Saturday, August 04, 2007

TMI?

From time to time I'll pass my URL onto people who I think will like it. I'm wrong as often as I am right. As many people that say they like it never mention it to me. That's fine. At least it didn't cost them any money.

Two people who didn't enjoy reading my blog made comments to me that I have been puzzling over ever since. One, a friend of my husband's, said he felt uncomfortable reading such personal things about someone he knew. He felt he wasn't sure how to respond, or why I would want people to know these things about me.

Okay. Noted.

Another, also a friend of my husband's, told me last night at my kitchen table, over a plate of my food and a bottle of my wine, that he read it once but stopped because it stressed him out. "It's too deep," he said, smiling. "I mean, everyone has issues, but you don't always want to know all your friend's issues. It's like how we all go to the bathroom, but we don't talk about it because we don't want to hear that part of each other's lives."

Okay. Sort of the same as above, though relating what I talk about to bathroom issues is a new twist. The fact that this friend entered college without knowing that women menstruate may inform how I receive that comment.

My friend Jane, who has been very positive about the blog, asked me how I can be so bold about putting such personal things out there. We were standing on a dark corner of Capitol Hill digesting the beers we'd shared at Smith.

"It's not personal," I blurted. "I never put anything on there unless I think a bunch of women are going to identify with it."

"But how do you keep your family from having opinions about it?" she asked. She has something like nine brothers and sisters.

"My family doesn't know my URL," I said. "And when they ask for it, I tell them no."

"YOU TELL THEM NO?" she gaped. "That would never have occurred to me." She stared out into the night. "Huh."

I shrugged. "I can't write the blog if I think my family's going to read it."

"But how can you report what you report knowing that you have no control over things?"

This question perplexed me the most. Perhaps I misunderstood it. As I see it, I have total control over what goes on this blog; I write the damn thing. I do not have total control over the happenings in my life, but it wouldn't occur to me to include everything in my life. Maybe Jane meant that I have no control over the material once it leaves my desktop. She's right. I tend not to worry about that. I have a 12 stepper's attitude about it: "Take what you like, and leave the rest."

The whole point of this blog is not so that my intimate life can be known by many. That would be a skeevy impulse, at least for me. I just know that the lives of a good many women are too full; of self-doubt, irritation, hormonal-related illnesses and health issues, outright depression, huge mental and physical burdens, daily kid-induced insanity, confusion about who they are supposed to be, and very little real understanding from their families, communities or partners. In fact, the general sense I get from talking to a lot of women is that they are perpetually in a struggle of one kind or another, made intractable by motherhood. So when I get an e-mail from a woman telling me that I am the only mother she knows who has ever said it like it is, well darn it, I feel a little bit more sane. So, I hope, does she.

In any case, if I'm doing this blog right, it isn't really about me. So whatever you think about it is fine. Really.

4 comments:

Rose said...

You know what is funny? I don't give any of my family your URL either, not because of your posts but because of my comments, I have had some pretty honest posts on here that I think my family would be a little shocked and bothered by and I don't want them to know how I feel about certain things (my husband is the only one that knows how I have felt at times)because it would not help me feel better. I do however give it out to friends of mine who I know will relate and feel more comfortable about expressing thier views, i tend to be very distrusting of women who go on and on about how happy they are in motherhood. it is a wonderful thing but with it comes a lot of memories (from childhood) and heartache! For some of us it is too much to handle. And to have friends who totally get what you are going through and know that you love your family and children more than anything but there are just those days when you don't think you can take another second, it is priceless. Your blog has allowed many of my friends to find comfort and sympathy in your words and has opened up a line of communication that may have never been opened...how cool is that? I don;t think it is TMI at all! I have felt many of the same things you have and just have not been able to articulate that feeling and reading your blog has really helped me figure out what I am feeling. I actually don't believe in TMI. If you want to tell me about your bathroom issues I am happy to listen..I hear it is supposed to be S shaped...that has never happened to me but when it does the whole world will know:)

susie said...

so true about the memories. my husband thinks I'm a nutball when I get hyper about reliving, say, the kindergarten experience, but it can be really heavy and not fun.

Thanks again for your amazing support, and please ask your friends to leave comments so I know they're out there!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is any surprise or coincidence that both of the comments you spoke about came from men. They have a different view of a lot of issues - as evidenced by their comments to you! I see your blog helping those who have a similar view/ or issues as you. Just because it does not universally apply to all readers - does not mean it is TMI. :)

Junebug Jonna said...

Your bravery is awesome, S. It's like the honorable Mr. Lennon once said, "The secret is, there is no secret." I'm glad you're sharing your secrets.