I am sure every person who has ever posted a photograph of their child on the Internet and finds out that someone other than the intended audience has viewed it feels close to the way I am feeling.
Kind of like you were caught showering with the bathroom window wide open and the neighbor guy cleaning his BBQ just happened to look up at the right time . . .
Right from the very beginning of this blog, way back in the dark ages when telephones still had rotary dials and car engines didn't start with the push of a button from a remote, I made the decision to use our real names. I quickly learned that it wasn't the wisest of choices to use our surname in my blog url, so I changed that.
But if you really wanted to know you could figure it out.
I made these decisions wholeheartedly and confident that nobody would read my drivel and that if they did, I'd bore them so much they wouldn't come back. And I was fine with this. I was fine with it because all I really wanted to do was to write.
And write I did.
And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more.
One day, Seattle Mom Blogs was born and I had the opportunity to write a "column" for the site. It was a no-brainer. "Yes, pick me!" I shouted - emailed - to the amazing women (Jenny, Kathryn and Eve) in charge. And they shouted - emailed - me back and said, "Come on down Carrie, you've just won forty toasters!" That's how Kids and The City was born.
And I got to create my online profile, my identity as a writer for someone other than myself. So, naturally, I went with my real name. I mean, if someone really did want to read something I'd written, how were they going to find me if I went by Carrie Coconut?
Turns out, I ended up using my real name, not Carrie Coconut, for the pieces I've published in our local paper as well. I think it's better this way. This way, my 7th grade English teacher can laugh when she reads that I am in charge of 3 children of my own and not living the life of a Hawaiian Tropic model (because that was always my dream...I kid).
Years went by. I wrote, mostly about mothering, and I shared, mostly about mothering. I also posted pictures of my children, because they are the reasons I am a mother in the first place. I was careful not to announce when we were going out of town, or to post the front of our home or the street on which we live. I did not wave a flag in anyone's face saying, "Here we are, come and get us," nor did I hide behind a fictitious name (not that I have a problem with anyone who chooses to do this, it is just not for me).
And I was fine with it. I was.
Until last week when the you-know-what hit the fan.
After some careful thought, I am almost 100% sure that I know how I feel about the whole thing, which is the never ending debate amongst mommybloggers: How much do you share on your blog and do you post photographs of your children?
In other words, how much do you censor your life and how much do you share?
For me, what it boils down to is this, I am comfortable here. Even with my limited knowledge of how this informational superhighway works, I am okay with the fact that there are some links to photographs within my blog coming from google search pages for Bret Michaels. I still get hits from people looking to make Easter Bunny Meth no matter how many times I've made it crystal clear that I know absolutely nothing about the product or the process. A weird search will pop up here and there and you know what? Those people spend 0.0 minutes on my site.
Those people are not my readers.
Those people don't care about what I write.
Those people aren't going to scare me.
I have more information on who visits this blog than I do the other patrons at the grocery store who can see me interact with my children in real life and could follow me to my car if they wanted (although the chances of that happening are slim to none since I carry with me a huge rottweiler in my purse). I know more about the people who come here than I do some of the people on the next cul-de-sac.
So this is how it is, and this is how it shall be. I'll keep on writing if you'll keep on reading. I will not write things that I wouldn't share with you in real life and I'll try not to embarrass my children without their permission, unless they're being especially naughty. I'll even post the occasional photo of my loved ones, because I love them and I happen to think they are the cutest people on the planet. But there never was, nor will there ever be bathtub photos of my kids.
However, if you want to photoshop my head onto Angelina Jolie's body, go ahead. I won't be offended.