It is inevitable, as I invite people to read my blog and hope they're entertained enough to come back and read some more, that this little corner of Web space should cease to be my own. Sharing is, after all, giving away a piece of what's mine.
For the most part the blog has overflowed with unexpected benefits: My boss and some co-workers read, which may help make the case for my own column in our quarterly magazine. Some of my oldest friends read, which lets me keep in touch over long distances without bringing The Dreaded Telephone Machine into play. My immediate family reads, which has fostered a level of understanding between my mother and me that did not translate through the Language of Fighting in the first 30 years of my life. And as for the rest of my friends and relatives, I hope they derive some pleasure from my musings, come to know me better -- no small feat, I'm told -- and perhaps, as a result, find me a little less scary, standoffish and/or strange.
The unfortunate flipside to all these pros is that what started as an uninhibited catharsis has evolved into an exercise in self-censorship. My mother gets upset if she feels I've crossed a line. (Though that could be a simple misunderstanding based on careless reading.) My Grandma doesn't use the Web, but someone else in my family gets his knickers in a twist over a few stories I've told about her. (And to think, I was holding back.) I obviously can't write about work, not that I would anyway -- I think we all know where that road leads. I second-guess every post that covers weight, religion or lifestyle choices for fear that I'll offend a friend or, worse yet, destroy a friendship. Basically I'm no longer free to say what I really think about anyone or anything. Even though I sometimes say it anyway.
I cannot, for example, rant about religious hypocrisy or cheapness or wastefulness or boob jobs, bypass surgery, infidelity, ostentatious weddings, extravagant gift registries, children I can't stand or spouses I despise in enough detail that the subject of my discourse -- if there even is one, sometimes I'm just generalizing -- might get a clue he or she is on display. I am, however, welcome to describe any scenario that flatters the mind, body or soul of those in my family and their extended circle of friends. Be honest; be funny; but for God's sake, don't ruffle any feathers.
To some -- like those who aren't that close to me -- I say if you don't like it, don't read it. I'm opinionated and I use real-life examples to back up my claims. It's just sound journalism. And except for a few recurring characters I'm not naming names. But things get a little more dicey with the people I care about. The last thing I want is to hurt them, even if they are being hypersensitive. I once read an interview with a celebrity whose mother used to shame her for being a timid child: "Why do you shy away from people? Do you really think they're that interested in you? Don't be so arrogant." It sounded like the most awful thing in the world when I read it, but it's sort of the point I'm trying to make: I don't think anyone is arrogant for taking my opinions personally, but they should bear in mind that what I write on this blog, it's not really about anyone but me, what I think, what I feel. I'm not going to drag the skeletons from anybody's closet or ruin anyone's life (except maybe my own). Nor will I tiptoe around every topic that has the potential to start a little fire. That would be dishonest, and incredibly dull.
So yeah, I've got some of juicy stuff I'm not sharing. I'll just have to save it for another time, another audience, another, more anonymous blog. Which is fine with me; The Internet is a big place, with plenty of room for everyone. And most of my opinions, too.
If you're tempted to point out my hypocrisy, don't bother. I wear it on my sleeve.