Why click Publish?

In October, a person I lived with hit me. On purpose. It was an event that was both the climax of one narrative, and, perhaps, the precipitating action of another.

Ever since, I have been struggling not only with living this narrative, but also with knowing how or whether to tell the story, to put it into words to share with others.

Like Joan Didion, I’ve long thought that the primary reason I write has been fairly simple and very personal:

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

Publishing–the act of putting our writing out into the world–is an entirely different thing.

When one writes primarily for personal reasons, as I do, whether or not to write is a simple question with a simple answer:

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When one publishes, when one has at one’s hands the means for easy publication (as we all do now), the question is much trickier.

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And even this doesn’t really capture it. Far more often than the chart would indicate, the question needs the word “possible” and my answer is actually “maybe.” The idea of my own gain is always mostly abstract because for me, both writing and publishing are entirely optional. I made choices early in my life to make it so. Though there was much I didn’t understand (about everything), I somehow knew (fiercely, without doubt) that I did not want to tie my writing to my livelihood. Not “real” writing, anyway–the words I cared most about, the ones I set down in order to find out what my experiences mean.

I’ve experienced traditional publishing, but probably because I did not care much about influence or money (and subsequently didn’t get much of either from it), my experiences with traditional publication felt a little hollow, a little flat. (Not unlike losing my virginity, which mostly caused me to wonder what all the fuss had been about.)

Blogging has been a different thing entirely.

To carry my questionable metaphor further, writing and (traditional) publishing are, it seems to me, fairly masturbatory acts, at least for the writer.

Yes, yes, yes, I know:  Published words can have profound effects on readers. But in the traditional model of word sharing, those effects are rarely known by writers in any but the most abstract of ways.

Blogging–the small, old-school blogging of the type I do here–is much more a two-person affair with the potential for intimacy. The answer to the question of Why publish? is different here. I’m under no illusion that publishing isn’t still very much about my own desires and gratification, but the notion that putting words out there will do something for someone other than just me is more than an abstraction. And what we create here is just that:  what we create. Whatever happens in this space is as much about readers as it is me. My words are the opening of a conversation, not a lecture.

So, the question of whether or not to publish is a quite different one when the venue is a space such as this. To answer it, I must consider what value my words might have to others, what benefits my partners–my community–might get from them. I have to weigh those potential benefits against possible costs to myself and others, which are so often those I know (sometimes intimately) IRL. It’s rarely an easy equation to balance when the topic and the truths are hard.

So. Do I tell the story of being hit? I’m down in that last big bubble on the chart, where my words are hanging out in a drafts folder. There are things I want to say about mental health care. I know that shared experience is always valuable, but I don’t know how much value my words on this might create. I don’t know how much sharing those words–even in a space as small as this one is (but which could blow up in size at any time)–might cause more harm than good, particularly to some I love. Though I boldly claimed voice as my word for the coming year just days ago, I have more questions than answers about how to use it. That’s why I’m doing here what I always do when I write:  I’m writing entirely to find out what I’m thinking. And by publishing here, I’m letting you know that I’d like to know what  you think, too.

Hope we can talk in the comments.

35 thoughts on “Why click Publish?

  1. Diane says:

    Rita, first, let me just say that I’m very sorry to hear (even superficially) about what happened to you. I can’t imagine the pain you must be going through, some of which you alluded to in your piece about Siberia. One of the interesting things about the internet and social media is that they are both impersonal and deeply personal at the same time. People rue the time we spend with electronics in our hands and in front of our faces, but those are the very same tools that allow us to find community in far-away places and make “friends” with people we’ve never met in person. Sharing your story here — in what is apparently a very friendly and supportive place for you — offers the potential not only for you to help others but for those of out here in your cyber-world to help you. Whatever you decide, my thoughts are with you…. Diane

    • Rita says:

      Your words about internet/social media are so true. There’s so much junk “out there” now, and the lack of physical connection makes it easy for some to be cruel and hurtful to others they don’t know. At the same time, we now have means to connect with others we otherwise might never have connected with. I’ve thought often about how things were for my parents when I was growing up with a profoundly autistic brother, how isolated we were in that experience. He wasn’t even correctly diagnosed until he was in his early 20s. I just don’t think that would happen today, because chances are they would have found someone, somewhere in the world having (and sharing) experiences that would help them understand their own. Knowing how to share and participate while also keeping ourselves and those we love safe is tricky, for sure. Thank you for the thoughts and understanding.

