The blogging thing … off-limit topics

This is a pretty PG blog. I might swear at times, because that’s just me – I do in person as well. I might talk about all kinds of aspects of relationships, but it tends to be discreet and not very specific or detailed. Because my kids occasionally tune in to my blog, you are unlikely to read about my intimate, physical relationship with M in any detail (I can already hear the “ooohhhh MOM!” from my son, clear across town). Our views on religion, politics, or other controversial topics of the day are unlikely to be expressed here, because there are a lot of blogs that cover a lot of subjects in depth and I go there when I feeling like debating (almost never happens).

But from my blog list I read and follow a fair number of blogs that deal with a lot of these topics. I am not a betrayed spouse, nor am I an other woman cheating on M. Neither of us are bisexual nor are we sexually adventurous and looking for additional partners to spice up our love life (hear that thump and groan? My son slapping his forehead and muttering “TMI! TMI!”). I am not dating and frequently feel like an absolute Pollyanna reading blogs written by blogger friends who are dating and exploring their sexuality. The reason I follow the blogs I do is because the writer is someone real, whose words or situations or pain has touched me in a real and dramatic way. I frequently feel as if I have NOTHING to offer them by way of encouragement or advice or comments, being happily married and stuff. But they are real. They are expressing something that resonates with me on a some personal level. That’s critical for me to feel connected and compelled and eager to read their posts.

But I read posts and sometimes I so WANT to say something. I want to participate in the discussion and will not, because I have not walked in their shoes, I have been with the same guy for a long time and despite a separation and very brief, uncomfortable, and extraordinarily disappointing attempts at dating during that separation, I feel as if my “skills” and advice are out of step with modern time. This is my issue, of course, and I have to get over it. Maybe. Or not. I suppose my shyness in reticence to speak up is more about sounding dated and dumb and is definitely my fear; no one has ever said “that’s dated and dumb” or “you have no business commenting because you THINK you are happily married” or anything even remotely similar. This is one of those work-in-progress things. Again, I will get there, or not, and it is fine, either way.

Why do I bring this up? Sometimes I feel as if I am self-censoring. It is perhaps the downside of having a blog open enough to M, my kids, my friends. Since I am not on FB or social media this is my best way of “broadcasting” news or thoughts and ideas from me. I have a pretty active email and text and phone relationships with friends far away, but they all know they can check in here with whatever the heck is happening with me/us. But while I am self-censoring, I also feel better about blogging knowing my DH is aware of what I am doing/writing and can cruise by and check in whenever he wishes.

There are moments when I think about a darker side blog, where I can discuss a lot of heavier topics in as vivid detail as I wish. I joke with M that it should be titled “Facets of my fucked-up, short-changed life” and would cover all the dark and twisty spaces I lock away on a day-to-day basis. The times when I ponder it, I wonder what the point is of bringing it up and out of its closet. Would it be helpful for me or anyone else? There is a catharsis in writing, in blogging, in being out here in print, in the light of days, 24/7. I have personal journals through the years, some filled with daily musings, some with months of gaps of blank sheets. I used to never be able to read them, never face who I was and the person I am growing up and into, but now when I go back and read a page or two, I find myself wanting to write more about it, talk to anonymous strangers about the experiences. But I know I cannot and will not do it here. This is for the person I am on a day-to-day basis, our adventures as empty nesters and the challenges we face growing older, as parents of adult children and the slowly changing dynamics of family. I love this place. I love that there is a lot of happy talk, some bitching and complaining, some whining, and a lot of general reporting on the status of our lives. It’s good, it’s safe, it’s NORMAL. I need to protect that.

So while I have my off-limit topics and am sort of self-censoring, it’s for good reasons. And I am sure you do not care whether or not I am discussing my thoughts on those off-limit subjects (well, my family may care … *laugh*). But I was thinking about it tonight and trying to formulate words to comment on a blog post I read earlier started me thinking about this whole blogging process and what it has come to mean to me. It’s all very good.

