Site Meter Elsie's Space: Getting Personal
Location: New England, United States

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Getting Personal

I've been thinking about this blogging thing. Some of you might know that this blog is number three for me. The other two went to alphabet heaven by way of the delete key, and I'm thinking about sending this one there, too. Here's why.

I feel like a big, fat fraud. I spent the other day looking over my previous posts, something I probably should have done sooner, and all I could think was "this isn't even a glimpse into the real me." I hold a lot back. When I looked at all the posts that I had saved as drafts, I couldn't believe it. There were more drafts than actual posts. Rather than dwell on that, I simply deleted all the drafts. Then I got to thinking some more. Why didn't I put them out there? So now I've been thinking about this for the better part of a week. There are only two conclusions I come to. One, I don't want people, even those I don't really know, to think badly of me (and how stupid is that?). And two, what would my kids think if they somehow stumbled upon this blog?

I think that part of what's got me going is that my son, who just started junior high, has been asking me lots of questions about girls, sex, and drugs. I never considered, twenty years ago, that my behavior would come back to bite me. So, when he asks what I feel are difficult questions, I'm left to either flat out lie to him or to omit the truth. And I'm right back to being a fraud. And I think about "what the neighbors would say" if they knew the truth. Would they even let their kids play with mine? It's like I reinvented myself when I became a mom, and if the truth came out... I shudder to think what the ramifications would be. Now I realize full well that everyone has a past and that our pasts, in part, shape who we are today. I just wish that mine wasn't so "colorful" (that's how I've chosen to think of it over the years). I sure did have what I thought was a lot of fun, but now I regret so much of it. I did things that I hope my kids never even consider doing. I try to reconcile it in my own head, but I worry. There's nothing I can do to change what I've done. I try to set a good example now.

And then there's now. Even now, I feel I can't say most of what I'm thinking. Some of it is just the sheer humiliation factor. For instance, on Liz's blog, there was a discussion about bras. How do I chime in? Do I say, "underwire, what's that for?" Nope. It's what I probably should have said. But instead, I delete the draft of the post I never published where I go on and on about sister asking me if I was wearing a bra or not (not), and that she couldn't believe that at my age and after having two kids that my boobs are still "so perky." If I could get past the fact that the reason they're so perky is because there's really not much to become droopy, perhaps I could have accepted that compliment and had fun with that post. Nope. Not me. I become all self-conscious and uncomfortable. Just like I am right now.

So here I am today, the good wife and mother. And there I was, just yesterday, the slutty young druggie. I'm still waiting for something to catch up with me. Someday, somewhere, I just know that someone's going to point at me and scream, "pants on fire!" Just a big, fat fraud. And always a mom.


Anonymous Winston said...

Woah... Hold on there a minute. Elsie, there are a couple of basic facts of life that you know already, but are trying your best to ignore, for whatever reason.

1. Most of us... bloggers, non-bloggers, neighbors, relatives, people across the country that never heard of us and never will... did things in our younger days that we are not proud of, or even ashamed of today. You are certainly not unique in that.

2. Your kids have or will do things that you did, plus a whole lot more that you never even thought of, and would not have done if you had received an order and written instructions. That is the nature of growing up in today's world. Innocence is dead, so quit trying to find it.

Your posts have a uniquely soft and gentle feel to them. This is always a good place to come when needing a soft, warm fuzzy. You do give us glimpses of who you are. How much of what you've done in the past you decide to show is up to you and nobody else's business if you decide to keep it under wraps.

If you truly cannot deal with the internal struggle you're having, then by all means, drop it. Give it a little time, then come back under a different name with a different identity. You might be amazed and shocked at how many bloggers are using pen-names or pseudonyms.

Your efforts here must satisfy only one person - YOU.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh, Elsie, i don't know where to begin. I should be logical like Winston but i'll just rabbit as the thought hits me.

First of all I love your blog and I think - no, I feel sure - i would love you too.

You are a good wife and mother - even you admit that - and that is most important. What you are here and now to those who matter to you is what counts.

Like Winston says, we've all done things in our past - for me there's quite a bit in the recent past that I wouldn't want anyone to know about, let alone in the years past.

