On Being Private.

That’s a weird opening for a post, I know. Considering I am the Queen of Vomiting Extremely Personal Information Onto the Internets. But hear me out.

One of my Mom’s favorite ways to describe my Dad is “He is a very private person – very private – who leads a very public life.” There’s a reason why you don’t really get a sense of who Dad is off the court or the jackassery he provides in interviews. There’s also a reason why he got off Twitter. It’s because he’d much prefer to just grab a book and read, or just, like, not speak. He’s actually really quiet. (Shocker, I know.)

I am the opposite of that. I give, and expend, and throw up all of this energy at everyone around me. I tell everyone everything. Within a minute or two of knowing me, you’ll probably have my entire life story. It’s not because I’m a compulsive oversharer (well..not just because of that), but a need to just get to know people and be everyone’s friend. I love meeting people and finding about about them, and I also feel like the more I can share my story of trauma and struggle, the more it could possibly help people.

I’m still going to do that. But in a different way.

This summer has taught me a very important lesson: keeping things close to the belt is actually a really, really good thing.

I’ve never been a superbly private person, except in my close relationships. And there’s a reason for that – whoever I’m with at the time of writing doesn’t need to have their dirty laundry aired out on my public blog. And quite frankly, it’s none of your business. But that’s going to change.

I’ve had a lot of very well-meaning people give me a lot of advice this summer. And some of it has been very good. But some of it has been terrible. And some of the time, it’s felt like I’ve been shouting into a chasm and getting absolutely nothing in response. Which, of course, I take incredibly personally and it makes me feel like garbage.

But as I approach the fall season, I’ve found this deep need to become more introspective and thoughtful, and also, I found a need to not share as much about myself on this here blog. I’ve been really trying to think about the person I want to be. I want to be someone who has a substantial writing career, but I also want some form of professional day-to-day work in the educational sphere. And I also want to represent myself professionally in that realm.

I also want to eventually meet someone, and produce little humans that will carry on my good hair and fabulous dimples. And I feel like if I get too personal about various things on this site, those little humans will see it someday and die a little inside. I don’t want them to feel ashamed of their Mom. I want them to know who I am, so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. But I also want them to feel like I’m saving the best parts of myself for just them.

I don’t want my lack of a filter to ruin my future, basically. On a personal or a professional level. And this was a hard decision for me to make, because I feel like I made a lot of strides forward in my work this summer.

But I also realized that one of the reasons why this summer was so horrific was because, conversely to our previous discussions about me not knowing how to speak up, I had no idea how to keep my damn mouth shut. 

I didn’t know that then. I learned that lesson way too late. I responded to a huge crisis by lashing out. By not being introspective and seeing the parts of myself that I needed to address and fix. I expended my energy in rage, and blame, and guilt-tripping, and basically being a straight-up bitch. And now, one of the most important things in my entire life is gone. Forever.

If that wasn’t a bucket of ice water in my face about how I choose to conduct my energy, I don’t know what would be.

When I started to look at the pieces of my life, and figure out the whys and the hows, I realized that a huge part of it was because I have no idea how to shut myself off. I have no boundaries.

So, I have to figure out my voice with a filter. And it’s going to be a little bit different around these parts.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to just stop posting! I’m going to be expanding my repertoire to talk about cultural and world events, as well as various – gasp! – works of fiction. I’ve been dying to do fictional work here and since it’s my space, I might as well do it.

I’ve been taking this “desire to share less” mode into other social networks. I post a lot less on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been trying to be more authentic (and seriously authentic, not #authentic) on Instagram. I’ve been doing this thing where I…think about what I’m going to post before I post it. I know. What a revolutionary concept. I legit will think of something to say, wait about five minutes and ponder it, and then maybe…I won’t post it after all! What?! (I mean, there’s been a few times where I’ve posted something and then immediately deleted it. But I’m human, dammit.)

This summer has been incredibly hard. But it’s also been really rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve taken the actual time to be alone, and to think about who I am and what I want. And in the process, I’ve learned many harsh lessons and I’ve come out the other side stronger, sadder, and wiser.

My therapist told me that I shouldn’t think of my energy as a circle. I should think of it as a diamond. “A diamond has hard, secure boundaries and sharp edges, and not everything is allowed into a diamond. If your energy is a circle, everything is allowed in, and you end up running around the perimeter unable to stop and rest.”

My energy is now a diamond. The Hope Diamond. And I’ve found my focus.

Watch out.


P.S. I’m also pumped to announce that you can catch me oversharing a TON on the Internet in my new role as a freelancer at…UPWORTHY!! My first article goes up on Tuesday! So pumped to be part of a great community of writers over there.

Published by The Curious Ally Cat

I'm a 34 year old adjunct professor and writer in Connecticut. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late.

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