  2. Kathy says:

    I hit my mother when I was a teenager. What we both didn’t know at the time is that I’m on the Austism Spectrum. ( I’m not saying that as a way to excuse what I did, just to put a tiny bit of context on what happened ). Autism/Aspeger’s, depression, anxiety, Schizophrenia- my family has had it all.

    My gut reaction is that if you are willing, and we all know you are able ( you are a good writer ), hitting publish could be so beneficial to both you and your readers.

    • Rita says:

      Thank you, Kathy. I think we’ve gotten to the place where we have a good idea about why violence is happening. Knowing what to do about it is the thing we’re wrestling with. It’s hard for all of us–the child, the other children, all the parents. It’s hard to meet everyone’s needs. I’m sure, given your experiences, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I hope you’ve all come through to a better place.

    • Rita says:

      I am so glad you are here, too. And that you click Publish. It was a piece you wrote about migraine that made me connect with you.

  3. Lisa says:

    This is a tough one. I have some similar difficulties, and I usually come down on the side of not publishing. I have often thought of getting an anonymous blog, because holy cow do I have stuff to write about. But for me, it comes down to the fact that many of the stories I would write are about people who are not adults and have no control over my words or any means of responding. Some of my stories would damage the relationship with that person and others in real life. My answer might be different if I were writing about an adult, or had the adult’s permission to write.

    Mental health is a subject full of shame and hiding in the dark. Its a two-edged sword–how will it ever become less shame-filled if we don’t talk about it and bring it into the light? But the other side is if you talk about it, you brand the mentally ill person as mentally ill, and that can have far-reaching consequences. The internet is forever.

    Having said that, I read as many blogs as I can find about mental illness (and food allergies, and specific health disorders, and a few grief blogs. You know, all the happy stuff). That makes me two-faced, I guess–I am searching for other people braver than myself, who will share what I would not. Most of the blogs about mental illness I have found tend to be either people writing about their own experiences (the author is the mentally ill one), or family caring for disabled mentally ill family members.

    I would definitely love to read what you have written, and I’m sure that most of your readers would as well, should you decide to publish.
    Lisa recently posted…foyer, with a different dresser and paintingMy Profile

    • Katherine says:

      “I am searching for other people braver than myself, who will share what I will not”.

      Brilliantly put. I am so totally in that boat.

      My last post was about meal planning. Bland topic. I got a few texts and several positive comments on fb- “Great idea! I have been in such a rut!” sort of things. The one that stuck with me all day long? The once piece of snark that was in there, criticizing how I make my kids milkshakes on Sunday nights. I channeled Brene Brown all afternoon to get over that one stupid comment. “It is not the critic who counts…” I told myself, all afternoon.

      And that was about meal planning. Lentils. Eggplant. Nothing important.

      So- whew. For a story so very near to my core… I would do exactly what you are doing. Draft it. Sit on it. Consider. Ask for input.

      My guess is that, as you sit on it, your answer will get more clear. The story will not go anywhere until then. And if/when you choose to hit “publish” you have a community who wants to hear your voice.
      Katherine recently posted…Meals that Work For UsMy Profile

      • Susan says:

        Good grief – what a ridiculous thing to criticize … milkshakes are awesome! Too bad that individual doesn’t just send $20 bucks to Feed the Hungry or similar site each time she’s compelled to criticize one family’s meal choices. How about adding a “click here if you are appalled by my family’s favorite menu item” that would direct the clicker to a food donation website? So sorry it took you down for a bit : ( .

      • Rita says:

        Back when I was a home blogger, I used to post things on Hometalk. I wrote a post about cleaning out and re-doing my daughter’s extraordinarily messy room, which some took as an invitation to critique both my daughter and my parenting of her. After the first few such comments, my inner roaring Mama Bear shuffled back into her den and calmed down, but I know just what you mean. It’s really hard to feel misunderstood (to BE misunderstood) and by strangers. I guess I’ve realized that’s part of the territory when you put your words/experiences out there–even in a relatively safe place such as this. (And that this is a safe place is a bit of an illusion, and I know that.) Although the chances are small, you never know when something you publish could go viral, and if that happens much can get out of your control.

