My life for the past few years has been a tale of the carefully redacted. There are those who share all and damn anyone who doesn’t want to be written about – and I get that. It’s your life too, get it out there. But something I said years ago has really stuck with me.
The private lives of proper nouns.
The privacy part, it’s important to provide that to your proper nouns. Not so much the cats. Or K’s long dead beta. But those human proper nouns whose lives could be touched by what they or others read online. So I don’t tell some of the stories. My victories. My defeats. The funny interactions. And it means a big part of my story goes untold. Sure I could change the names to protect the innocent but that doesn’t go far.
As the mother of an infant, a toddler, a pre-schooler, a child in elementary school I had so many stories. Grand tales about new experiences, words, revelations, highs and lows, new lives. They weren’t all my child’s. Many were experiences we shared together. Some were just mine. Others shared by many. But the stories about her when she was little, those were mine to tell at that age otherwise they would have been forgotten. Even now she doesn’t recall the epic Chia Pet debacle of 07. Now? Well we’ve reached the age of storytelling consent. I don’t share her life, her revelations, her stories – embarrassing or otherwise – without checking in with her first. Every tale I tell or photo I post involving her here, on facebook, on twitter, or instagram I’ve received consent. I’ve asked to make sure she’s comfortable with whatever corner of the world may stumble across my words or images sharing in the ongoing story of her life.
But what about the hard times? The days and nights, or even weeks or months, when things are just too difficult and it starts to take its toll. Where I am weighed down by the heaviness of her tales or the tales of other proper nouns and I long to work out those thoughts in story. To tell the tale of a single working mother, who although she has all sorts of privilege in this world, still struggles day to day to make all the pieces fit together.
As the mother of a nearly teen I have a new story: I have a kid. We do stuff. Sometimes there are issues. And then we have chocolate.
It’s either that or something that reads like a CIA report marred with black lines through 90% of the text. For now I’ll take the chocolate.