Monday, September 21, 2009

Privacy vs Exhibitionism

Having a blog is kind of weird if you're the kind of person who wants to write about personal stuff, because where is the line between a healthy amount of privacy and sharing things that are appropriate? I know there are only a small handful of people who are even aware that I have a blog, let alone read it on any sort of regular basis, but still I wonder sometimes if I've said too much. People vary a lot in their tolerance for sharing private things, too. I am pretty liberal with what I share most of the time, but then later I will get embarrassed when I think about how different people will interpret what I've said. Sometimes I write a post and then delete it. Sometimes I have to seriously assess whether I am saying something out of a desire to get attention, a need for love, some sort of exhibitionist tendency, or a genuine desire to communicate something interesting. I think in many ways this is what makes it more desirable to write blog posts about non-personal topics.

I remember the first time I went to a counselor. I was in college. My best friend/roommate and I discovered that we could get 12 sessions for free covered by our school health insurance, so we both thought it was worth trying. It was the first time in my life when I talked about a lot of the stuff that had gone on in my life up until that point and I found the process of trying to sort through things and analyze my resultant behavior to be very interesting. We spent a lot of time talking about our sessions and I also found myself talking a lot about my feelings to other friends and family. It took many years for me to realize that spilling everything in such a way is not always appropriate, that sometimes I need to filter what I talk about with people for my own sake as well as for the other.

I am still sorting out what feels ok in terms of what I write about on my blog. I guess it's a process that will take more time. In the meantime, I will be thinking about more non-personal topics to write about.


Suze said...

Only you can decide where that line is. Some people share a lot of personal stuff on their blogs and some people don't. I think some blogs are deceptive, too; it seems as though the person is sharing lots of stuff when there's still a lot they keep private.

My parents read my blog, so...that limits mine necessarily! :)

Celeste said...

I hear you on this. I wrote about my own take on this recently at my blog.

I don't think that there are any rules. If I do get really personal in my blog, I hope that I can still say something that is general and will apply to the reader's experience. I hope that I am not just cryin' out in loneliness, or seeking affirmation or love.

But, I certainly don't expect that people are going to take something meaningful away each time I blog. I mean, I can blog about some pretty dumb stuff (and I'm proud of it. :-)