        And if some Facebook “friend” wants to snark about how you feed your kids…I’m wondering if it stung because the issue isn’t really about lentils or milkshakes but about someone who is supposed to be your friend being unfriendly? In the long run, what got my Mama Bear to brush off those comments was realizing that the people making them didn’t matter to me at all, and that they were speaking from a place of ignorance (knowing so little about me, my daughter, and the bigger picture of my parenting). As I have so many times asked my daughter when she’s been reluctant to share herself with the world in some way, “Why do you care what ____ thinks? How important is ____’s opinion of you, and why is it important?” I never mean those as challenges to her decision not to share, but as legit questions to help her explore if she’s making the right one for herself. Don’t know if this is helpful at all, but thought I’d throw it out there. 🙂

    • Rita says:

      This paragraph right here: “Mental health is a subject full of shame and hiding in the dark. Its a two-edged sword–how will it ever become less shame-filled if we don’t talk about it and bring it into the light? But the other side is if you talk about it, you brand the mentally ill person as mentally ill, and that can have far-reaching consequences. The internet is forever.”

      You have captured the essence of this struggle for me. That and the fact that some of the players in this story are not adults and cannot give consent. Even if they were, it raises questions about who the story belongs to. What does it mean when we cannot tell “our” story without telling someone else’s at the same time? I suppose anonymity would be one way, but it’s pretty much impossible to remain anonymous any more.

      I don’t think you are two-faced at all. I think you’re just being a good mom, trying to figure out how to best care for your children.

      • cat says:

        As I read your post, and then the comments, these are the same thoughts swilling through my head. I grew up physically abused by a parent, and sexually abused by a sibling. There’s a lot of story to tell and has been a lifetime of process for me to go through. Always though, when I’ve thought about airing my head processes it has always come down to it not being my story alone. I’ve also learnt that the hard way airing other stories that were not only mine. Shit happens and it can be shocking, but unless you want the can of worms that comes with a ‘full frontal’ airing then I would advise you to keep it within the realms of what you can handle and don’t expose.

        • Rita says:

          Thank you for sharing your experience and your insights from it. That is a lot of story to tell, and it seems the child victim of abuse by an adult should be able to tell her story without ramifications, because the lines of right/wrong seem to straight and clear. That it isn’t that way is precisely why it’s so hard to tell stories with lines that are more tangled.

          • cat says:

            Sadly the straight lines are often seen differently by the people involved. I suppose for me there was nothing to gain from confronting my family after the first attempts. When mental issues are involved it can become too crazy. Realising that though gave me the insight needed to move on and make my own life. Hope things are a bit happier for you now – sending love your way xx

  4. Marian says:

    This is such a difficult question you’ve posed, Rita, and I’ve been mulling it over all morning.

    I have to preface my response with an admission: fear plays an enormous role in my life. It’s a crappy filter through which I view things, but this is unfortunately where I come from. So if I were in your shoes, and was trying to sort through all these questions — what will the ramifications be if I hit publish? Will I cause irreparable damage to those involved? Will I lose the trust of other people involved in the situation, even if I have their tacit approval? — my worst-case scenario fears would over-ride the possible benefits. Because yes, there would be benefits, I’m sure. You DO have a very supportive group of readers here, and I’m sure there would be those who would gain valuable insight from reading about your experience, but, but … because the potential exists for your words to go far-and-wide — leaving anonymity in the dust, not just for you, but for everyone involved — it just seems too big a risk. I really feel that, given the year you just had in 2015, this is one case where self-preservation should trump voice. (But just to emphasize where I’m coming from … did I mention that fear rules my life?)

    I often ponder the reasons for writing/blogging. Connecting with like-minded people and building a community is a huge motivator. And value (making a difference) is equally up there in importance for me, just as it is for you. When I think of how best to make a difference, I often consider my time: how should that finite resource be spent for maximum impact? Sometimes I have chosen to not blog about a particular issue, but instead to write a letter directly to the source because I feel that would be the best way to effect change. So having said that, I wonder … if one of your motivators for telling your story is to highlight deficiencies/problems in the way the healthcare system deals with mental illness, perhaps there is a safer forum, one in which anonymity is protected. Could you write directly to those who may have the power to enact change (doctors/policy makers/hospital administration)? Is there a support group who would benefit from hearing your story? Do they have a newsletter?

    Whatever you choose to do, you know I’ll be here for you….
    Marian recently posted…Sock-cess!My Profile

    • Rita says:

      I think you raise a really good point–we do have finite resources, and there is more than one way (and possible venue) to use our words to advocate for change. You’ve got me thinking here…

      And, I know some things about fear and how it impacts decision-making. What I can say is, fear is a thing I am grateful for. Fear is something that protects us. Fear can keep us from getting into harmful situations. For me, the challenge is to make sure my thinking is clear about what’s a healthy vs. unhealthy fear. Or amount of fear. There’s certainly no black-and-white in any of these questions, is there?

