My father-in-law, who is a mechanical engineer and who is more than a little bit computer and internet-savvy, recently expressed his concern. I can’t quote him exactly, because he expressed the concern to his son Mark instead of to me. And getting a phone message through Mark is like being on the end of a long line of participants in a game of “telephone.”
You get the idea that there was a message, but could it really have been that “The chicken’s underwear are blue with joy?”
So I don’t have the exact words, but it boiled down to this, “What if Kris regrets putting something out there on her blog? Is there a way for her to take it back?”
You can’t possibly know how hilarious I find this. Literally tears streaming down my face when Mark told me. So fucking funny.
The internet is a “no backsies” kind of place.
And besides, I don’t want to take anything back. Nothing.
I said at the beginning of this thing that if the best thing that came out of this blog was that the girls got a huge, rambling, curse-filled account of the time, “Our family tossed everything in our lives up in the air and moved to Oregon,” that would be an awesome thing.
Anything more? Icing on the cake, people. And by icing, I mean all of you who have stopped by today and every day to read this. I love each and every one of your icing-covered asses.
So no, I don’t want to take anything back. I am 44 years old, and I am long past the part of my life where I gave a shit about people being unpleasantly surprised that my head is filled with cursing. Or that my childhood sucked. Or that I sometimes find my children and my husband to be monumentally annoying. Long past it.
My children will someday become aware that I didn’t always think the world of them. But if they read on, they will also know that I love and have always loved them with a passion that is universe-big. Nobody’s perfect.
Yes, I have written about my family. I have told the girls I am writing a grown-up column about my life, and that they are a part of my life. So far, they could not care less. Most of what I write about them is more about me anyway. More about me and my efforts to mother them as best I can. If the girls ever do care, I will give them pseudonyms and we’ll all fake move to Alaska.
So if I ever start writing about Clarice and Bessie training the sled dogs, you’ll know what’s up.
And stuff that is so personal to me or to my family that I would get my feelings hurt by the wrong reaction?
I’m not sharing that stuff. Duh. What am I . . . stupid?
But anything I can laugh about? You can have it.
I don’t want to take anything back. Fuck it.
But there was a time when an eleven-year-old me anguished over the inability to take back my written words. And I still hate the woman who made me regret sharing. I still hate her on behalf of the vulnerable idiot child I was. Sigh.
She was my 6th grade English teacher. The assignment? To keep a journal.
It was an ongoing assignment, and we had to turn in our journals every two weeks for grading. At first, my journal was filled with inane stories about what we had eaten for dinner and how long it had taken me to get my homework done and how I wanted a poster of Shaun Cassidy (Hardy Boy with fluffy feathered hair . . . so dreamy).
But after a while, I started to write about actual stuff . . . my fear of my father, my anguish at our poverty, my loneliness, my friendlessness, my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and my sorrow.
All in my very best penmanship.
And my teacher ate it up. My journal would come back filled with red markings of encouragement and praise. I felt successful and appreciated in a way I had never experienced before. She had promised she would keep everything we wrote in complete confidence, so I went deeper and I shared more.
And she ate that shit up.
I filled hundreds of pages.
I started to think that my reader and I had made a real connection. I started to refer to my reader as my friend in my journal entries. Not like I thought my English teacher and I were going to hang out after school and go for ice cream. I was not an imbecile.
But I did feel love for her, and I thanked her several times in my journal for seeing my value, for appreciating my abilities, for keeping my confidences, and for being my friend.
And then she called my mom.
Called my fucking mom.
Called my mom in for a conference and tried to share her concern that I was misinterpreting the teacher/student relationship. Expressed concern that I was a deeply troubled child. Suggested that my mom read my journals.
My mom did many things wrong during my childhood, but this one she got right.
She grabbed my journals from my teacher’s hands, called my teacher a bitch, and informed her that she had just betrayed the trust of a student who loved and believed in her.
My mom gave me back my journals, unread. She told me that if I was going to be a writer, I had to be careful with my sharing. To never assume that my intended audience was my only audience.
Valuable advice that has served me well over the years.
And now, at 44, with my sense of humor (if not my sanity) happily intact?
I don’t want to take anything back.