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4.16.2010

blogging and morality. i have some questions.


my mother has decreed if ever i'm to date a man again (and one can hope) that i'm not to tell him i have a blog.

i think this foolish. after all, one google search of my name and it'd be all over.

my mother thinks men don't google.

i think in this era of facebook, they most certainly do google.

i've always been honest on my blog. but i do concede that it is my version of honest--my version of a truth. and therefore half the story (and admittedly a very skewed half).

and so my question is:

where is the line between what is our's to share and what belongs to someone else, even if they are inextricably bound to our own story?

where is the line between what we would write if the person in question were never to see it and between altering our content because of said person?


and as for dating:

is one to tell the guy about the blog?

should the guy then read the blog?

and what moral imperative is there for that guy to reveal the extent to which he reads it?


because it isn't a diary. it's a public forum. as i was recently reminded. and that's true.


my mother is so funny. the other night she told me that the moment i start editing my words for a guy i lose a little bit of myself. and then chastised that i should probably not write some of the things i do in the first place. this one-sided argument (on her end) ping-ponged across these two extremes for about five minutes before i, utterly confused, disentangled by telling her i'd call tomorrow.


someone recently asked why i choose to blog. what was the original impetus. and i said, well why does a person perform a play for an audience as opposed to alone, in their room?

but that's not really an answer. so here goes: i began the blog because it held me accountable. i didn't want to present an image of a person struggling with great sadness. the blog forced me to see things in a more positive light. reminded me to take things with a grain of salt and encouraged laughter. and as i cultivated those aspects of myself in my little corner of the internet they began to spill over into my life.


but as i find happiness, as life slowly comes back, how does one balance the line between privacy and truth?

37 comments:

Ashley said...

I've journaled since I was 10 and had about 20 when my husband and I met. I also had a Xanga I used to blog on before Blogger. I offered to let him read the Xanga and even some old journals (when I was going through them and he was around), but he was never really interested because he said he didn't really care about the things I did or the people I dated and such before we got together. Those things were important because they shaped me, and he was just happy I was shaped into someone he loved so much. He reads all my posts now, but still has never gone back to look at old stuff. I think you'll find a Mister who feels the same way. It's about who you are, not who you've been! :)

heisschic said...

i actually started my blog when i started getting involved with *him.* i needed some place to express the fear/excitement/etc without having someone hold it over me if it fell through...

in any case- i told him about the blog because i thought then (and still believe now) that he should have a say in what aspects of his life i write about. this is why there's not a full picture of him. this is why there's no name. those are the drawbacks to having a public blog- if i ever go private, i'll be able to include names and faces as it won't be held against me/us by strangers.

he actually likes that i have a blog- we dont get to see each other most days, and we dont talk much during the day--- so it gives him a piece of me when he's holed up in a library somewhere.

all this rambling is basically to say (that what has worked for me has been to) give him control his publicity. your history is your business. if he chooses to view it- it's on him. we all have a past- some of us are just more open about it.

JP said...

I've been presented with this argument more times than I can count throughout my blogging lifetime and I think you summed up every point I make in those few sentences, the reason you blog. It's true. It does hold you accountable. I often find myself reading my words from a different point-of-view, and by evaluating each situation from that outside perspective, I feel that I am able to assess those situations more wholly, more fairly.

As for those we date... these are your thoughts, and therefore a part of you. I think the good ones, the "right" ones will accept it & appreciate it.

iheartkiwi said...

i've asked kiwi if he has read my blog before... he said he did a few times but it felt like he was reading my diary and he was going to get caught!

he gave me full blessing to blog away to my little heart's content... about him and our lives together and i think he still secretly reads it from time to time :)

p.s. so very glad you did decide to start blogging meg my dear!

Fairfield said...

I think there's nothing wrong with honesty.

If you worry too much about causing waves or knocking people down then you aren't really living.

Don't we want to make waves? Create history?

As long as you're operating from a place of innate goodness, as long as you have passion for life, then the rest is just mumbojumbo and chicken scratch.

Sure, some people can't handle honesty.
But are those people really the people you want to surround yourself by?

You are who you are.

Nothing is going to change that.
Not rewording phrases or making things sound more palatable in order to not ruffle feathers.
I agree with your mother, every time you do that you will lose a piece of yourself.

And wasn't starting this blog a means of finding out who that self was?

Nicole Smith said...

accountability is a huge one for me too, in fact I believe it's why I started blogging as well. My blog has helped me forged a proper work schedule, for a girl who works in a home studio, this was huge.

