Fellow blogger Tim McNally teases me sometimes about the confessional nature of my weekly blog, saying that I should pay him for the therapy session. I have always written that way. I don’t know how else to write.
I don’t mind oversharing the details of my personal life. I don’t know if it’s just habit – I come from a family of Southern Gothic characters with no boundaries at all – or a particular lack of decorum and/or self-consciousness, but I really don’t have a strong sense of privacy.
I was recently regaling my coworkers with stories of my dad’s crazy fifth ex-wife, and I said, “Yeah, I know I didn’t exactly tell these stories at the job interview, but …” and one of my coworkers cut me off and said, “Actually, you did …”
Oops. The truth is even though I have a basic understanding of professionalism in theory, I have zero ability to actually not tell people about my ex-stepmom, the dog-hoarding interpretive dancer, in a job interview.
I openly admit to my many neuroses, flaws and phobias, both here and in real life. I definitely struggle with anxiety, and I worry about the effect it has on Ruby, who has by now adopted the after-school routine of climbing into her booster, buckling her seat belt, spraying her hands with the special-ordered sanitizer I pass back to her and then telling me if any kids in her class were absent or went home sick.
On Tuesday, she told me that James had thrown up on the alphabet rug – “on the Q,” she said, “so don’t worry because I sit on the C, which is nowhere near the Q.”
And she knew without asking that I was going to ask her to leave her shoes outside on the porch so she wouldn’t potentially track norovirus into the house.
I feel a little sheepish about making her conform to my intense germ-phobia, but she is fascinated by germs, viruses and pandemics, so maybe there’s an upside to it? And every mom is crazy about something, or at least that’s what I tell myself.
But more than the effect that my compulsive sanitizing has on Ruby, I am starting to worry about the effect that my oversharing might have on her privacy. I make my own decisions about my own oversharing, but I also make decisions about what I share about Ruby. And Ruby, unlike me, actually is kind of a private person.
Last week, my mom read Ruby part of my blog, and Ruby took me to task for it. “I did not get the front of my shirt wet!” she said indignantly. (She did, though.) “And I don’t think you should have told everybody that I left the noodles in the bottom of the pot! I tried to get that noodle out! It was just stuck!”
I apologized to her, and I told her I would try to get her permission in the future for anything I write here or post on Facebook.
For so long, I have been very eager for Ruby to start reading fluently. Except now it is slowly dawning on me that her reading means that she will be able to read what I am writing. And that means I will have to respect her privacy a lot more than I respect my own.