2) This is a really tough thing because sometimes a post goes to a certain audience. Just like you wouldn't talk about women's issues to a group of men. But if it's a mixed audience the men may have to just suck it up. :o)

3) I have no idea. What if you were to come clean with him - you never named him so he's still anonymous...

Genny said...

I feel your angst...don't be too hard on yourself. I think blogs have many different purposes and I think you are the only one that can say what yours is for (sorry, I know that's not helping much!). Your situation will work out, I'm sure! Hang in there!

Gretchen said...

This is a familiar scenario to me, as I had asked my son not to read my blog and he read every last post. Thus, I changed url's and he and I are rebuilding trust.


Because we are women and verbal processors, I think the temptation is always there to say too much. After all, you don't know me from Adam, but we've built a cyber trust which is also a bit anonymous, which lends itself to full disclosure. Also, it feels good just to "get things out". Yet, I do believe, as much as I want to say e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g., I need to constantly pray for discernment.

Pray about the right answer, HG. Meanwhile, I think you've received some sound advice.

There are very few 100% safe places in which to vent/share/etc. Bummer, huh?

My guess is--even if your friend read this blog, he'd be so very touched by your transparency and by your wish to do the right thing, even 20 years ago.

Keep us posted on your thoughts; good question.

Suzanne said...

Tough question and I don't have any better answers than what everyone else has already said. My only hope is that your blog will continue to be as open and honest as it always has been. That's what makes your posts so wonderfully inspiring!

FYI, I've got an award for you over at my place.

Stacy said...

HI-You don't know me..but I stop by quite often and really am blessed by your honesty and your love for God.

I am really new to the blogging world (about a month-so take my thoughts for what they are worth!! :) and as I post throughout the week....I always pray over each post...that God would use it to bless those who read it...I don't say this to sound "holy" :) I say this to encourage you that you are HIS and your words flow from HIS long as your flesh doesn't get in the way. (Yeh...flesh/spirit thing always ties me up)...but you have the mind of Christ.

If all you say, is said in love....His love is going to come through!

This guy, if he reads your blog and reads things about the past....and continues reading...he'll see "that the old is gone and the new has come!"

Your blog is your words and representation of you...and Christ living in you...

I would tell him he can read it...and let God use it and use you!

In HIM-Stacy

Beck said...

Everyone I know, pretty much, reads my blog. So I am very, VERY cautious about what I write - I don't write anything, for example, that might embarrass me if my mother-in-law read it.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

When I first started blogging, I did so because it was going to be a continuation of devotionals I'd been emailing to people every week. So, I invited everyone I was emailing to just read it on the blog. Still, I tend to forget that people I know read my blog, until someone will mention something to be about it. That's always a reality check! I try to be as honest on my blog as I am with friends...not my husband or my BEST friends, though. My rule of thumb is: (a) if I wouldn't stand in front of my church to broadcast it and/or (b) it would dishonor my husband, I don't write it.

As far as asking someone not to read, I've never thought about that...given my self-imposed rules.

PJ said...

Interesting! If your friend actually does not read your blog, he is certainly a true blue friend. The human tendency is to go DO it! There are many hours in the day...and we humans are weak!

I always keep in mind that my blog may be (and is) read by people in our congregation (I am in a pastoral position); it's read by my family (including my grown son -- I doubt the younger one read it, but ya never know); it's read by people I work with; it's read by my husband. (Not that I have thousands of readers...but the readership is widespread. Occasionally I'll ask my hubby to read one BEFORE I post, if I'm referring to anything "church-y", even indirectly.

Certain topics I just won't mention, like a childhood issues that I just hint at. (And I just discovered that sometimes my comments will come up when googled...I've been commenting on Someone else's blog with impunity!!!) Sexual issues I avoid -- my grown SON(S) reading it? No way!

But I find there is usually a way to hint at or infer those issues without blatant descriptions or naming people.

There have been some church issues I would LOVE to blog about, but I simply cannot. There are some people that I know are looking for ammunition...or I don't trust that my own attitudes/opinions about things are the ones God wants me to have. (It isn't paranoia if they're really after you!!) I wait until my attitudinal issue is resolved -- or God speaks to me about it, then I deal with my attitude without too many details.