Krysta said...

I was in the middle of a break up when I started my blog and I met my current boyfriend a year into it.

I didn't tell my new boyfriend Brian that I wrote a blog, and I didn't mention him for at least 6 months while we were dating, and intially it was just in a vague, "my boyfriend" sort of way. But in the end he's a major part of my life.

Both my ex and Brian are mentioned by their real names, as is every other person I have talked about on the blog. I would never write anything I didn't feel 100% comfortable having them or their mothers read. I think that's a pretty good rule of thumb for me.

If any one in my life asked me to not write about them I would honor their wishes.

My blog is a bit different from yours, I don't get quite as personal. It was started as a way to connect with my famly and friends back home so they could read what I was doing in NYC. If/when I share very personal things, I try to keep them strictly about me and try to maintain the privacy of others. This is what I feel comfortable with and what works for me. Obviously this will change person to person, blog to blog.

And as far as whether or not I think a significant other should read your blog. I 100% think they should. It is something you actively do. If you were in a band you'd want them to come see you perform, no? If you write why wouldn't you want them to read it. I think it's a form of interest and support for what you do. But that's just me.

kerrie elaine said...

Oh my dear love,

Mother's words are for their daughters to process and stew and piece together until they fit right with you, in your heart.

I understand where your predicament lies, and I understand your need to be free as much as your need to be privately concealed. But my belief is strong and simple for you: write your heart out, pretty girl. Write out the questions, the truths, the half-truths, the moments of clarity, the moments of uncertainty. Write about his silly ears or don't; write for you, and only you.

Because I wish I could just say, quite honestly, that the right man will love every word you've put up, and it will be the reason he spent his nights at home, waiting for you a word from you, spending hours reading through your posts, because through every line, he'd find another reason to love you.

Write on. But save the best parts for yourself.

love, kerrie.

Maureen said...

Hello dear Meg,
I have been reading your blog for such a long while now and have never clicked over from my reader to comment. Today I spent a little while digging through your archives and now feel compelled to chime in here.

I think you should write. Just write what is in your heart. The person who will marry you someday will love you for it, not in spite of it.

As for me, I write openly about my relationship. My general rule of thumb is that my in-laws read my blogs, so I don't post things that I don't want his family to see.

Your future husband will know about your past struggles, but will also know about your successes, because you will tell him anyway. And he will love you anyway.

So write. If you're ever unsure, write it in an email to a friend or to yourself and wait for a day. Then decide if you want to post it.

I really love your blog, I hope you do keep writing.

2nd Girl said...

Hi Meg,
I have been reading your blog for a while now, finding yours through reading 'rockstar diaries'. I'm not sure if I've commented before but today you've written on a particularly significant day for me. This has, without a doubt, been one of the most stressful days I've had in 9 years. The last time I felt this way I nearly cracked, nearly lost a lot of myself. Both yours and Taza'a blog help me so much. I can't describe it correctly but you write so often about things I feel, it is such a comfort to not be alone, and if blogging allows you to feel any way better about yourself, even just for a second then it is the right thing for you.
I don't have a personal blog, so I can't advise specifically on that, but I have kept diaries since I was 8 years old. Of the three very serious boys/men that have featured in my life, only one wanted to read my diaries, but not to intrude or to hold me accountable, just to know me fully. He had featured in them on and off since we were first together aged 13 and when he read them 12 years later he said he understood me better, understood what I was going through during all the years when we were distant friends and understood how those experiences affected me on a daily basis now, he can almost read me better than I can now. Perhaps now looking back the reason the other 2 partners I've had weren't interested was that they just wanted to live in the now. I wouldn't argue with any of them for their reasons to read or not to read, either way they still loved me, but the important thing was that I wasn't afraid to let them know me, at my worst and at my best of times. I will say though that the man who read my diaries has the strongest tie to/for me, we know eachother completely and although we have gone separate ways in our lives we have a bond and love between us that will never fade. That is a great comfort to me, as I know it is for him.
I wouldn't offer my diaries to someone unless I trusted them completely, so I perhaps wouldn't offer a blog to someone until that point, but there is a lot to be said for honesty, and the right person will want to know the 'real you' straight away, and will not be scared off, if he does get scared, he's not 'the one'.
As for what you write about him or others, so long as they maintain their privacy, if that is their wish, then I don't see a problem.

