When it comes to writing my column, there aren’t many lines I won’t cross. But, I’ve discovered, just because I’m willing to share details of my personal life, doesn’t mean that my partners, friends and family are.
Sometimes this is a non-issue simply because many of the concerned parties don’t live in Napa and therefore do not get the print edition of the newspaper. The problem is that I share the link to my column on Facebook.
I have thought about this in the past and have, at times, censored myself or written an entirely different column than I intended. One friend (now former friend) and an on-and-off boyfriend have taken issue with being alluded to. And, I’m sure, if my parents – who are not my friends on Facebook – ever read my column, they might not always be happy about what I say.
The concern recently came up a few weeks ago when I saw (on Facebook) that my ex-husband had proposed to his pregnant girlfriend. First I felt a pang. Then relief. Then joy.
Then I wrote a lovely would-be column about how happy I am for him.
He and I aren’t friends on Facebook or, I suppose, in real life either. We have enough mutual friends, though, that there was a pretty big chance he would see it and maybe even read it. Which would be fine, right? I mean I am saying that I’m happy for him after all. But here’s the thing: If I write this column, will it disrupt his life? Will he feel the need to reach out to me? Will his fiancé think it’s weird?
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Then I faced another question: Why am I writing this? Why would Napa readers want to read it?
It all seemed so murky that I ditched that one.
Having a column is sort of like having a superpower. I have a voice, I have an outlet and, every two weeks, I get to stand on my soapbox. However, as Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben said: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
So, who am I responsible to? Who wins out? The readers or the people close to me? How much will I censor myself to save a relationship? Is that relationship worth saving?
These are questions I grapple with. But, as more people come into my life post-columnist, I hope they will understand that if they’re going to be in my life, they might be written about.