Did you ever think you'd live to see the day when "'Excuse Me, Margie'" would self-edit? Neither did I.
Actually, that's not true. I've been self-editing for, well, forever.
I used to long for the moment when I could be completely honest with my thoughts, my writings.
But in the beginning it was a diary.
And then it was computers.
And special diary software.
And then a PDA.
And then the internet.
But all of these options have flaws: they are not secure. Despite what you think, even using an alias, it's always traceable.
I read long ago, "if you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it." That holds true for simply writing it.
Because somewhere, somehow, someday if you've written it those you love will read it or hear that you've written it.
And so I've always been careful, always self-editing, because even though I have this tremendous need to share my thoughts and to get things off my chest and to think out loud (on paper) and organize my thoughts in writing I cannot shake that in the back of my mind my mother, my sister, my husband, my children, my loved ones may one day come upon something I've written and be hurt by it.
And the potential pain for them is not worth the freedom for me.
I remember once I spent the night at my cousin's house. She lived about 90 minutes from me and it was a treat to visit her on weekends or special occasions. During the week, however, we would write letters to each other. I've always loved writing. And I've always written just the way I speak. It's like "being there". I also always kept a diary.
My cousin, on the other hand, struggled with writing letters. She'd write one pagers and I'd write volumes. She once complimented my ability to write and express feelings just as if I were standing next to her. I encouraged her to try keeping a diary.
But one night I'm at my cousin's house and she's in the bathroom getting ready--or sneaking a cigarette or something--when I open up the drawer or something next to her bed. In it I find this diary entry or letter, I can't remember, but in it my cousin is complaining about the length of my letters.
I wasn't hurt, really, just surprised. Because I longed to receive a letter like the ones I sent to her. But I've never forgotten that.
Another time my mother found my diary. And not only did she read it--she WROTE in it. Not as an editor, but as a commentator! It's funny to me still. And shocking. But I never read my daughter's private thoughts. I was never tempted to go snooping around, either. I always felt -- and still do -- that she's entitled to her feelings about me: good or bad.
And I never wanted her to have to choose: their potential pain or my freedom.