Is There Such a Thing as Privacy in Blogworld?

A close family member found my blog the other day. It’s my own fault. I have a link in my email signature—since I’m such a publicity whore it seemed like an easy way to let people know about WtEB. In the two months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve scrupulously deleted that link in emails to all family members with the exception of S, my husband, and G, my previously-mentioned youngest, highly trustworthy, brother and computer consultant.

Until I forgot. Once.

This particular family member was so excited to read my words, and so proud of me for doing it, that at first I thought it might not be such a bad thing. There was pleasure to be had in remembering family recipes with this person’s assistance. But within hours I was feeling a little uncomfortable—after all, much of what I’ve written here are highly personal, highly subjective memories about food and my childhood. I may have facts wrong—in fact, I probably do. I was a child, after all, and memories are by their nature watery. And then there are the mentions of certain behaviors of mine as an adult, things of which I am none too proud but that I felt were a necessary part of my story. Things most of my family doesn’t know about, nor do they need to know.

I spoke to this person about my discomfort, and was assured that the bookmark would be deleted and my blog could continue without monitoring by blood relatives. “You know you can trust me,” I was told. That trust lasted all of a day, maybe two. Now I receive regular emails in response to new posts, innocuous enough but disturbing to me nonetheless. I feel like a junior high school student whose diary has been cracked open. I feel exposed, and vulnerable.

It goes without saying that since I’m writing a blog, intended to be read by as many people as possible, that I’m being slightly hypocritical here. Why should I feel more comfortable telling my stories to cyberstrangers than I do to my own family? I can’t explain it, but the “anonymity” of a blog, much like the anonymity of a published book, is seductive and irrefutable. So I’m unnerved by the specter of a relative perched on my shoulder as I type. I fear that I’ll begin to censor myself because I don’t want to hurt my family by publishing my version of the truth—truth being, like memory, a subjective thing where childhoods and family are concerned.

Other bloggers reading this: How have you dealt with such things? I realize that with food blogs, it isn’t so often an issue, but surely someone has some advice to offer…

And to my family member: If you’re going to continue to read Words to Eat By, at least respect me enough to pretend you’re not.