8/2/11

Naked for the world to see

Despite the titillating title, this isn’t the dirty post I’m sure people are hoping for. Especially since family members read this from time to time (Hi Dad!).

Once upon a time, I started writing here to empty my brain and find people with whom I could relate. People in my life weren’t experiencing the same issues/triumphs/pitfalls that I was at the time and I needed to find a sounding board of sorts to confirm that I was “o.k.” and get advice and support.

But I never realized at the time just how many people in my life would peek into this world without me ever pimping it out. Yes, my little blog received a bit of press locally and then there was that little success story that alluded to my online hangout, but the possibility that it would be accessible to coworkers, family members, friends and strangers alike by entering a few details in a Google search never entered my mind.

Stupid, I know.

So the thoughts/feelings/information that I was sharing to what I thought was a targeted audience became even wider than I had even imagined. And when I think about it now, it makes me want to shut down at times and is part of the reason I’ve grown so silent over the last couple of years.

I lead a pretty open digital life because transparency is so key in what I do. This leaves me open to criticism that is both in my face and behind my back. I’d like to think that I have developed a pretty thick skin over the years as items that I produce on a daily basis are open to scrutiny multiple times before they’re acceptable.Barbie is in the buff!

But there are times where it makes me feel as though I’m standing in the street naked.

I find it hard to maintain friendships with others at the best of times, so when someone knows so much more about me without ever asking me a question or having a conversation with me, it makes me uncomfortable. Why? Because I feel like I am nothing but honest in this realm and I put it out there without apologies. I strive to do this in my day-to-day interactions as well, but the difference is that I can see someone’s response to what I’ve said, hear the tone of their voice change and notice both negative and positive reactions to my words and actions right away.

You don’t get that on here.

Sure, you get comments, links and even posts in response to something that you’ve said, but at times, there are people who lurk, never sharing their response.

And that’s what scares me.

I’ve had people I was only just getting to know tell me they read the drivel I share here after thanks to a search engine or that they follow me on several online outlets but are too afraid to comment. There are times that it leads to amazing conversations, and for that I am grateful, but then there are some who leave subtle hints that they’ve read an item I’ve shared, ask questions directly related to something that we’ve never talked about before. And as soon as they express that, I feel completely and utterly naked.

I know you’re probably thinking that I’m doing an awful lot of whining here about something that is completely within my control. If I’m so worried I just need to shut this whole thing down and retreat back to the shadows. But I don’t want to and you can’t make me.

I’m all about communication and conversation.

So, instead of YOU hiding in the shadows, come out and get naked with me talk to me.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Do you find you censor yourself at times because of the unknown reader? Is it easier for you to stomach that strangers are reading vs. loved ones? Do you think I’m paranoid? Do you think that I shouldn’t have worn that orange tank top last night? Share with the class.

Image source

12 comments:

Fab Kate said...

I used to worry. Now I figure the cat is out of the bag, and that I can stand up to whatever I've said or done online. There are times I keep quiet on some things because I want to keep them separate, for instance I try not to muddy the waters with my political views when we're talking about health and weight loss, but someone who's even a little determined can find my blogs where I discuss religion and politics quite frankly.

At the same time, while I don't care if my relatives read my political and religious views, I've photographed myself in my undies and naked for my weight loss blog, and that's something I think they don't need to see, although at this point I'm aware that it's out there, they CAN see it, and while I might be a bit embarrassed, I'm not going to crawl into a shell and shut my operculum.

krissie said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. My husband reads my blog. That used to make me nervous. That tempt me to censor myself. Because I didn't want to point out things about myself that he didn't notice. But I've gotten over that. Mostly.

Sometimes it is weird that people know me so much better than I know them. I have friends that read and I forget that and then they respond to a post in conversation like we had talked about it and it catches me off guard. Sometimes I feel really naked, but sometimes I'm glad that they had a frame of reference to bring something up with me. It varies a lot, dependent on the person and the situation and who else is around.

I do censor myself sometimes because there is a possiblity that my parents read and I don't want to worry them. It's not that I don't want them to know me, I just don't want them to worry. And knowing that people I "know" read does stop me from discussing some body image issues the way I used to. But sometimes I think it is better for my mental health anyway that I don't let myself go there.

I can ignore the "unknown reader" mostly. If I don't know they're there, I can deny that they exist. I convince myself that the same 10 readers I know are just reading the same post over and over.

