My Sense of Shame Is Missing

In the usual effort to fill a boring Friday morning with as little actual work as possible, I spent a great deal of time chatting on Facebook with one of my artist/writer/creative type friends.  We got to talking about my blog, our shared insecurities about writing for the public eye, etc.  Eventually the conversation went in the following direction:

Friend:  I wonder if [ex’s name] reads your blog, and if so, what he thought about the ex one.

Me:  Meh, knowing him he’d probably just laugh.

Friend:  Yeah, I know.  I’m just curious.  I think a lot about that sort of shit.  People and their reactions to things.

Me:  That’s why I try not to use names.

Friend:  I know, but *WE* know who you’re talking about.  🙂

Despite my off-and-on history with blogging, my old blogs were never much of a topic of conversation amongst my friends.  I would blog, people would comment on the blog online, and we never really talked about it in person.  The blogs existed on the internet; my friends existed in the real world.  And the two never really crossed paths.

Then one former roommate (who started acting like a raging bitch after a severe concussion) got really mad when I wrote about what was going on between us, even though I didn’t use her name or mine.  I was doing what I do as a writer—taking the frustrations of my everyday life and writing through them so I could understand both what was going on in the death of this particular friendship and how I felt about it.  And I may have called her a few not-nice names in the process.  It was an experience that I learned from, but I still don’t regret.  Even then, it was one person getting upset about something I posted, and silence from the rest of my social circle.  And while I now think very carefully about what I say and how I say it, and who might read it, their reaction isn’t always among my chief concerns.

When I started this blog, however, I was amazed by the real-life attention it was getting.  Within the first week (and remember now, we’re only on week three) I got a lot of, “I like your blog!” from my friends…in person, not just on Facebook.  My sister said that she’d read every post I’d written so far when I saw her over Easter weekend.  My step-mom read the one about her creepy baby doll out loud to my dad no more than an hour after I posted it.  I’ve gotten comments about it from friends in the dance company, as well as theatre friends from college I haven’t talked to in years.  I’ve had more people ask me about my blog in the last three weeks than in any of the YEARS I spent blogging before the big hiatus.

And while this has made me think very carefully about what I’m saying, and has made me consider not the possibility but the PROBABILITY of my friends and family reading it, it hasn’t altered my content all that much.

The rest of that Facebook chat with my artsy/writer friend went something like this:

Friend:  I know, but *WE* know who you’re talking about.  🙂

Me:  Well, yeah.  That’s why I also don’t go into a lot of detail on other people’s personal stuff.

Friend:  Of course.  That’s probably my weakness—letting too much personal stuff slip out.

Me:  I guess I just don’t care all that much about my own personal stuff.  I posted about having to collect a stool sample for the doctor, for crying out loud.  All my shames, they are just gone.

I said that without really thinking about it, but then I thought about it.  And it’s true.  Somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost my sense of shame.  Where ten or even just five years ago I would have been incredibly embarrassed to tell anyone I’d had to poop in a cup and take it to a lab, now I joke about it not just among my friends, but on the internet.  I’ve declared to the world wide web exactly how much I weigh.  And I really, honestly do not care who knows.

This is an amazingly liberating feeling, but at the same time I wonder what exactly happened to my shame.  Does it stem from sharing more and more of my life via social networking?  Is it a result of spending more and more time with the lewd, crude, self-confident and amazing women in my dance and social circles?  Have I just grown that much as a person?

Don’t get me wrong; I still get embarrassed from time to time.  When my dance teacher pokes a little too much fun at me for the size of my boobs.  When I accidentally let one rip in yoga.  When one of my grammar-Nazi comrades points out a spelling error in one of my status updates.  When I try to say something and it comes out completely wrong.  I know it sounds like little things, but that’s what gets to me.  It’s the little things that have always gotten to me.  But recently, a funny thing started happening:  once the initial embarrassment wears off, I laugh.  And that embarrassment keeps getting more and more infrequent, and lasting shorter and shorter periods of time.

And there are still deep dark things I will never, ever be able to say here.  But those are becoming fewer and further between.

I guess I’m well on my way to becoming the shameless, crazy old lady I aspire to be after all.

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3 Responses to My Sense of Shame Is Missing

  1. Pingback: Flowers Don’t Like Me… | The Perks of Being a Gemini

  2. My mom and my sister both freaked out about my blog too. The were worried I would embarrass them.

    • My family didn’t really freak out about it; they’ve just been very vocal.
      I say embarrass away. Everyone needs to be able to laugh at themselves; if they can’t, that seems to be the best way to teach them how. 🙂

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