Sorry for rambling on, I tend to do that a bit. I hope you find the best way for you Meg, if you are comfortable writing as you have been then don't change yourself.
Take Care, x

christine said...

My mom had the same conversation with me just a few weeks ago over a post I wrote about quitting eHarmony. She said there are things I should keep private. Like there's shame in being a member of eHarmony for a year with no success, but I digress.

I have thought about this over the last few weeks trying to decide if my mom had a valid point. She does for her life, because that's how she is. For me, however I will share those things I comfortable sharing with the world.

On the other hand, I have friends who have asked me not to list them on my blog and not to label photos with them in it. Members of my family have requested the same things. I'm happy to comply with their wishes because I realize that blogging isn't for everyone.

One of the reasons I like your blog is that you share what's important to you, how you feel, dream and hope. I don't feel you invade others' privacy by sharing too much about them. I feel you share just enough that we know who is important to you and why you love them.

The gut check is a good measure of what to post. Sometimes I write an entry and then wait to post it online, because I'm a little uneasy about sharing it. Often it's because I've shared something very private that's a little scary for me to put out there. If that's the case I'll go ahead and post with no more worries. If upon review, I find I've included details about family and friends they don't want posted, I'll re-write the entry and post it with no worries.

I also think that our mothers doesn't like to see us hurting and our dreams dashed. For a lot of women of our mothers' generation, feelings and failures aren't easily shared in public, that's why they tell us to be careful what we younger women post on our blogs. And they're right to a point; we know where that point ends for us.

I think you know what the boundaries are with your family and friends, and you'll know what the boundaries are for future friends. In the meantime, keep writing and posting. Your way of looking at your world helps me look at mine differently and a bit more bravely.

And I echo wholeheartedly what others have said in previous comments.

Katie said...

No idea how I found your blog, but just started reading it a few days ago and wanted to comment. I love your writing style! Love it! Consider yourself having a new fan.

Meg said...

It's like you're taking a page out of my book or...er a post out of my blog?

My Man Friend and I started dating a little over 6 months ago. I am completely in love with this man. Why am I telling you this? It made all the difference in the world.

My blog was mostly about relationships so obviously, art imitates life and my relationships were often talked about. When Mr. Man Friend and I started seeing each other, we had a very open and honest conversation about my blog because he had been reading it since we knew each other. He knew the tone and topics. He told me that he supported me 110% and does not want me to stop writing but he does want me to keep our private life private and not use a blog as a platform to air grievances. I completely agreed. Why does it matter that I love him? It matter because I've never agreed to those terms with anyone else. I've always taken the "if you don't like it, don't read it" stance.

It's different with him.

SO here we are nearly 7 months later and my blog has morphed itself and I have to say, it's more popular now then it was then. The best part is, I've gotten my wonderful MF to guest blog several times and there's nothing more beautiful than creating something wonderful with a beautiful person.

I'd say, feel it out. Figure out how you feel about the person before totally giving up something you love. You never know what it might change into with a little compromise :}

xo
Meg

Claire Kiefer said...

You bring up some excellent questions! I don't think you are obligated, in any way, to disclose your blog at the beginning of a relationship. Most likely, it will come up in discussion, and then I think it will seem natural to talk about your blog . . . but there's a fairly decent chance that your future/potential "he" won't have any interest in it. haha. That's what I've found to be the case, anyway!

elizabeth carmen said...

I totally understand your dilemma. When I still had my old blog, so many questions loomed around: Do I tell him? Do I blog about him (and announce to the world, perhaps preemtively, what is going on)? Do I hold it in and wait until we're a sure thing? I eventually did a lukewarm combo of all three. As it turns out the relationship went sour and he found out some of my struggles by, well, reading my blog. In the end I wish I'd been honest on both ends--with him and in my writing. Because blogging isn't just about the "happy endings" but also about the journey to get there. (However, I started my current blog *after* I'd already gotten married to my husband. So no awkwardness to speak of at all! Phew!)

Dia said...

I think he'd love to read it. And make it easier for you too, since speech doesn't come as easy as writing. But then, once he comes along, I'm affraid you won't be as open with us as you are now :p You'll have someone, the One, to share your thoughts with and you'll never need anything else.
xoxo

molly said...