10 thoughts on “The blogging thing … off-limit topics

  1. So many thoughts, too little sleep to coherently state them! I think that blog topics and the sharing aspect of social media is, among many things, a generational gap. Anyone born after 2005 is part of a world where anything and everything is public and shared. Censorship is an afterthought or a never-thought. Those of us who remember life before the internet take over can be blown away by the private becoming public. There really is no such thing as a “shock value” anymore. Then there’s the bloggers/writers who have to be more open and forthcoming on their personal life and perspective because it is part of their brand and their niche. I’m like you, I keep a journal by my bed where I write to my son every so often, and these are not things I write on my blog. I want him to have something later in life that is just for him. I also make sure not to post anything that could someday embarrass him. What I share on any topic I do because I hope that it could help or connect with someone else somewhere in the same situation – or even better, someone who isn’t in that situation but who is trying to be a friend or family member to one going through it. That’s where your perspective as a long time happily married person is so valuable! Do you know how many people are terrified of marriage because they’ve only ever been surrounded by divorce and heart break? Your story may not be full of drama and sexual escapades, but a long and happy marriage is, sadly, rare to come by…and those stories and people give the lovelorn hope. That’s a pretty powerful point of view, if you ask me. 🙂

    • Sarah, thank you for your kind words and for sharing your perspective. One of the things I love about the internet and blogville is the opportunity to connect with other real people getting along in life. I love that you keep a journal just for Ben; I can only imagine how precious that will be for him when he is an adult and perhaps on the journey to husband and fatherhood himself. I know for me I really didn’t completely understand my parents until I became a mother myself, and in some ways it became the one, tentative connection we had as adults. WIth my kids its a little different, and I frankly sort of fear them getting to read what I have written about childhood traumas and events and explanations about relationships after I have left this realm. But that’s a struggle for another day, another time, possibly another blog someday. For now, I love this place. I love my life and sharing the uneven day-to-day uneventfulness of it. Thanks for the encouragement, always appreciated.

      • I think it’s also fair to say that our kids don’t need to know everything about us. Be it from our kids or the world, we are allowed to have some secrets and stories that are just for ourselves. I complete agree about not understanding parents until becoming one – I see my mom and late father in a whole new light now that I have this little person depending on me! Thanks for being part of the blogging world of communication, dialogue and discussion!

  2. Recently, I posted something very similar in which I discussed why I don’t talk about my sex life. But of course, there are a lot of topics that I don’t discuss…every once in a while, I get someone sending me an email and asking why I won’t discuss certain things. For example, being a non-practicing bisexual, means I am rather boring…at least for some people’s tastes. But on the other hand, I think there is something to be said about maintaining some discretion in what you discuss. I know having a family, influences a lot of what I discuss, but I made a vow a long time ago to never mention much about my children online…to some that might seem that I don’t care about my children, but to me I take the charge of being their protector very seriously. So, on some things I discuss aspects of my life, but I also try to do it in some sort of general way, so that anything I discuss might not affect my family. Although, they might understand certain identifying aspects of my blog, it is not done in a way that would identify my family members from outside of this arena…

    I dunno, I think everyone has they reasons for blogging, and when you stick to that purpose, then the blog is what you set out to accomplish with it, right?

    • I do understand what you’re saying and agree 100%. I discuss my kids in a general way, and if I think I’m getting to close to a line that affects their privacy, I ask them what they think and whether or not it is okay to discuss situations that affect us as a family. Both read my blog and have yet to either get mad at me, be hurt by my comments, or ask me to remove anything, although my son occasionally gives me the “TMI, mom!” groan. *laugh*

      Because a lot of my friends see that I follow blogs written by betrayed spouses, they were initially alarmed that something had happened in my marriage. But because of the people I do follow, it has lead friends and family who only see us once a year or once every few years to speculate there is trouble where none exists.

      I also have a good understanding of why I blog and what I talk about. I also know there’s another part of me that craves this type of outlet to expose and discuss darker memories, experiences, and general awfulness that I will never, ever bring here. I have not found the courage or the backbone to experiment with that craving, and I suppose on some level I hope acknowledging it exists will mute its desire for public expression.

      Thanks as always for your comment. I do appreciate your perspective.

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