11-5-10

I don’t post much here. It’s funny, I love to write, but I’m not very fond of blogging. Actually, to be entirely accurate, I’m not very fond of the reaction to my blogging. Specifically from family members.

I mean, I’m comfortable writing. The written word is a familiar and wonderful friend to me. It’s therapy and entertainment and music, all wrapped up in one. But because I’m so comfortable with it, and so comforted by it, I sometimes write out of turn. I vent about things that bother me, or I muse on things that make other people uncomfortable.

The end result is that I’ve had a couple (two, specifically) incidents with my blogs in the past — blogs I believed none of my family members knew about, blogs that were not in my name or connected to my social networks — where my family members (in-laws and immediate) had searched them out and my words basically created a bit of tension.

The first time, I just made all the offensive entries private and apologized to my family for offending them. My siblings are pretty cool, and it all blew over. That’s what I’m used to. I’m used to being able to discuss things openly and honestly, which was how my family was raised. I’m used to being able to say, “Okay, I didn’t mean to offend you and I’m sorry. Can we agree to disagree?”

I’m used to being called on it when I hurt somebody’s feelings, and having the right to call my family on it. I’m used to being able to call up maybe my sister or brother or parent and being able to talk out our disagreements. We don’t always get to it immediately, and I suspect part of the reason is because we’re trying to find the gentlest, most reasonable way of phrasing our complaint without creating more tension.
But that’s not why I stopped blogging. It was the second time, with a different topic and different bit of the family. I didn’t even realize they had my blog address; they had always seemed so disinterested in me that the fact they were following my blog was probably the biggest surprise of that episode. I was venting about something in particular, I forget what now, and managed to cause a significant amount of tension. When I realized what was happening, I made the offensive entry private (which I should have done to begin with), but someone had already cut & copied the text onto their private computer and was disseminating it to keep the issue alive.

Since then, I no longer feel comfortable writing on blogs. I try to remember to keep potentially inflammatory entries private, but the truth is, I’m just not used to editing myself. That wasn’t the atmosphere I grew up in, and it’s not the atmosphere I live in. And, unfortunately, I pretty much have to edit myself significantly around some family members.

My husband and I are left-leaning atheists who have a somewhat permissive parenting philosophy when compared to some of our other relations. It’s not hugely permissive, but it’s definitely not, “Here’s the rule, if you break it you get punished,” style. He has limits (8 pm bedtime, eat 3 bites of everything on your plate before leaving the table, do your homework and chores after school), and gets rewards when he does well. When he doesn’t, he loses privileges. Actually pretty common parenting style, from what I gather.

But many — actually, all — of our family members, on both sides, are right-leaning (and in one or two cases, hard-core tea-partiers) and church-going. And I don’t honestly think the basics of our parenting styles are that different, but it’s funny how uptight people can get at any perceived slight to their parenting style, even if it’s just that other people don’t do it your way.

I’m not immune to that, either. I notice slights to my parenting, little hints that people think I’m too permissive, or that I don’t love my family, or that I’m neglectful. I hear the subtle little insults and try to brush them off, because I know that the people who matter (my husband and my son) think I’m doing an awesome job. But it’s difficult, and believe me, there are pages and pages of therapeutic writing on my computer.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t blog often.  Because I’m afraid of once again, saying something that insults someone I love.  I don’t really care if a stranger takes issue with my words, because I don’t have to deal with a stranger on a weekly basis for the rest of my life. When a family member takes issue with my words, it basically comes down to me defending my position time after time and them thinking I hate them because I have different values and beliefs. It gets headachey and irritating and old, and it’s easier just to smile and nod and not make waves.

So then I try and think of topics I can blog about, because the entire point of this stupid blog is to keep family up-to-date on what we’re up to. But I don’t want it to be a place of tension or a cause of arguments, so I pretty much can’t talk about anything, since almost everything J and I value and practice in our lives is diametrically opposed to the values and practices of other family members.

I’m not exaggerating. Everything. From the way we look at parenting, god, war, and politics to the way we view video games, soda pop, and eating. Everything.

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One thought on “11-5-10

  1. Hey Sister!I just read your blog. I know it is challenging to open yourself up especially when people you are close to disagree on some pretty huge things. But I also think that it says a lot about us that we can still love each other despite our differences of opinion. It was nice to get a peek into your perspective. I like being able to understand others better, and communication usually tends to help in that area. I will call you soon. Love,me!

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