Sharing Secrets?

From time to time I find myself thinking about what I would write about in this space if this blog was totally anonymous.

I mean, yesterday I wrote a post that contained 40 tidbits of information about me. More than 40 if you're good at reading between the lines. But none of those things are actually what I was thinking about most of all. Truth is, I spent 99% of yesterday thinking about one particular thing and it sure as heck had, shocker of all shockers, nothing to do with Depeche Mode!

The question that lingers is would I have told you what I was really thinking about if this blog was anonymous?

Secrets are a sticky area for me because I know what the burden of keeping rather unhealthy ones feels like. We all have our secrets, the thoughts that are closest to our hearts, and how much to share is a really fine line. What to reveal, what to conceal?

I guess it depends on how we grew up, what we're culturally comfortable with, and what the repercussions of saying certain things are. And if this blog was anonymous, I could say, "Today I'm thinking about _____," or, "Today _____ happened and I felt _____ about it," and no one I know who reads this would have hurt feelings or would be shocked or calling me up saying anything.

Because I don't do that I often feel like I'm keeping secrets from you all, being less than honest. But do you even have, as a reader of this space, the right to know? That was clearly a rhetorical question since clearly, you don't, but you know what I mean.

On the other hand, no, there is no need to put everything out on front street. Everything doesn't have to be reality TV where sometimes I'm thinking, you could've kept that to yourself and I'd seriously be just fine.

This must be part of the reason folks go to therapy. I can see the appeal of paying money to have an objective listener, someone to tell all the things I'm really thinking about. Or, if this blog was anonymous, I could just put it all out there. Then instead of the therapist surreptitiously writing it down on their nice, yellow legal pad, you, the reader could be the one to comment, "Um, you're crazy!"

What about you? Where do you draw the line on what to share on your blog? (or in life if you're one of the five people in the world who don't have a blog yet) Have you ever regretted sharing a secret or secret thought on your blog?


j'taimee said…
As I am presently living in Israel, the purpose of my blog is to keep my family up to speed on the things I do and see here. So yeah, no anonymity = no secret sharing.
...but have you ever considered writing letters to your once and future self? You could even use a nice yellow legal pad.
I really enjoy reading your blog, btw. It cures any of the homesickness I may feel.
Anonymous said…
Liz, I like to share as much as possible on my blog, however personal or strange, because people get a more honest picture of who I am. But there's loads of stuff about my relationship with Jenny I don't say because she would be offended or embarrassed. Likewise I don't say much about my mum or sister.

There are also personal obsessions and inclinations which I don't mention because it would be too embarrassing for me, and maybe too weird for other people to understand (don't worry, nothing creepy!!).

But there's a definite temptation to blurt out anything and everything and drop all inhibitions. I have to remind myself there are thousands of people out there who might think it's too much information.

I don't think I've ever regretted sharing anything. There's nothing I'm ashamed of and as far as I know I haven't hurt anyone.
Jameil said…
i haven't regretted sharing anything but there have been things i wanted to share that i held back on b/c i didn't want people to know that much about me. i don't assume any level of anonymity when writing. i assume anyone and everyone i know is reading my blog.
Jen said…
Liz, I have a lot of things I put off-limits on my blog. There are certain family issues I. don't. discuss. It's tempting, because I have some challenges in my life, but you know, it might hurt people I care for. So there it is.

What I DO find therapeutic, though, is keeping a journal or writing letters and tearing them up, etc. Those words aren't for publication to anyone, but they help me cope.

And then I can focus on sharing the stuff that I'm willing to share.
I think that I am pretty careful too. I'm pretty careful about direct mention of friends in my life and my opinions about things going on with them. There *are* moments I would otherwise mention things about the boy, frustrations with people, etc. that I don't ... But I think its not always appropriate.

I have thought about having my own very secret blog too, just to keep it all a little more private. That being said I *think* I'm pretty honest.

Thanks for the great blog! :)
I just read this and thought of your post:
Anonymous said…
Oh gosh, I have a lot to say... sorry.

I went to therapy because the things that other people did (to me) were so horrifying that the knowledge injured the people who loved me. Of course, they injured the therapists too - but that's another story.

I work with people who are trapped in their own minds. Severe trauma can break the mind. Clients don't come and mindlessly chatter, although there is a place for that in the world I guess. We work, hard, through blood, sweat and many tears. Until they learn to laugh again or for the first time.

Did you know that most people make more money after just one year of therapy? 10% more.

Secrets? I tell people, as I believe it for myself, that we must attend to our audience. Why do we want to tell our secrets? What will we get? And, in turn, how will your audience respond?

