Saturday, January 19, 2013

Social Secrets

 I love social media- blogs, Twitter, Facebook. I get a real kick out of being in touch with people all over the world, people I went to school with, people who I would never know otherwise. I like seeing viewpoints that are completely different than my own, having what I consider "normal" to be challenged by the normal of others, and I love finding out that I am really not as strange and unlikeable and just generally different as I've always thought.  It's nice knowing that almost everyone has ambivalent thoughts about parenthood, that everyone has stood by a crib at 3 a.m. whisper-screaming "What do you want? What could you possibly want? PLEASE just go to SLEEP!!"  I like feeling like I'm a part of something bigger, part of a community, and I don't have to worry about what I'm wearing, or whether my hair is doing that thing it does, because there's a computer screen between us.

Unfortunately, I married a man who does not share this viewpoint. To him, the internet is a tool for figuring out how to get to a place he's never been, and a way to shop for birthdays and Christmas without ever having to encounter a human being.  He is extremely private. Woe betide the friend who posts a picture on Facebook that includes my husband. He will never forgive you for that. He despises Twitter, and thinks blogs are stupid. "Who needs that much attention?" He asks. "Who is that unconcerned about security that they can post their lives on the internet for the whole world to see?"

The biggest issue in our relationship (to me, anyway) is that I can not tell him, "I need more." I need girlfriends, or a convincing simulation thereof. Don't get me wrong; I have girlfriends. A couple. But I don't have close friendships with anyone. I don't feel safe showing myself. I don't like to open up and be intimate with anyone other than him. I do trust him completely. But to him, that's all I should need, and sometimes, I just need more. But I've spent so much time holding everyone else at arm's length that I can't bring myself to reel them in.  And to add to the problem, he doesn't need more. He has me, and he's completely, totally, wide open and vulnerable to me, and he just doesn't need anyone else. So I feel guilty. Because he's giving me all this, and I'm giving him all I have, and he's happy with that, but I'm not. I feel like there's no way to share that with him without hurting his feelings. And I'm terrified that telling him this will be the first brick in a wall between us.

So, this blog, my twitter feed--they are secrets. He knows about my Facebook. I have too many friends that are also his friends or co-workers to keep that from him. I think about telling him about the blog, but never about Twitter. He just doesn't get Twitter, and he never will, so why go down that road? And the blog...well, if he knew about it, he would want to read it, and if he was reading it, I would censor myself--not consciously, I don't think, but I would feel like I was being watched, and I would guard myself accordingly.

The best blogs I read, the ones that make me laugh and cry and feel a part of the blogger's life, are the ones that are unspeakably honest. That tell it, warts and all, without holding back. I feel like, if I'm going to write, there's not much point in it if I don't do the same. And I can't do it if he's watching. So, secret.

Is it a lie? Am I cheating him out of a portion of the intimacy and honesty I owe him? I don't know.  The fact that I want to shy away from that question is probably an indication that yes, it is a lie, and yes, that's exactly what I'm doing. But right now, at this moment in my life, I need an outlet. I need this outlet.

And from a purely practical standpoint, I need the practice. I used to be a pretty good writer. It turns out, that's a perishable skill. I'd like to get it back. If I put something out there with my real name and my real self, and someone criticizes it, I would lose my resolve and quit. Right now, I need to be anonymous, to build up my courage and toughen my skin and learn that not everyone is gonna like me, not everyone is gonna agree with me, and that's FINE. It is okay. But I'm not there yet. I will be... someday.

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