When I was a little kid, I shared a room with my brother. I’m pretty sure it’s the law that twins have to share a room for the first few years of life. After I got my own room, I still spent most nights in my old twin bed in my brother’s room. It was much more fun to lay in there talking late than be in my own room, alone. My brother and I would stare at the ceiling and make up stories. Whenever we’d get stumped on what to do with our characters I’d say, “Come ON, Kyle. You’re the writer!”
My brother (and Mike, for that matter) were both screenwriting majors in college, which means they watched movies all day and made up stories all night and got graded on it. I, on the other hand, majored in “what’s gonna get me outta here the fastest,” (Communication) (in three and a half years). Which is all well and good, but now my brother and Mike get paid to write, and I’m not getting paid to communicate, so clearly I did it wrong.
When I meet new people, one of the typical questions I’m asked is what I do for a living. I always say I’m a mom, but the rest of my answer depends on who is asking. If I am going to be seeing someone more than once (like a physical therapist, for example) it’s sometimes nice to have a little bit of space. So, the general answer I give is “writer.” Inevitably this leads to the question, “what kind of writing?” I suppose I could say, “I write a blog on the internet, about sad stuff and my adventures with menstruation.” But when I want that space, I say “oh, parenting topics,” or when I want to be confusing I say, “non-fiction.” I love watching people’s faces after I say that one.
Why am I vague? Because I don’t always want to invite people to look into my life. I know it seems weird since countless strangers do it online every day. But when I have to deal with someone on a regular in-person basis, I feel like I have to protect myself. I don’t always want to be labeled as the mother with the dead child. It’s sometimes nice to escape my reality for a little while. One of the times I went to Labor and Delivery during Annabel’s pregnancy, a nurse came into my room after I’d been there about an hour and said, “Oh my gosh, I just googled you and found your blog! I am soooo sorry about your daughter.” And while that was nice, everything changed after that. Lots of hushed discussion at the door and sad clown faces.
At least that nurse told me what she did. I think I prefer that to the people who google but say nothing.
I am absolutely not ashamed of my blog. In fact, I am exceedingly proud of it. But I definitely strike a careful balance with half truths and omissions. Is it worth it? I think it is….most of the time.
It’s funny how online, I tell real stories, and in real life, I make up stories. I guess I really am a writer.