Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pain Blogging

There are certain things I blog about that I eventually end up deleting or hiding.  I'm always torn when I blog them, because there's a certain invasion of my privacy, and at the same time I'm aware I CHOSE to share, and that any intrusion is something I opened the door to.

Once upon a time, I could blog somewhat anonymously.  I used my screen name, and it was in no way associated with my real name.  I could say what I wanted... I could be 100% true... and only the few who knew me knew it was me writing.  I could Google my name and the only thing that would come up was a contest I won on Poetry.com about 7 years ago and a photo of me at one of my teaching positions on the school yearbook website.

Then came Google +, and suddenly my online ID was linked with my screen name. The name that was hidden on other sites was shown on Google +.  What's worse,  because of that link, I started showing up on search engines with both my online ID and my full name side by side.  I quickly deleted that Google + account, but the damage was done. You can't put the genie back into the bottle.

Now I have to constantly worry about what I post.  How will my posts about my experiences with a schizophrenic son effect his legal status?  If I post I'm stressed out because of my daughter's not helping around the house, will some future employer find it and think she's lazy or irresponsible?   When I talk about being sick, will it mean that any possibility of some part time work has been destroyed?

The internet is forever, and one slip can do you in.

On my health and fitness blog there are some graphic photos of me.  I have no head, and certain areas are covered with a graphic black out. The photos were "below the fold" on my blog, and the links protected with passwords.  Why were they posted?  Because I was having some medically necessary cosmetic procedures.  Skin removal post weight loss.  And when it was me thinking about the procedures, I wanted to understand and see real results, and went looking for such photos.  So when it was me, I wanted to be able to communicate the information to others like me going through the same thing.   But I used a program in my blog called "Linked In", and Linked In farmed the photos off my blog links, and put them on the bottom of my posts, so even the "hidden" pictures would show up after random blog entries on every page of my blog.  Now it's SUPPOSED to link to other posts and the photos, but I never thought hidden stuff would pop up.  Deleting the blog posts and deleting the pictures didn't help.  Apparently Linked In has some sort of memory, because those photos haunted me for ages. I'm not sure if they're still showing up despite being deleted, because I've changed my tags to try to prevent it.

Every time I logged into that blog I cringed a little, because I wasn't sure what photos would show up, and it seemed that photos of my breasts and abdomen came up with inordinate frequency.  And, of course, having had linked all my Google accounts through Google + that first time, THAT screen name also was linked to my real name.

And while I know I won't be posting photos of my breasts and abdomen again, there may come a time when I'll be posting other surgical results... but maybe a bit more carefully.  As for posting about my experiences in the mental health and legal systems with my kids, and for posting about poverty, homelessness and chronic illness?  I know myself well enough to know that I'll be posting about those things again... and again.

Recently I purged this blog of controversial posts (again).  I know that it's not going to help, because the posts I worry about are still out there, cached, or showing up in part in search engines, or are republished elsewhere (sometimes even with my permission).

I know it's not going to stop, and I'll continue to post things that are painful, things I'd rather forget, things I'd rather not say out loud, because silence gives power to the pain... because somewhere out there there are other mothers with schizophrenic children, other people living in extreme poverty, and there are policy makers I want to know, to want to have some idea of, what their policies are doing to those of us who don't have superpacs and lobbyists and the money influence elections and bend the ear of lawmakers.

There are times I regret deleting the stories of my experiences as much as I was pained by them being here.