  5. Susan says:

    In her Woulda Coulda Shoulda blog, Mir has written extensively about her daughter’s mental health issues and so many other parents found solace and hope in her words that fit their own family journeys. As the parent of a recovering addict, I found strength and refuge from the storm in so many other parents stories that were posted on personal blogs and addiction support websites. “Welcome to Siberia” brought tears because it spoke directly to my own experience, as opposed to that of my offspring (whose own story is not mine to tell). My strength, hope, and courage was/is found in groups that meet, share, and find support within the principles of anonymity. Not sure if this is of any help to you but the door opened and I walked on through it : ) Best to you and yours …

    • Rita says:

      I credit such groups with saving me, so I think I know a lot of what you’re saying here. Cane and I have been talking about 12-step groups lately–how and why they work–because of a recent article that appeared in The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/). Both of us believe it is the sharing of stories that had the most to do with the benefits we gained. I absolutely believe that story saves lives. It’s why I became an English teacher. It’s why I wrestle with what to tell here. And how to tell it. I think the only way to really change the current reality of living with mental illness is for those of us who do to tell our stories. At the same time (probably because of those groups) I’m very cognizant of not wanting to tell stories that are not mine to tell. It’s why I wrote “Welcome to Siberia” in the way that I did. My problem with that piece, though, is that I worry it sanitizes the truth. I worry that the lack of specifics keeps it from being as helpful as it might be. It was often the specifics in the stories I heard in those meetings that revealed some truth I needed to see. It is the specifics, often, that create emotional connection–at least for me as a reader/listener–and it’s the emotional connection that creates movement. Thanks for the reference to another blog. I’m looking forward to checking that out.

  6. Stephenie says:

    Such a good question, Rita, and one that is almost impossible to answer. When my children were babies and toddlers, I never hesitated to write about them, probably with some embarrassing poopy anecdotes. But I never really wrote about my husband, because that seemed intrusive or just too revealing. I wonder why the difference?? Sometimes when I write about my own life now that my children are a bit older, I am more reticent. Like down the road they might actually READ what I wrote about them.
    All that being said, I think that any conversation about mental health and about mental healthcare needs to be loud. We don’t talk about it enough, and we certainly don’t talk enough about how it affects every member of the family. I have never blogged about the fact my brother-in-law took his own life and what effects that has had on my husband and his parents, because I somehow feel that it’s not my story to tell. But then the story never ever gets told. It is such a wide-open wandering confusing wilderness of conversation that no one ever has it.
    For you, it could be a catharsis to write it out, and to share it and own your experience. It’s not like a Facebook post or public forum where trolls can tear you down. This is your space. You can own it. And if you need the support of people here, then you can access that well of softness if you need it…

    • Rita says:

      I really agree with you, Stephenie. There’s too much silence. And it does affect every member of the family. I’m wondering if you can tell the part of the story that is yours to tell–because that suicide does affect you. I know the risk there, though: That your husband might have feelings in response to it that you don’t want to feel/be responsible for. As I’ve been responding to comments, I see myself returning again and again to the question of whose story a story is. How do we tell “our” story without co-opting someone else’s? What does this idea of story ownership even mean? Perhaps when I have a better handle on answers to these questions, I will be able to revise my flowchart.

      I think you hit on another important issue: What should the boundaries be when writing about our children? I’ve certainly seen more than one blogger shift gears as her children become older. I have one child I rarely reference and never picture online, because he’s made it very clear that he resents the ways in which I did that when he was younger. Although I meant no harm (and think that as he gets older he won’t care very much about anything that’s out there), I understand and respect his feelings. He wants to control what information and images about him are out in the world. Don’t we all…

  7. Gretchen says:

    People love to quote Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” And this SOUNDS great (and I do adore Anne Lamott), but every time I hear it something gnaws at me and says, “but it’s really not that simple.” And to me it’s not, and maybe that’s why all my public writing is about my house and trips to Disney and whatnot (although, as you point out above re: hometalk, people manage to be outraged even about that sometimes).

    I rewatched White Nights for the first time in decades recently…..of course the primary value of White Nights is the chance to see Mikhail Barishnikov and Gregory Hines dancing together, but I noticed the musings about how Barishnikov’s character HAD to be selfish…for his ART! in a way I didn’t when I was younger. Because I think when I was younger I took that as a given…of course ART is more important than people’s FEELINGS. Or even than people’s lives, in the Soviet Russia of White Nights. And, you know, now not so much.

