There were one or two very Good Men that I lost by spread eagling myself on the a blog. I said what so many bloggers say. “The right person will understand and support my writing.” Not so oddly enough, that guy never seemed to appear. I had met a lot of men during this time. Most punched out the minute they were discussed on my blog. I had actually deluded myself into believing that they either would never read it or, get this, be flattered. The ones that did get a vicarious thrill from being mentioned on a popular blog stayed around far longer than they should, compounding my dependency on oversharing.
I’ve been meaning to address this for awhile, even though I write about relationships, dating, single life and all manner of personal topics…and I also wouldn’t classify myself as a dating blogger. (Maybe I’m deluding myself there.)
In case it matters, I’ve been keeping a journal since 1992. (No, I won’t tell you where I keep it.) I highly recommend keeping a journal, especially for folks who want to express their angst, displeasure or generally NSFW ideas somewhere where Google can’t keep it against your will. I put all of my errant, private, not-for-public-consumption thoughts there. This is particularly useful in an age when everyone can say whatever they want on social media but even if you delete it, the Library of Congress might be archiving it.
I write about relationships that have happened in the distant past, as I did recently at GOOD. I don’t name names. A writer once said all writers sell out their friends and lovers, but I don’t write to settle scores. I simply can’t not write — so I try to find ways to continue with my writing habit.
I thought of this when a writer I admire suggested it would be important to create boundaries for myself, in terms of topics I should and maybe shouldn’t write about. She was not aware that I’ve been writing deeply personal stories about my life since I was 19 years old. That ended up being a good thing, because it made me think about how to write about something as personal as living a happy single life without spread eagling myself and my soul all over the Internets.
So, in the interest of clarifying for myself and for my potential paramours and for my wonderful followers, I have crafted a kind of manifesto. It essentially is an old phrase — do no harm. In my attempt to write authentically about the odd ways our culture alienates a growing segment of the population for living alone or living adventurous single lives, I will not write about relationships in progress. Something must be sacred, and as a spiritual person, my evolving religious beliefs are too close to the core of my existence — so none of that, either.
I wonder what others who write about relationships or personal stuff think about the idea of oversharing — the best writing, after all, cuts close to the bone. You can’t get there from withholding.