I think honestly is the best way to answer your children's questions. A mom who can own up and has learned from her mistakes is going to teach a youngster far more than one who's never made a mistake - as if there is anyone!

We all choose what we write on our own blogs. I exaggerate to make a good story; I omit what makes me look bad (not stupid - I don't mind looking stupid, in fact it's my hallmark!); I blend fact with a little bit of fiction when it makes a better tale. This is the delight of blogging but you should only do it if you want to and it makes you feel good. You definitely shouldn't feel guilty because you haven't told us what a 'slutty druggy' you were!

we know you as you are today - the way your children know you.

I would love to have small perky boobs not the huge droopy things I have!!!

I really hope you keep on blogging.

And let him who is without sin throw the first stone. I think you'd find a lot of people would be shielding you.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack in Paris said...

Are you talking yourself into a crisis? You needn't you know.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elsie, I suspect none of us are completely honest in all our postings. By that I mean - sins of omission, not sins of commission. There are things I avoid for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that family members and old friends read my blog.

Though many folks use blogging as an alternative to keeping a diary, I don't really do that. Anything intensely personal goes in my journal (though I'm not a very good journaler, either) - more often than not, I write it down and end up tearing it up and throwing it away.

My point is that more honesty than you know shows through your blog. You are not alone in creating posts that don't make it to the blog. Something's keeping us from hitting the "publish" key, but that's not necessarily bad or dishonest.

I'm rambling - it's early! - but I certainly echo Winston and Liz. Some days you'll hit "publish" and some days you won't. We're just glad you do once in a while!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Winston, thanks for your encouragement, as usual. I certainly hope that my kids won't do "a whole lot more than I never even thought of." That's a scary thought! It's especially scary when you consider how much more dangerous (or at least we understand it to be) sex is nowadays. I'm one lucky woman when it comes to that. Back in my wild days, we didn't know about hiv. And when we finally learned about it, we thought it was only gay men. That counted me out. How lucky am I that what I didn't know didn't kill me. How lucky I am that the drugs didn't get me either.

Liz, I'd really like to be honest with my kids all the time, but I just don't think I can be right now. Maybe when they're older, but I don't think my son would understand at age eleven. If it were simply that mom smoked a little weed, I could probably handle that. When it comes down to what really happened, I'm just not sure. So, instead, I tell him things like "Children shouldn't ever do drugs because your brain is still forming very important connections. You have to give yourself time to let your brain become all it can be." And when it comes to sex, when he asked if Bob was the only man I'd ever been with, I know I must have looked shocked by the question. He then answered it himself, saying "Oh, that's right, you were married to that other guy." I, of course, nodded my agreement. Yes, Dad and the other guy. Left it at that. Not a blatant lie, but not the truth either. I think I'm going to see what conversations develop as he gets older. And, certainly if I ever see him taking that same wrong path, I will give him the benefit of my experience.

Dear Jack, I've thought about your comment a lot. I thought I was avoiding a crisis but, perhaps in my warped thinking, I am, in fact, creating one. I'm going to once again "try to let it go." Are you sure we've never met?

Mary, you've mentioned a journal before. I really should seriously consider that. I have some items in my home under lock and key, for safety reasons, and there's no reason to not keep my thoughts there. Fortunately, my husband knows all about my sordid past and loves me anyway, so I don't need to worry about him at all. And thanks for not making me feel too weird about writing all those drafts but never doing anything with them. Nice to know I'm not alone in that!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Elsie, it sounds to me like you're doing fine answering your children's questions. You know how much they can deal with or understand, and avoiding complete honesty while not exactly lying is an old trick of parents!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Elsie, be as honest as you can be with your children - on the other hand, do they have to know everything? ;-) Get them through the teen years and into adulthood as best you can. Tell what you have to, but don't worry about holding some things back. Parenthood is full of landmines, and Lord knows, I blew myself to smithereens a couple of times, but Kate and I came out just fine in the end. Now that she's 23, I can reveal things to her that I would've never told her before (though I don't have that much stuff in my past - still, there are things I'm not proud of). Pace yourself, girlfriend. ;-)

10:51 AM  

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