This Zen saying was penned by one of my ex-boyfriends, in an effort to teach me a virtue he felt I was lacking in--the virtue of living my life without feeling a constant need to write about it. He was a Generation X-er, and couldn't understand my Generation Y attitude toward total self-expression on the Internet.
Since my teen years and early twenties I was an avid blogger, member of discussion forums and user of social networking sites. I know this seems dangerous to a lot of people, but I felt like my online self was a natural extension of my actual self, and had few qualms about sharing any feelings, thoughts, or experiences of a personal nature on the Internet where anyone could find them. My ex constantly cajoled me to keep these things private, but I didn't share his concern for privacy. Blogging my life made me feel more alive.
I do think it's a Generation Y thing, but maybe not applied universally by everyone in my generation. My husband, born the day before me, has certainly had an extensive relationship with the Internet (he's had several MySpace pages, a Facebook, his own website, and he met me through an online dating site), but he claims that he doesn't write about anything "personal."
Recently he was sharing another blog of mine with some of his coworkers, a blog where I post photos and videos of our daughter and updates on her growth for friends and family. He let his coworkers look at the blog because it's the best collection of our baby photos.
Well, a while back, I had mentioned in a post to this blog that JT and I were arguing a lot, and it was seeming to affect the baby's mood. I know I've mentioned that here too, and I don't remember why I wrote it there. I think I just wanted my friends to support me and to know I was going through a rough time. And I also wanted to record everything for future reference, I don't know why. Sometimes it's good to look back on hard times and reflect on them when things are going better. But now, months later, his police station coworkers read that post, and remarked to him, "I don't think your wife should be writing that on her blog."
When I heard that, I felt mortified, humiliated, like I was guilty of something terrible. JT seems to feel betrayed by me. And I feel betrayed too. I thought I had freedom to write what I want. Now I seem to be expected to censor myself on everything. Otherwise I'm a bad wife or something. I feel like somebody called me a rat or a snitch or a liar. I feel like I can't be trusted.
JT says I haven't been making a very good impression on people lately. A few days ago while I was sick with a fever and cleaning up our messy kitchen, JT called me from work and I yelled at him over the phone about how exhausted I was. His coworkers overheard, and he hung up on me, to "save" me from making a fool out of myself. Why? Why can't I just be understood? Why can't he just tell them, "Excuse my wife, she's sick with a high fever and I left her a house full of cleaning to do"? Why can't he say, "Honey, you're yelling so loud everyone can hear you. Why don't you call back when you've calmed down?" I mean, a "heads up" would have been nice!
I just feel horrible. I don't want people to think JT is married to a horrible person. He deserves a great wife and deserves not to have our dirty laundry aired for everyone to see. I don't ever mean to hurt JT's reputation--or feelings. I don't want to hurt his job prospects either. Sometimes I think I should delete everything, and surrender to the deafening silence of real living.
But every time I get close to bringing myself to delete my blogs or website, I recoil. I feel frustrated, incensed that somebody who doesn't know me thinks they have the power to decide what I should or shouldn't write about. I just think these people were overreacting. It's none of their business if I want to write honestly about my marriage. I should be allowed some place where I can express myself, where I don't have to be some law enforcement officer's idea of the perfect wife.
9 hours ago