If I told you my darkest secret - you a stranger - it would hurt you. And you would feel sorry for me, make judgments about who I am - I know, it's happened over and over again. So why bother? Even anonymously, I gain nothing.

I try to be transparent, consistent, and kind on my blog and all my Internet interaction. Transparency doesn't require secret telling in my book.
Nerd Girl said…
I've never posted anything that I regret sharing. I do find myself censoring my blog though.

My censoring is more in the vein of not writing about "situations" in my family than of any personal secret sharing. There's a post about my sister-in-law that I've been itching to write, but I know that I never will.

No matter how open I choose to be with my own life, I don't feel that I have the right to share the details of others.

This is so timely - I was contemplating doing a post where I just listed things I wanted to say to various people, but didn't. I think I'll work on it. Of course, I won't indicate who I wanted to say it to . . .
Haute in LA said…
That’s a tough one. Sometimes I want to say so much more but, like you, I don’t want those that know me reading and calling/e-mailing me about it later (I’ve actually had this happen with one of my friends and though it was cleansing for me, she no longer posts comments on the blog in fear of my response). Also, there are some salacious stories I could share but every now and then my mom gets bored and reads the blog! Heaven forbid my dad actually read… All in all, no regrets because we (I) use our (my) blog(s) as a platform to say how WE feel, what’s going on with us and share our perspective. Everyone may not like it and if they don’t: click the little “x” up in the right-hand corner and keep it moving.

Btw, feel free to e-mail me all your secrets, even if you don’t want to post it for all to see. ;-)
Liz Dwyer said…
Welcome! So glad to help out with the homesickness while you're in Israel. The thing is, I do keep a journal but I also worry about people reading it either while I'm alive or after I pass on, so I suppose that's kind of like writing letters to myself. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if what I'm feeling is that it's hard for me to write something else here when I'm thinking about something other matters so intensely.

I know what you mean. I'm sure your obsessions are nothing creepy and we all sure do have them, don't we? (Depeche Mode, anybody?) And I don't talk about my husband either -- he's specifically asked me to not talk about him and gets really really upset about it. He said it's a violation of his privacy.

I know I have a lot of lurkers so I assume plenty of folks I know or sort of know are reading too. You don't hold back and I appreciate that because there's such an energy and freedom when I read your blog. Have you ever wondered if folks at your job read it?

Yep, I can imagine folks in my family would be very hurt if I chatted about certain things in my blog more than I do. Tearing up the letters is a pretty good idea. The other things I did a couple years ago but I haven't in awhile is send myself emails to another email address that no one I know has. That helps. Maybe I should start doing that again.

So glad you shared your thoughts. I'm also quite sure my friends wouldn't appreciate me dishing about all the stuff going on in their lives, so I don't. But it's just sometimes tempting to dish about what's going on in my life. I guess it's just a matter of moderation! ;) And thank you for the link!

I'm so SO glad you said all you did. I could've written your whole first paragraph, except for going to therapy. I've only been to therapy once and I ended up wanting to stab the therapist with his pen. Misplaced agression, I'm sure and I should probably go back. I think it can be a good thing and it has definitely helped a few people I know. I had no idea people make more $ after going to therapy. Makes sense. And, "Transparency doesn't require secret telling in my book," is a profound statement. I think that's very true! I think I just get frustrated keeping some things inside.

Nerd Girl,
My family didn't know I had a blog for the first 2 1/2 years of it's existence, so I think I wrote more freely about some things, but for the most part, I've tried to stick to things I wouldn't be embarrassed reading in front of my granny. I definitely do the posts where I'm not naming names but I'm going to tell you how much what you said annoyed the heck out of me. Maybe I'm more passive aggressive than I thought?

Haute in LA,
I know, there've been a couple of posts where my sister has called me up and been all, "Are you mad at me?" when I'm not. I guess all of us bloggers can choose to let our readers know what we want, but I think Claudia's comment brings up a good point -- what's the motivation behind it. And LOL about emailing the secrets! :)
I don't share family biz unless it's something relevant and material to an isue of the day or something cultural I want to cover. I NEVER show photos of children in the family.

I don't share intensely personal stuff which I know crazy folks would use to trash me. I don't mean silly physical stuff like "I have a small penis" (I don't--I've been told that for a light-skin-did brother mines fairly immense) or "I have an extra vertebra attached to my coccyx thus I have a small tale." (That's true).
An illustration would be if I wanted to blog on Terrie Williams' book on blacks and depression. I was treated for depression. It's personal, but also something on which i could give relevant insight. But say I'd been hospitalized for it, or I had a parent or sibling who was, or a child who committed suicide for depression--that's a tough call.
Jameil said…
I assume they do until told otherwise which is why I rarely post anything truly revelatory about my job and am very generic.
Haute in LA said…
Liz, just think of me as your therapist. LOL! And ITA re Claudia's comments, they were spot on, actually.