All I know is that if you were suddenly gone, I would be suddenly sad. I'd require like a monthly email newsletter or something. I can't go cold turkey. :)

Kimberley said...

Am I the only one that feels this way? Heck no!

Do you find you censor yourself at times because of the unknown reader? Yes!

Is it easier for you to stomach that strangers are reading vs. loved ones? Way easier...I don't share my blog with my family and with very few IRL friends, but I am sure if anyone did a little math, they could figure out my blog persona.

Do you think I’m paranoid? Of course! ;)

Do you think that I shouldn’t have worn that orange tank top last night? Orange is always a yes with me.

I completely understand where you are coming from...do I want colleagues to know I weigh 303.4 pounds? Not really, but I am putting it out here, so it is shut down or shut up for me. I prefer to shut up as I love to blog!

Jen said...

Hmm, well I write about my struggles with depression, weight, family problems, dating, anything really.

I am fairly open about it. If you google my name and blog, I will be found. I have talked about my blog and stuff with people I meet and know, etc.

What I worry most about is that it will bite me in the butt someday. I am not ashamed and I write to spread awareness but still, it lingers in the back of my mind.

If it does bite me in the but, then oh well.

JavaChick said...

Oh yeah, I definitely censor myself. I didn't so much at the beginning, when I felt like I was mainly talking to myself, but now I know there are friends & family members who know about my blog. I don't know for sure that they read it, but it definitely gives me pause. And may be part of the reason why I don't blog as much any more.

Watchmeshine said...

As far as I know, family, friends, co-workers don't know about my blog. I'm not sure why this is so, but it just is.

My husband knows about it but doesn't read it, just because, as he says, "I'm married to you. We probably talk about whatever it is you're blogging about, anyway, don't we?!" and usually that's true.

But there's a certain level of scrutiny with which I don't think I'd be comfortable - and I perceive it as coming from people in my life, before I give them a chance to surprise me.

In a way, having this forum in which to express myself and having only certain people read it allows me to feel like it's still something that's just mine. As odd as that may sound. Or else it's easier to have people whom I don't really know judging, rather than those nearest and dearest to me.

If I knew that someone I know in "real life" were reading, I don't think I'd be as open and honest about how I'm feeling. Although, maybe more than 3 people would read it, then. :)

Molly said...

Yes I hear you! Yet, I am a silent lurker on many blogs. Just letting you know I enjoy your blog.

Anne said...

I do censor myself. I've even gone so far as to hide old posts where I've spilled my guts because I'm scared that someone in real life will find them. Stupid, I know, but for me, my blog is a place where I can write what's on my mind and then let it go...and that's easier to do with strangers reading and where it won't be brought up again. I wish this weren't the case but it is what it is...

I'm also extremely opinionated in person, I'm scared of being too blunt and offending someone.

As for the the lurkers, I admit that I am one. I do it more because I read blogs through a feed reader and if I did comment on all the blogs that I read, well, there aren't enough hours in a day. I'm ok with people not commenting because I know that they are reading by the stats on my blog and the number of subscribers in google reader. I'm ok with that. I write for myself most of the time.

Angie All The Way said...

I hear you. Big time. I was completely ok with it when I knew it was "you guys" who read my blog, then my bosses found it and started reading which totally threw a big fat wrench into how I felt comfortable expressing myself - then there was that little Live at 5 interview that broadcasted me on TV which made me feel completely naked because I felt like as soon as my "hometown" people who know me started reading, I was back in high school again feeling inadequate. Oh and then there's the "in laws" side who read it. I still express myself, but I know deep down inside if I didn't have my profile attached to it that I'd be saying much much more!

ErinnB said...

I read you. I don't know you in person. You looked fine in that top. Those shoes looked like they were pinching your feet though ;)

Miz said...

YES YES YES.
I still have a tiny private blog (readership two. me and husband and he doesnt read :)) which is more like a true online journal I want to print someday for my daughter.

That is where Im completely bare.

xo

Kimberley said...

I don't blog frequently. And I know that it's rare that people read it when I do. Mostly, I write what I think, how I think it.

I can understand the naked feeling, though. Sometimes I say things without thinking about how other people will read them.

I read your blog and I know you (not well, though). I will try not to ask questions that will make you uncomfortable.

I like reading your thoughts.

I hope you continue.

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