Do you have any advice on privacy? obviously, my weight is visibly a problem, but often it’s hard for me to blur the line between what’s fair to write as far as it applies to others–and by others, i mostly mean by parents. i love my mother, she’s given so much for us, but over the years she’s said unkind things about my weight, and my father i’m estranged from (his idea, not me or my siblings). i believe that my parents directly or indirectly have much to do with my disordered eating. i like to think that we are so much more complex than words on on a page, so i wonder: any advice on how do i stay true to myself, but respect their privacy, their reputation, and all they have done for me? thanks!- Alexia
This is a tough question and even my answer might not be right for you. It’s a very personal thing and every blogger has to draw their own line and decide what they want to share and what they don’t want to share.
Much of my disordered eating was caused because of a very dysfunctional family life. I had no idea how to cope with this so I somehow managed to pick emotional eating as my comfort. The weight I gained only made things at home worse, but since I had no other way to cope the cycle continued endlessly until I went to college (but of course even then it wasn’t over). I still struggle with learned behaviors and habits that I feel like were directly or indirectly caused by family members. So I understand exactly where you are coming from.
For the most part I’ve forgiven my family members for their role in things. I wish things had happened differently, but I am over placing blame on them. It sucks, but at some point moving on and letting it go is the only option. That being said, because I write about weight I sometimes want to write about the causes of my weight gain. Since family members played a huge role in this I want to write about that and have done so in the past. It was part of my personal healing process in getting over things and reaching the point where I didn’t blame anyone. For me it was extremely helpful to look back on those experiences and figure out what went wrong and why.
Writing about my family’s role in that was helpful, but I know it hurt my mom some to read about those things on my blog. At the same time, I’m pretty sure the experiences she watched me go through (obesity and all it’s ugly cousins) were just as painful. She knows I love her, but she knows that she did play a role in my disordered eating and obesity. Sometimes honesty hurts, but our relationship was strong enough for it.
What has worked for me is writing about people either as concepts instead of specific people and situations, or just flat out asking if I could write about them. My mom doesn’t mind if I write about her, for the most part my brothers don’t care. If you know that your parent(s) don’t want you to write about them, then don’t. It’s not worth it to ruin a relationship by writing negative things about them. I believe you can still write a lot about disordered eating and your personal experience without pointing fingers directly at your parents. And if they accept that it’s something your need to do to move on, then go ahead and write what you need to write. Deciding what’s “fair” to write about might be easier if you discuss it with them (or it might be harder, honestly).
That being said… it’s tricky. Every blogger has to figure out what to share and what to keep private. We all have areas of our lives that we just don’t blog about. I assume as a blog reader that bloggers do this. I have a million blogs yet I still keep a lot of myself and my life offline. Being true to yourself doesn’t mean you have to disclose every detail – you can keep things, people, and experiences in your life private from what you share on your blog. That doesn’t make the story you share any less valid, but it might keep some relationships intact.
The most important thing to consider is the fact that your blog is public. Anyone can find and read it. What you want to write or feel that you need to write about can be found by anyone. The first time I found out my dad read my blog I wanted to quit blogging. That relationship is broken beyond repair and I didn’t want him to have knowledge of anything about my life. So for me that’s where I know how to draw the line – I don’t write anything I want him to know. He might read, he might not, but I have to remember that my blog is public and accessed by thousands of people each day – it’s not just my private journal. If I don’t want it to be seen, I just simply can’t write it.
If you still feel the need to write about these experiences, your parents don’t want you to or you think it would hurt them, you could always do it anonymously or in a protected environment. You could write password protected posts or something along those lines if you feel it’s vital to share but you don’t want specific people to access the information. That’s another option that I haven’t utilized but think might work in certain situations.
That’s a bit of my take on privacy and how to handle writing about other people, especially parents. Does anyone else have some advice for Alexia? I know a lot of you will have great thoughts on the subject, so please share in the comments. How do you handle privacy issues as a blogger?