Have you come out yet?

Image: NinjaM/Flickr
I’ve kept a secret from my family this past year. I’ve dodged issues, given vague answers to direct questions, and steered conversations in different directions when it looked like I might be exposed.

My family doesn’t know about this blog.

They know (obviously) that I’m a journalist. But my journalism is what my Mum calls “grown up”. This is Mum-speak for “a bit boring”.

I love my job, but I hardly think any of my relatives are waiting with baited breath for that thrilling feature about how warehouse management software can optimise the supply chain. So they don’t ask questions about my writing, and they’re used to me taking business trips, so haven’t questioned any of the trips Flea and I have taken in recent months.

Then my brother added me as a friend on Facebook.

My blog is linked to my Facebook profile. If I’m friends with my brother, he’ll see my blog posts in his news feed. He might visit this blog. He might read it. I don’t know exactly why, but the thought makes my blood run cold. Maybe it’s the post I wrote about sex toys. Or the one about being adopted. Or the one about what song was playing when I first, you know. Oh God, he might find my Twitter feed. That would be bad.

It’s not as though I’m blogging in detail about my sex life. And I don’t blog about my family, as a matter of policy. It’s not as though my family don’t know I got divorced, or had a child. On a factual level, 90% of what’s on this blog wouldn’t be news to anyone in my family. So why do I cringe at the thought of them reading about it?

I’ve thought about it for the past week or so – which is roughly how long I’ve been dithering about what to do with my brother on Facebook. On the one hand, I just don’t want my family reading. On the other hand, turning down a friendship request from your sibling just seems rude, doesn’t it?

For me, I think part of the reason is that the “me” I am with my family is a completely different person to the “me” I am with friends, or colleagues, or online friends. Maybe it’s a youngest child thing; but to my family I’ve always been the slightly less responsible, less sorted, more volatile member of the family. Or maybe it’s just that I moved away from home at 18 and I’m used to being able to choose what details of my life I share with my family.

I can’t help wondering whether, if my family were to start reading what I write here, would I write differently? I don’t know if I’d write a post about being adopted knowing my Mum might read it. Or if I’d write a post about dating, knowing my big brother might see it.

How do you deal with the family/blog issue? Do your parents, siblings and friends know you blog? And do you edit what you write accordingly?

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