    • Rita says:

      Who doesn’t adore Anne Lamott? (Well, I’m guessing George Bush might not, given all she’s said about him, but, you know…) However, I’m with you on this one. I’d have to go back into my copy of that book to find the context, but I suspect she was thinking about other adults. In the case of adults/peers, I do think whatever happens to us is fair writing game, but if we want to tell “our” story we have to be willing to pay the relationship costs that might be charged if we do it. And, as I’ve been mulling over the responses to this post in the last few days, I think I’m coming to believe that there is no such thing as a story that belongs only to me. There is, of course, my perspective on it, but unless the action is only internal to me, every story I might tell also belongs to the other characters in it.

      As for those ideas about Art (with a capital A)–yeah, I think that’s a young/immature/narcissistic stance toward it. As I’ve read the life stories of artists in many arenas, I’ve seen that high performance in creative fields is often possible only when other things/people are sacrificed for it. Not always, but more often than not. We only romanticize or justify that kind of sacrifice if the artist ends up creating work that is collectively deemed great. Even then, though, I’m thinking it’s probably more important to be good to the other people in our lives.

  8. Deborah says:

    Hi Rita,

    First of all, I’m so sorry to hear that this happened in your life. No-one should have to experience this, but I’m well aware that far too many do.
    I’ve been pondering your very thoughtful post, which prompted me to think about what I do and do not post about myself, and where I draw the lines (and why they are where they are and not somewhere else).
    Partly this is to do with my professional background, which without saying too much about, includes a lot of work with schools around children’s safety including e-safety. I’m therefore very aware of and wary of the many online dangers, and the importance of being careful and deliberate in our choices about what to write about publicly and what to keep private.
    Because in essence whatever we write in our blogs is there for anyone and everyone to read, even if in the real world we know that our readers number far fewer.
    In addition I have a personal belief that , like doctors and their oath, we should ‘strive to do no harm’. This informs what I say about myself that has implications for others in and around my life. So even though there are some difficult areas in my life (as no doubt there are in all our lives), where those are not just about me but are also about the impact of someone else’s life actions or decisions on me, I will refrain from writing about that online. Though I may address the subject more obliquely, I won’t write the detail of what happened or the effect it had on me.
    I hope this makes sense to you. Of course you may feel completely differently, and these are choices we must all make for ourselves. But I do sometimes worry about the amount of information bloggers include about their families (especially young children), and wonder if they are aware how that information could be used in ways they never ever contemplated and would be horrified to learn about. Which is a bit off-topic, but kind of connected too I think.
    Whatever you decide to do, I’m quite sure you will have thought long and hard about it, and made a decision that is deliberate and careful, and in the end that’s what matters.
    All good wishes, Deborah

    • Rita says:

      Thank you, Deborah. I appreciate your thoughtful response and the important points you raise. I also work in schools and some of my work involves online safety, and that may be part of why I am cautious. Just this week I once again ran into the Slate article about why one couple posts nothing about their daughter online (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/data_mine_1/2013/09/facebook_privacy_and_kids_don_t_post_photos_of_your_kids_online.html), and it made me think again about what our responsibilities as parents might/should be in the emerging digital world that many of us non-natives understand so little of. I am also aware, because of all the years I’ve worked with/for adolescents, that teens are not fully-formed humans. They may look and is some ways act like adults, but they aren’t adults. I’ve often thought that any who work with kids should have that same “do no harm” stance you reference.

  9. Sarah says:

    I’m struck by Gretchen’s Anne Lamott quote, especially “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Well, when the people in question are children, or otherwise vulnerable, it just really isn’t that simple, is it?

    I love the discussion that has taken place here so far and found myself nodding “yes” to all of it — all of the arguments on both sides of the publish/don’t publish argument.

    A couple of things occurred to me that I don’t think have been mentioned explicitly yet. One is the question of how the post you have drafted relates to the larger narrative that you are telling in this space. *Does* it relate in some thematic way, or is its purpose mainly catharsis for you? Clicking publish might be the right thing to do even if the story *doesn’t* fit with the larger thematic concerns of your blog (it might even be the right thing to do precisely because it doesn’t fit). But maybe adding that question to the flow chart might yield some additional clarity?

