Friday, March 25, 2011

At My Own Risk

The other day in class my students, who are presently reading George Orwell's novel 1984, and I were discussing a video created by the ACLU which portrays a man calling to order a pizza. The man places the call only to realize that the person taking his order is privy to an alarming array of personal information. The video opens an interesting discussion with the teenagers as they compare the man's invasion of privacy to that of Winston Smith, the protagonist in Orwell's book. To view the video, click on this link:

Anyhow, as we talked, I thought of how just a few years ago I was very much opposed to the idea of my own privacy being invaded by the posting of pictures that were taken at a dinner my husband and I put on with his Drama Club teens at our home. Someone had snapped a picture of our upstairs bathroom, the “Rubber Ducky orange kids' bathroom” and posted the picture on Facebook. It is not that I was embarrassed as I'm rather pleased with how my children chose to decorate their bathroom years ago, but I was quite surprised when a student who was not at my home knew the details of how the bathroom was decorated!

Yet, here I am, just a few years later posting my own photos and status updates on Facebook, and composing memoir pieces here on my blog. What has changed? Quite simply, I have.

I have struggled between being cautious and being an open book my entire life. I understand the various boundaries of privacy and as an introvert I'm never so happy as when I am nestled in the solitude of the woods whether at home or at the lake. But wait a minute, I'm also never quite as free as when I am performing on stage for an audience. The conflict in self continues, but one thing is for sure, I have never been fond of secrets. I have been asked to keep secrets over my lifetime and although I can be trusted with them, they do nothing but eat at my soul. When I became an adult and started a family I started looking at the world anew. Teaching helped with my new perspective also. As I crossed over into my forties I began understanding that when a person chooses not to open themselves up to the world, the world makes their own conclusions about them, right or wrong. Privacy, at whatever level is to be preserved and protected; I believe in that strongly Mr. Orwell, and I will forever teach caution to my children and to my teens. I hear his words of warning and I believe in them. But as always, I suppose I want my own say in what I do, who I am, why I do the things I do, what I treasure most, and what I most want for myself and others. Of course, I also realize that actions speak louder than words. If what I do in my life doesn't measure up with what I say is important, then my words mean little.

So at the risk of “doing it all wrong”, of over sharing, being called a fool, or perhaps even horrifically yet unintentionally causing hurt, I continue to invite you in to this world of mine, this blog, this rubber ducky bathroom. I hope the act of putting myself out there does what I have always wanted, to provide a safe spot for others to land as they negotiate through the challenges of this world.

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