Whatever the reason...you help me get through my day. AND I love your busted elbow jean jacket.

nicole addison said...

i know when i first started josh (my fiance) didnt know i was. it was a place for me to let out all i was feeling or thinking well not all but most, and get feedback from complete strangers. which was comforting to me. when josh found out, or i told him, i caught myself thining back to every post making sure i hadn't said anything that might hurt him.. blah blah. there wasnt anything but there were some things i think he had a new view on and to him it made him feel like complete strangers knew me better than he did, which wasnt true at all! so i suppose the only thing is how much you care to share and if it's a lot then stand beside that and anyone worthy of your time will understand. i've definitely taken my blog down a few notches in the personal area as of late and it's more enjoyable that way for me:)

Kyle said...

Men Google : ) ...... a lot.

-with love,

Kyle

Randi Lee said...

Hmmm, the line between privacy and truth. I think it's different for every person. It's whatever your comfortable with. It's all truth- but not every truth has to be shared, nor should every truth be shared- unless you're comfortable with it. And in a relationship- unless both parties are comfortable with the truth's being shared.

And, to your mother's point, you probably will start (not lying) censoring your truths a bit more if you reveal the blog to someone you're dating and you have a story that you would like to share you feelings about, but don't want to hurt there's. So you may water down the intensity of your truths to avoid hurt feelings.

I say don't tell until later in the relationship... mainly because I like you uncensored. :-) But eventually if it turns into a lasting relationship, it'll be impossible to keep it from him.

karajean said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately too.

About a month ago my sister asked what I'm going to do if "the guy" found my blog and read it. I replied that he would {hopefully} never find it because boys don't read blogs. Oh, and because googling my name isn't the same as goodling yours.

Plus, my ex boyfriend knew I had a blog and he never read it, so I just assumed guys aren't really interested.

So basically, this is my way of saying that I have no idea the answers to any of your questions. I feel like my situation is a bit different than yours, because so many more people read your blog than mine, but that just might be justification at its finest. But I do think that if the guy knows about the blog, he should be able to read it as much as he likes, and I don't think he should have to tell you every time he reads it. So basically the question becomes whether or not to tell, and whether or not to edit on his behalf.

Longest comment ever providing no help. Sorry and good luck!

Randi Lee said...

Wow... *your feelings and *hurt their's

Sorry for the bad grammar. No excuse, I would say I'm overly tired from packing up my house all day, but that's not a good excuse.

jasmine said...

i think you should share as much as you want to share. i say everything i feel like saying on my blog, and i keep the rest to myself. it might surprise some people to know that there ARE, in fact, some things i will not discuss on my blog, some things that are mine only. no one else can have them.

as for guys you date, my advice would be not to tell them until they have earned the right to know. you aren't obligated to tell them. and they shouldn't learn things about you until they prove themselves worthy to know you.

and i kind of agree with your mom - you shouldn't have to edit yourself for a man. (and not all guys google - most men i know are pretty lazy about facebook, and they're not on the internet as much as we are.) when the time comes to decide how much you should share about the man in your life, i think you'll make good decisions. just go with your gut. :)

kura2025 said...

I love being known as a funny or creative blogger but sometimes I just want to put some honesty or emotions out there but always end up worrying too much about who will read it and what they will think of me. That's why I love your blog. You put it all out there.

brown eyed girl said...

I've wondered this same thing many times because sometimes I feel like so much of what I write about is exposing the complicated side of who I am.

I would feel vulnerable talking to a boy I liked about most of this stuff.

But I don't feel uncomfortable telling the whole world. Weird.

I think I've just accepted that: this is me. this is who I am and he's going to find out sooner or later.

With that said, there are still things I prefer to keep in a journal by my bed, rather than a corner of the web.

You are great. Don't change who you are or who you write about being.

Ali said...

I think about this a lot. A LOT.

It's so hard to find a balance, but I think at the end of the day, it's an individual decision. I've read blogs where girls spill ALL and then think, what if the guy reads this/finds this/something like that and runs away scared? It could happen. And I personally would hate to know that I scared a guy away because he found my blog. I don't know. I'm rambling but only because this thought has crossed my mind so many times. I guess for me, I'll decide when I have to.

J. said...

That is THE question. Writing...I mean really writing for the "public" has always made me nervous, or iffy, or identity crisis-y. I for one am glad you write what you write. It completely resonates and rings true. My friends and love your letters to husband.

Mrs. B said...

Good question Meg...share if you find the answer to striking a balance.

