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Tuesday, 16 October 2012 09:48

Privacy In Our Connected World

Here's a picture of my daughter - outside, and on the potty.  She doesn't get a lot of privacy in her world...

I came across an article on Etsy called 'Are We Sharing Too Much?' that focuses mostly on the large amount of photographs and personal information found on Facebook - particularly of newborns! Facebook is a great place to announce a new baby, because although I'm sure most people inform their immediate family and friends in different ways, you can be sure the message is getting out there!

Newborns and Facebook aside, this is something that has crossed my mind occasionally in reference to my blog - my daughters', and my family's privacy. 

I think I may be a bit of an oddity here, because I don't really understand privacy.  When I do something embarrassing and I'm all alone, the first thing I do is email anyone I can think of - what's the point of doing something funny if no one can laugh at you, seriously?  Also, if I'm struggling with a personal or family issue, the first thing I do is talk to people - preferably people outside the situation who might be able to offer some unbiased thoughts or advice.  I don't believe our personal struggles should be dealt with alone, and we need the help of other people. If I hear of someone else struggling with something, I am quick to offer my experiences also, because if my challenges and struggles can not be used to help other people, then all of the pain I went through must have been completely in vain.  But that's just how I see things.

I remember a few years ago having a frank discussion with my biological mother about her pregnancy with me, and the events surrounding her leaving me with my Dad.  She made no apologies for her behavior, but simply stated things as they were.  She left me.  She didn't want me. There is no hiding this fact, and I don't want anyone to try to hide it from me.  I don't see it as a personal attack, it is simply something that WAS - she was a woman in pain who didn't want another baby.  My response to it, and struggles over the years are also something that just WERE - I suffered quite serious abandonment issues and probably (not consciously) believed that I wasn't worth much because even my Mother had no interest in sticking around.  I don't blame her for that, because this was my reaction to my circumstance, just like her leaving was her reaction to hers.  In my pain I hurt people too, so we are the same.

Our conversation was refreshing because I knew she was not going to lie to me. She wasn't going to try to candy-coat anything to 'make me feel better' because that just isn't who she is. It's not who I am either. If you ask me an honest question you can be quite certain I will give you my honest answer - I may be wrong or misinformed, but I won't be lying. I just don't see the point. And I realized something I probably already knew while we were speaking - my inability to do anything but 'tell it how I see it', is a trait I inherited from her.

When it comes to privacy, in fact, I don't WANT it. I don't want my life - or really anything about it - to be private. I have challenged friends repeatedly to try to come up with a question I won't answer or that will make me uncomfortable - usually after I have been approached with a question that begins with 'I don't know if this is too personal, but...' No. It isn't too personal - nothing is too personal.

Many people, however, want to keep a lot of their lives private.  I think I can respect this, but I don't understand it. I can't wrap my brain around the reasons why you would be concerned about having your life 'in the open'.  It's a foreign concept to me.

Where I struggle is in the fact that I desire to publicly discuss myself and my life - and if you have read my About page, you'll know I have a lot of things to talk about.  More than I wrote about there, in fact, and all of these things involve information about other people.  I can't talk about the fact that my biological mother left me to be raised by my Dad without talking about them.  I can't talk about the effect that my Dad's multiple dating relationships had on me without talking about his personal life.  I can't talk about my struggles adapting to a Step-Mom and how all of that eventually turned out without talking about her. Also, I have had relationships in the past that can be described as more than 'rocky', some that I still struggle with personally, and in order to get some of that off my chest, I have to divulge information about other people.

I can avoid saying names, and places, but ultimately I haven't been overly careful with my own personal information and some of you out there - those I have never met - have my first and last name, and if you wanted to could probably easily 'track me down'.  I didn't intend to do that, but one of my email addresses contains my last name and sometimes this is the one that slips out when I'm commenting on other blogs, etc. And I'm not overly concerned about anyone being 'out to get me.'

Also, many of my readers are friends or family, so they obviously know who I am talking about despite any name changes.

I have tried to be careful, and respectful about others' privacy and have not shared a lot that I would have liked to- but I may have crossed a line or two in my naivety about privacy.  My husband and daughter however, have no secrets :) I just pray my daughters end up feeling the same way I do about privacy...

What are your thoughts about this? Do you have certain boundaries regarding what you will or will not share on your blog, or on Facebook?

Read 1404 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 10:42

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