20 June 2010

Here you are

Hi everyone, from the here and now.

One thing I've been meaning to write about is having recently received a request for participation in a geolocation-based social network, which I ignored for a whole mess of reasons, all peculiar to me. But the fact is, I like being where I am, but not necessarily telling the world where I am. Sometimes you can figure out exactly where I am. If I'm tweeting airport codes, it's usually because I am going from that airport to another airport any second. Usually, however, I rarely want to say where I am until I've already left. It was just a matter of time before someone aggregated all those geolocating foursquare updates as they did on PleaseRobMe.com and used them for ill. I have felt concerned from my first tweet onward about embracing a behavior that would enable such abuse.

Yet I know I delude myself if I think I'm invisible online, if I think my online persona is fully compartmentalized, discrete, from my IRL (in-real-life) persona.

But what must we shield to protect ourselves from that most insidious and hideous theft: the one that can turn a whole life around and throw it on the ground -- and stomp on it? What can and can't I say here? Am I taking a huge risk by saying anything at all? Finding balance is tricky for me in this area; I was trained to fly low, stay under the radar, be invisible, adaptable, take care of things instead of complaining about them. My instinct now is to pull back and clam up tight.

Yet. Another impulse I hardly understand rises up, rears its scaled, reptilian head and says I have to tell everyone about what the world looks like to someone who experienced all I did as a kid. So many people still can't believe it. Here is a memory of my dear old father: we went to see movies sometimes, and this time it was the double feature of Convoy, followed by Deliverance, Deliverance then repeated. I watched, with my father in the next seat and no one else in the car, the dreadful suspense, that terrible squealing scene, everything. Twice. And now I have to tell you because I can't stand having to keep that kind of stuff to myself any more. That's what I mean when I say "living out loud."

For years, I didn't believe that was the kind of thing anyone would call abuse. But when I was supposed to be feeling free and confident as a newly minted and educated adult, I couldn't understand why I felt so bad and carried around so much hurt, nor why all that codependent stuff I was doing -- the leaping to help, assuming responsibility where I had none -- just wasn't working for me anymore. Now I see why that wasn't working: I no longer had those dysfunctional people all around to jump in and mop up after. But I felt ashamed of myself for having that background, and all the deficits that entailed. I felt it just showed up how out of whack things were in my world, and I took that personally for a while.

Major edit, 24 June:
Rereading this post as I originally wrote it I think, My, what an internal argument I have going ("Say it! Say it loud!" "Shush!" etc.)! At first I felt embarrassed for airing this emotional response to a recent memory. But this is sort of the crux of my blog, isn't it? Why say it if I'm not going to say all of it? If some of it's going to be off-limits? Isn't that letting myself censor me before I've had the opportunity to state my piece? Or should I have just edited that second half into a separate post?

How about this: You be the judge! And the best comment wins a (smallish) Gomez t-shirt once worn by yours truly (but since laundered)!

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