    The other question is whether you can find a way to tell the story that not only would protect the other person involved but maybe even benefit them. I don’t pretend to know the answer to that or what it would look like but again something to consider as you are deciding what details to include and how to frame your story.

    I think it’s pretty clear at this point that your words are very powerful and what you write in this space really connects with your audience and even helps them. At the same time, I can say that there are struggles that ARE relevant to my own blog’s themes and concerns (are even the entire subtext of the blog, in a way) that I don’t write about because it would hurt (and damage my relationship with) other people. At times maybe this makes my blog seem rather more shallow and bland than it might be. But, well, so be it.
    Sarah recently posted…Because what is a perfect Christmas, anyway?My Profile

    • Rita says:

      Nah, not simple at all. I, too, have really appreciated the conversation here. I guess for me, the broad topic of this blog is creative work/play/expression. Living a creative life. I called it “Rita’s Notebook” because I wanted it to be a place for me to collect ideas, think about creative work, document experiments, and such. The existence of violence in our home has absolutely impacted my so-called creative life–and caused me to think some thoughts about who creates art and how and conditions needed for it to exist. I think if I am to write about this situation at all, it would be in that context. But even then, I am reluctant to do so. I really like your suggested addition to the flow chart. I actually thought of quite a few more things that might be useful, but it was getting too complicated as it is. I think the question of whether or not to publish–and how–is a big one! I love that my experiences blogging have allowed me to explore/learn more about it than traditional publishing ever did.

      And I don’t think your blog is shallow or bland at all. It’s not the subject matter that makes blogs that, I don’t think. It’s how writers write about them. You’re never shallow (and therefore never bland). My two cents.

  10. Kate says:

    I’ve started to write a comment four different times and then been called away and never actually said anything. In part because I’m struggling with what exactly to say that hasn’t been said above but also what conveys what I’m thinking.

    Sarah & Gretchen mentioned Anne Lamott’s quote which I’ve always liked but never really agreed with either.

    We’ve talked some in the past about how I tend to share my family’s bright and shiny on my blog and I think this ties into what you are writing in this post. While I will certainly discuss my OWN struggles with mental illness on my blog, I’m less likely to share any of the hard parts that involve other family members. I have a couple of reasons for that, but the main one is that I don’t want to share something that will give others the excuse to judge or view harshly the people I love. I definitely write about it (in my journal or in letters/emails to friends) and I definitely share it, I just typically don’t do it in a place where just anyone can find it and make their own judgements on it. I save it for the people I trust to hold a safe space for the people I’m discussing.

    That isn’t to say my way is the right way or the way you should take. I think there are as many answers as there are writers (or quite close, anyway) and that’s how it should be. I take great comfort when I find others who write about their children’s struggles and I do see it as somewhat selfish to keep mine private when reading the posts of others braver than I. But then, I am selfishly protective when it comes to my children…so that’s that.

    My hope is that whatever you decide the result brings you more peace, understanding, and strength.
    Kate recently posted…Things I Wish To KnitMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I think one need never apologize for being selfishly protective of their children. In response to one of the other comments I wrote about my experience of sharing a post about cleaning up my daughter’s room. I wrote it fairly tongue-in-cheek, but it was clear to me that some readers were forming judgements about my child–and that really bugged me! They were seeing only a small slice of her, and through my eyes (and not entirely serious voice)–and yet they clearly felt they knew enough to tell me how to parent her. I learned a lot from that experience, about what it’s like to open up my life to a really wide audience, many of whom are not “my people.” And for what it’s worth, I love the bright and shiny that you share. It’s delightful.

  11. May says:

    I am late to the party as usual. I have to say that as someone who would have been considered merely “a normal teen” I am extremely grateful that no form of communication such as the internet existed during my fairly typical transition through that life stage whereby some of my behaviors, words and choices could have been frozen in time indefinitely. I think that would be my measuring stick in making this decision—to my put my most loathsome behavior up to the light and ask how I would feel about having it accessible over time and place.
    Even though I trust your both your intent and words would be pure and gentle, it is the medium and its permanence that trouble me.
    May recently posted…TToT: Garden GateMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I know exactly what you are saying. I’ve had the same thoughts about being glad that I was not a teen in today’s world. (Although, it might have been nice to have a greater ability to find like-minded others.) I’ve pondered more than once what it means that my generation is one of the last who will know the pre-digital world. Which means we are probably going to make the biggest mistakes with it. I try to be careful. I’m more careful now than I was a few years ago, for sure.

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