If any of you have any experience with this, I would love to hear about it in comments.
Many of you have probably noticed that I have been blogging less and less of late. This due to a number of factors, as such things usually are. Perhaps the greatest concern I have, though, is privacy.
I started this blog as my own little corner of the web world. Through it, I've both "met" and met some very cool people. I've found other blogs which have encouraged me and made me think, I've had some discussions which have challenged and helped me clarify my own beliefs, and I've had an audience which reads when I write about life, the universe, cooking, and everything.
This blog has a lot of hats. It has a hat which leads me to write about very serious matters: where our country is going, religious freedom, my faith, music, books, abortion, birth control. It has another hat under which I write about crafts, sewing, knitting, my store. It has still another hat under which I write about recovering from dysfunction. And, finally, there is that hat under which I write about food, because food, I am convinced, is the glue that binds us all together in a glorious web of humanity and caritas and home.
I share little things about my life, whether about things I've learned, things I want to learn, amusing stories, anecdotes, rants about politics. I've put some wedding pictures on here, partly to help other brides get ideas, and partly because, well, I love my husband and my marriage and for a long time I thought it very possible that I would never say "my husband" or "my marriage;" I was single, even happily so, but I just wasn't sure that there was someone out there for me, and had even pretty much come to peace with it. Then we met, and dated, and got engaged, and got married, and it was and still is magical and wonderful.
Sure, I knew that there are a lot of weirdos out there. I mean, it's the internet. There really are all different types, and some of them are very, well, different. I'm sure any conscientious blogger has had to think about the "weirdo" factor when she writes. I did, but I did so very differently until it happened to me.
Let me ask you something, fellow bloggers, especially those who share a lot about their lives and families on the Internet. Cam, Tiffany, Allison, though anyone can (and should! please do!) chime in: have any of you had the experience of realizing that someone very, very creepy was reading your blog and has a lot of information about you they got from a well-meaning family friend? Someone who you'd never met, and who wouldn't harm you, exactly, but who, because of the whole reads-your-blog-AND-knows-about-you-in-real-life-but-doesn't-know-YOU-in-real-life-thing, knows so much more than you would be comfortable with such a person knowing? Almost like a stalker, but without the possibility of physical danger? (Don't ask me how I know this last, as it would require too much background and specificity, but I do, and it's certain, so don't worry.)
Because it seems I do. And now I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do about it.
It seems rather naïve of me now to think that I once looked forward to typing pregnancy announcements here, and perhaps chronicling what our kids were up to. I've gotten so much inspiration from Catholic mommy blogs. Now...when that blessed event happens, I'm not sure I even want to mention it here, much less ever put up pictures of our children, even under pseudonyms. I don't want to post pictures of rooms I've redecorated or renovated. I don't want to talk about possible (or actual) trips. I don't want to even write up funny stories about us. Why? Because I suppose I see information as power, and I do not want this person to have that kind of power over me. I don't want this person to know if I'm pregnant or if we have children or what they look like. I don't want this person to know what my house looks like. I don't want this person to get snapshots of our marriage from some of our funny talks.
I'm angry. I think it's very possible that if I keep this blog up, I will need to take one of several possible steps to feel safe in my own "space." I am furious that I feel driven into this corner, but I recognize that this is something that most bloggers have had to think about from time to time, and that I'm hardly the first. Perhaps I could compare it to a woman who leaves her house every day: sure, she knows that there are creepy people out there, but while she can't and won't let them keep her from leaving her house, she also needs to use common sense to stay safe, and she's more likely to be much more careful about such things if she knows that someone in particular has been following her.
I could leave the blog up and public, but not write anything at all personal in the future. Nothing. Nothing about the house, us, our future children...nothing. I'd focus on more of the history/faith/cooking/crafts things, but post nothing more personal than "this recipe was delicious." But I would like the opportunity to be able to squeal over the more "girly" stuff via the Internet with other bloggers in addition to people I see in "real" life.
I could take the blog private, so that some readers and commenters who have been long-time readers and commenters could still read it. Of course, that means no new readers, and that the community which reads it will be, of necessity, both small and inevitably, eventually, shrinking. And it would mean that the pieces on which I particularly like feedback, such as the ones about history or our future, would have less. On the other hand, I would feel safe to write about the personal things that I enjoy putting on here.
Another option, of course, is to start another private blog about those more personal things, but I don't see that as quite feasible. I've more than enough trouble keeping up with this blog without adding another one to the mix, and, at that, one which will have almost no commenters!
I look at your blogs, and think about how much I'd like to be able to talk about some of those things that you do: kids, houses, family. Perhaps I'm being too paranoid, and this decision does not need to be made right this moment, of course. For that matter, it needn't be a permanent one. But I cannot, right now, feel at all comfortable with such a person knowing such things about me.
I don't want to make a decision out of fear and dread, but I don't want to ignore my gut, either.
For the moment, my solution is to go read another one of the Rumpole books (which I just started reading, and which I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys sly British humor and mysteries) and have some chips and salsa. Yum. For the future of the blog...who knows? I'm inclined towards the write-nothing-personal-keep-it-public option for now, but I'm open to suggestions.