Hejira
upon looking back, a stupid decision
May 21. 2000

My parents read my online journal.

More my Dad than my Mom, I think. It's really fucking crazy, come to think of it. I brought up the subject of parents reading journals on the On Display mailing list several months ago. And, at least among those 40 people, I found I was a bit of an anomaly. Back then, I was proud of this fact, that I could be so open and comfortable with my parents.

Now I'm really beginning to regret it.

Thanks to his blueberry iMac on his desk at school, my Dad comes home every day with a reaction to that day's journal entry. Sometimes it's good. He really loved the entry I wrote about Nana and the lost front porches a couple days ago. He put his arm around me and told me how good it was and how proud he was of me. And I admit, that felt good. But for every bit of praise, there's something he takes issue with. You know, I complain in here about how lazy I am and what a lump I've become. Then, when he tries to get me to go to the gym, he says, "Well, you said yourself needed to start going. In your journal." Things like this have happened several times.

I wish he wouldn't do this. But knowing him, I should have realized he would. That's the type of person he is. I know he thinks he's helping me, and his intentions are good, but it just ends up being annoying and feeling like an invasion of privacy. I know, I know. I'm putting this on the web. It's public domain, anyone can read it and comment on it as they wish. But it's different when the person who reads it clothes, feeds and shelters you, not to mention paying for your college education. Of course, this problem will be of little or no consequence in about 3 years or so, when I finish college, and am essentially "cut loose" from them.

It's not only his reactions that bothers me. I'm censoring myself because I know he's reading. There have been things I wanted to say here that, because he reads it, I won't or can't. I'm debating whether I should even put this entry on the web, because I know he's going to come home and have some sort of reaction (I would guess negative) to it. I hate censoring myself like this. I think this journal would be so much better if I could just open myself up more. It's strange that I wouldn't mind doing this to a webful of strangers, but I am downright squeamish when it comes to someone I live with and see every day.

I'm trying to figure out why I decided to tell them about this site. I think it was mostly because of two things. a) I consider this an ongoing work of art, and I know my parents are interested in my work, so I want them to see it, and b) I've always been really open with my parents. Being open like I am was not a problem until I went to college this year. Suddenly, there were things I didn't want to tell them about my life. And that was a strange feeling. It almost felt like I was lying to them by deliberatly not telling them everything that was on my mind at that particular moment. It's quite an adjustment.

So I don't see any painless way to do away with this problem. I could say "fuck it" and just say whatever I want here and then bear the brunt of whatever he decides to throw at me. Or I could shut down this site, move it to another location, and use a pseudonym. But that wouldn't be fair to the who read this site, and I had a great aversion to journallers who use pseudonyms. I don't want to have to resort to that myself.

So...blah blah. Consider this my barbaric yawp.

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