After a string of nutty days and very late nights, I'm happy to report that we are moved into our new home and reasonably settled. And by reasonably, I mean barely. But we are happy to be here even if we are aware of the reality that it will likely take months to get our bearings. On Friday, I made a weakling of a promise that I would post some new pictures of the new place. And maybe I will sometime, but not today. Why? First, I have not yet located my camera and hence there are no pics to publish. Second, I'm not sure I want to.
It's weird. When I started blogging sixteen months ago, I had this profound urge to share bits of myself with the world. Even strangers. To me, there was (and is) something compelling and exhilarating about translating aspects of my personal experience into more universal words and sentences and stories that might resonate with others. I fell in love with the idea of communication and connection and collaboration in this modern world that, by design, is often so isolating and lonely.
Up front, when I started this blog, I had a big question to figure out. Would I identify my husband and girls by name and face or would I keep things more anonymous with them? Honestly, I had no obvious and overwhelming instinct one way or the other. I had read and liked many blogs that featured family pictures and used names. I had read and liked many sites where anonymity was the absolute rule. So. I decided to start this blog by going the anonymity route for my family, knowing that I could reveal names and faces at a later date once I figured out better how I felt about this online world, the ever-enigmatic concept of privacy and its protection.
What happened was that I never figured out how I felt. And so I kept chugging away the way I began, keeping identifying information about my family, nuclear and more extended, off the blog. And I'm pretty happy with my decision even though I wish I thought through my aliases a bit better. (Toddler is basically a teenager and Baby is now a toddler). I am proud of making a decision which for me was not principled really, but borne from mild, but detectable instinct. I am pleased that my blog, to date, has really been about me and my evolution and not about the ones I love who have not made the decision to render their worlds public.
But. Yes, there is a but. There always is. A part of me, not so tiny, is envious of those who have chosen differently. Of those fellow bloggers and writers who have opened up a bit more about their families. Who have shared beautiful family pictures. Who have highlighted faces. Eyes and smiles. Who have named names. Stories without names and faces, censored in the name of something complicated and inscrutable (privacy? modesty? fear?) are missing something, aren't they? A layer of authenticity? Missing a layer of real?
And yet. There is part of me, not small, that continues to worry. About the effects - practical and philosophical - this blogging gig is having, and will have, on me and my family. We are all, myself very much included, riding this technological wave necessarily unaware of where we are headed and who we will be on the other end. It is when I stop to really think about what all of this means, this calculated exposure, these choices to abdicate bits of who we are, that I feel a swell of that initial hesitancy. Yes, even sixteen months later.
And so. That's why. That's why I have never posted pictures of my kids. Or shared with you their beautiful names. That's why on this fine Monday morning, I'm reluctant to post pictures of my new home, rich with colors and patterns of who we are. There are parts of my life, bigger and smaller, that I must keep for me. For us.
At least for now.
And I am one person and this is my choice. I know this. I also know that this is an interesting question, an interesting bundle of questions. There are so many of us here, in this online ether, showing and telling, hiding and seeking, lurking and learning. We all have instincts, strong and subtle, about how to approach this world, how to edit (or not edit) our lives under its lens. And so. I ask you. That one-worded wonder that is currently Baby's question of choice.
- If you blog, do you reveal the names and faces of your family on your site or have you kept things completely or partially anonymous?
- Why have you chosen to do things the way you do them? Do you ever regret your decision or think about doing things differently?
- If you do not blog, but read blogs, do you have an opinion on this matter?
- Do you think anonymity strips authenticity from its object, or is simply the smart way to go?
- If you do post names and faces, have you ever experienced anything alarming where you worried about the safety of your family?
- If you do things anonymously, have you ever heard from readers who feel slighted by your censorship? (I have.)