Krissa said...

so just a random thought i have always had...is i dont know that i want my man toy be to read my blog before I am ready...I share so much more on my blog than i would in person. its just easier for me. Especially since i write letters to HIM I wouldnt want him to read them before I am ready...so personally. i would rather him not read it before...ya know...not sure if that is possible.
I do refrain from posting pictures of other peoples kids in case they are opposed to having those pictures up online ya know....

Shoshana (aka Susan) said...

I love the open-ended questions!
I think you can trust your own sensitivity to determine the line of discretion- it seems like you've done so all along.
I have to disagree that 'the right man for you will read every post and co-blog with you, etc, etc'. He may, but he may not. He may have completely different interests, and still be your soulmate. This blog is an expression of aspects of you- it's not your essence. And as such, it doesn't need to be your soulmate's essence either, it could be a compliment to his own unique expressions.
By the way, book recommendation:
"I Only Want to Get Married Once" by Chana Levitan.

Brittan said...

that is the exact same reason i blog. like... all of that. i recently posted probably way too much information about someone, and i struggled with whether or not it was the right thing to do. in the end, it was something i had to do. i had to get it out, i had to be honest with people who have seen this stuff going on with me and wondered what was up... and i needed to be honest with myself like you can only be in a public forum. besides, he's more than welcome to put his side of the story out there if he wants to.

as for the dating situation... i have no idea. i think about that all the time. i think it's better if he knows. how awkward would it be to blog about him and then he finds it on his own?! and i don't think it's realistic to never blog about him. this is where you talk about your life and that's a part of your life. i definitely think someone you're dating should see your blog before you ever blog about them. i keep a link to my blog as my status on gchat and on my twitter so that anyone who communicates with me online can easily find it.

and men TOTALLY google. that i know for a fact.

D&D said...

this blog is your journey and there's never a need to censor your own thoughts.

you can't edit your own adventure before you even know what your next one is. chances are, the man you're going to marry is going to appreciate your openess and way with words.

and maybe the day will come when you'll need the bid the blog and your open journal adieu. but until then, please don't leave us?

jess said...

I have gotten myself in trouble by being too honest on my blog before.. ex-boyfriends, my sister-in-law etc.. have been offended my what I've written and so I have scaled down immensely the "personal" aspect of my blog, but to be honest... i miss it! I miss pouring my heart out on the internet for all to read.. your post made me think that maybe I should start again!

ps my mother thinks that since I've had a baby I must have short hair for the rest of my life.. she says "most women cut their hair after having a child, they don't grow it out".. I am currently growing my hair long- despite what my mother tells me!!

Rachel Z said...

Don't tell him about the blog. Not at first. Don't hide it, or lie about it, or go out of your way to keep it from him. But don't go out of your way to make him aware of it either. Wait a very long while before you share that part of yourself with him. He may not understand or take it the right way if you share it too soon. Don't do it.

Imola said...

What is the truth? This is one thing that one must establish prior to any discussion concerning a (potential) line between truth and fiction. What is fiction? We all tend to believe what it is, yet. how can it be defined? The opposite of truth? Then, what is truth? The opposite of fiction? A vicious circle, indeed. I have only one answer to give you (which you have already used in your latest post), there are only pieces of truth (your truth, to use your wording)! Eventually, even as one tries, honestly tries! to tell the true story, it shall always be one's side of the truth...What to blog about? The same that you would put in a novel. As your mother said (and mothers are always right!), a blog s never a diary (for diaries, by definition, are private! blogs are not - except those that one needs an invitation for!). Cheers!

Josh said...

A friend of mine showed me your blog. I must say that I have contemplated the complexities of this quandary on more than one occasion. I actually had a girlfriend get me started in blogging. I did it at first just to get her more interested in me. I think it worked partly because I found that I had a surprising ability for writing hidden beneath the crust of my personality.

After she and I broke up I continued because it was my source of catharsis. I needed to cleanse my soul and release emotional disappointment. Plus I simply enjoyed writing.

So first, Kyle (commented up above) is right. Men Google. A lot. Second I agree with Ashley (commented first). Life is about relationships. Relationships are complicated enough that we don't need secluded, secret sites. So I think our boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses etc should know about our blogs. Also, I'd like to think that I'm strong enough to be able to say anything to my currently non-existent girlfriend that I would say via blogging.

Bottom line: I think we have to be careful. Whether blogging, texting, or emailing we sometimes have a tendency to write things we would never say to their faces.

Josh said...

P.S. You could always just make a blog without names. One that keeps you entirely unnamed to readers. Takes away part of the fun I suppose.