Absolutely anybody who has known me anytime in my lifetime (Including kids in my classroom should they be so inclined!!!) COULD find me simply by googling my name. I've been on the blog for so long, that I come up easily on the indexes. It's a caution. Kids in my that's a REAL caution.

Are you being overly sensitive? You are a wonderful, witty, and insightful human being who has a way with words. Yes, some of your "history" blogs have been very personal. They reveal a tenderhearted person who once struggled with acceptance and can now admit it. That makes you MORE lovable...not less so.

If this person could not accept you knowing who you are, is it really a friendship that you have?

Per chance old friends contact me via Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 or Class Reunion, I just don't mention the blog (unless I want to) and hope they don't find it. If they do....c'est la vie.

Hope this is helpful.

Becky said...

Ohhhh, man...this hits sooo close to home right now!

Initially, when I first began blogging a year ago, I didn't know where I wanted to go with it, but over time, I guess you could say it did become an online scrapbook/journal, recording the memorable day-to-day events in my life, and never write about anything I would be ashamed of if those outside of my inner-circle of friends or family read it.

Only a couple of my IRL friends knew about it, along with my mom and siblings at first, and I've enjoyed the grand experiment of seeing if anyone I knew would 'find' me (since I have a rather 'anoymous' persona of FrumpMama online), and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting a lot of great friends online.

Well, recently my sister started up a blog. Somehow, my dad got wind of the fact that she did, and began pressing to be able to read our blogs. We both tried to delicately skirt the issue, saying things like, "It's really just how we keep in touch with our girlfriends, dad..." and later, "We didn't really want any foxes in the henhouse...", adding that womanly topics are often discussed...the kind that we would only ever really discuss amongst other women, and wouldn't care to have men (in general, not including Jeff, lol) reading in on.

He didn't get the hint. Apparently feeling he was missing out on big secrets, and deviously got my sisters blog address out of my brother and passed it around HIS family (all his brothers...our uncles and his dad). This wouldn't have been bad, except that they could get to my blog by clicking on my picture in her comments. Ugh.

I, too, felt like I had a bunch of peeping toms suddenly staring in my windows (though my stats never showed they 'found' me). It was the principle of the whole thing. Had they found me on their own, I would have dealt with that then...but I felt very violated (and a little betrayed by my brother passing out that info without checking with us first), and created a bit of a stink about it within my family. My mom and sisters were all in agreement, and ultimately, my sister just took her blog private which solved the problem for us, as my brother hadn't given my blog address out. He was miffed, saying that "How can you let strangers read your blog...and maybe creepy wierdos, but not your own family? Your blog is PUBLIC." My problem with his argument is that these uncles are NOT computer savvy (two don't even have computers), and would never have found our blogs without HIS help.)

There was much more to my feelings on the matter, in that these uncles and grandfather have never responded to my overtures at keeping in touch with them over the years, nor have they made any effort to keep up with me since my parents divorce back in 1987...and I didn't especially WANT them to be privy to the daily goings-on in my life (anonymously) if I wasn't important enough to them to have kept up with through the regular channels all these years...especially with details I normally only share with my close friends and inner-circle.

Then there was the little matter of my mom's feelings on the topic, having commented on both our blogs regularly and not wanting them to be privy to her thoughts and remarks, either. It was all very awkward, harking back to the junk we girls went through when we got married, and had to deal with our divorced parents both in the same room again with their new spouses.

Oy. Anyway, I'm soo glad that they weren't able to get through. Not because I have anything to hide, but because I've worked hard to remain somewhat anonymous on my blog (and they'd be likely to slip up revealing details that would be a total giveaway as to our actual locale, etc.), and because in real life, I normally wouldn't share most of what I do on my blog with anyone but those closest to me.

Clear as mud? Anyway, I understand that cringy feeling you get knowing that certain persons might read it...but again, you did change the names in your Path series, so he could never really know for sure.

Halfmoon Girl said...

This is a tricky situation isn't it? Glad you got it worked out. My worst case would be my ex and his wife reading my blog- I wouldn't want them to be privy to my thoughts- a self protection thing I guess.