@ Christopher Chambers ---- you just took me so many places (I'll have to blog about pale men with small penises now. and it's not my secret, so I don't mind sharing with you all.) AND you made me LMAO @ visions of Jason Alexander's tail in "Shallow Hal" I replayed the 'reveal" scene so many times! "Women like tails though, b/c it seems like a puppy."
Liz Dwyer said…
Christopher Chambers,
I don't post too many photos -- I save most for my facebook account so my friends can see them, but some I can't resist -- although, one friend just had a creepy lady taking photos off her blog and claiming my friend's baby as her own. I have talked about my brother's suicide on here and some of his issues with addiction, but not the play by play of it all. And, uh, the small penis, I have heard that rumor but otherwise, I have no comment. However, Haute in LA's comment on that just made me DIE with laughter! Bwah hah hah hah!

I always assumed my old job did too. I've heard some companies have put in clauses saying workers cannot have a blog at all, even if they don't talk about work. That's a little extreme though.

Haute in LA,
There you go! Actually, I could use a good chat with the secretary at the school I used to teach at in Compton. She could listen to anything and set you straight in a heartbeat! And thank you for making me laugh uncontrollably over your response to Monsieur Chambers! I'll have to come read about that! :)
Ian Lidster said…
Sometimes we can get caught up in certain blog relationships and end up saying too much. I made that mistake in the past.
I know there are people I like very much here, like you for example, with whom I'd be comfortable sharing things of a more personal nature, but wouldn't want them there for all and sundry to see.
Let's face it, all that we know about anybody, including a sppuse or lover is what they want to share with us.
Anonymous said…
You know I don't think you should be sharing your business on your blog but since you do I like reading it!!!!
Lola Gets said…
I guess ones issue with sharing secrets would be determined by what ones definition of a secret was. As everyone knows, I dont have a problem writing about sex. To me, thats not a secret, everyone does it.

Now I hold off on writing about my feelings on my blog, because I know that there are folks out there who dont like me, and would use something like that against me, so I just keep it to myself. Kind of a shame, really. Especially right now, when Im going through some things and could definitely use a good "airing out."

Lydia said…

My blog is anonymous and I still can't bring myself to say everything I am thinking, doing or going through. lol (But Joy knows all of my secrets.)

Thanks for your message. I'm just fine, fine,fine, fine, fine, fine wooooo! (my MJB tribute)

Seriously, my family and I have been going through a very challenging time. Lots of changes, including moving out of their fathers' house and back home to my mama. I have been focused on moving forward and taking care of all of us spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

It has all been too much to blog about while I am in the thick of it, but the light is growing ever brighter and I will be emerging from the other side of the tunnel anytime now. Stronger and with more to share than ever!!

Again, thanks for checking on me!!
Take care.
Liz Dwyer said…
I agree with you. And it's true, even if you think you know someone, you probably don't. How many people saw that crazy child molester in Austria every day and didn't think twice about saying he was a nice old man?

Hah hah! You're funny! I think YOU should have a blog too! Spill all your secrets!!!:0

It's a shame that so many of us have to think about people using info against us, but I guess that's a very real sort of thing. It's surely happened before. But don't you worry that people will take your experiences/views on sex and use those against you? I remember you writing about that awful blogger meet-up where that one lady kept trying to put you down.

That's so interesting that yours is anonymous but you still don't tell it all. But I hear you, some things just can't be shared when you're in it. It's too close, too painful. Oh, my heart goes out to you because I know it is not easy. I'd like to say it'll never happen to me, but who knows what the future brings. I'm praying for you!
Anonymous said…
I'd happily listen to anything you needed to write or say. Period. Sometimes we all just need an ear. Feel free - no obligation.
Anonymous said…
I draw lots of lines determining what I'll say and not say. The key to good blogging is making it look like you're giving up all the goodies when you're only giving up some. However,when I'm really trying to be helpful I tell all.

I have a shrink and paying her for her undivided attention is a great investment. Everyone should have one. But I don't tell her everything because then she'll think I'm nuts!
Liz Dwyer said…
Aagh, just saw your comment! Thank you for the offer. I may take you up on it some day.

LOL! That is too funny! But don't you feel like you're holding back in a forum you're PAYING for? Then again, I might go and tell everything and find myself with one of those 24 hour holds... would not be good.

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