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17:01 - Friday, Sept. 11, 2015
Posting public information on the internet was different back in 2001, I think. Or else I just saw the process through a teenager-filtered lens. Everything revolved around me, because I was 17, so the 'worst' that could happen was that some crush I wrote about would find the entry, read my bad poetry, fall in love with the beautiful soul I was on the inside, and carry me off into the sunset.

I had zero qualms about posting about my parents' struggles/private lives/secrets (parents don't go on the internet!), day/night dreams I had about people that bordered on creepy (they'd probably find it flattering!), how much weed I smoked (I am a teenager with a 16 hour/week job and will never again need to be employed by anyone who may conduct a background check on me!), or drama-stirring, gossipy bullshit (drama-stirring is kind of the point, isn't it?).

The only time I worried about it, kind of, is when I was a counselor at a crisis hotline, which had a very strict, un-misinterpretable privacy contract, and so I effortfully refrained from talking about that. Again, kind of. I remember hinting at it so hard I nearly popped a virtual blood vessel.

Having mostly grown out of that willful abandon, that throw-caution-and-all-propriety-to-the-wind-edness, I find myself running into walls constantly. I find myself thinking: this reader could be my dad. (He once mentioned the name of this diary to me, which sent me into a spiral of frantic denial.) Or: this reader could be my boss. (In 2001, I think I wrote about playing Microsoft Pinball at work while another coworker alluded to making pot cookies, and posted it here, NOT ONCE CONSIDERING that the internet was a public space.) Or: this reader could be one of my students. Or one of my foodie friends, who only know me for the things I choose to ingest. What would it be like to suddenly know all this deeply personal, ancient, embarrassing stuff about someone you're only acquaintances with?

The thing is, though I feel as though I should be experiencing horror at the prospect of any of these people coming across this diary, I don't. Not viscerally. I still maintain, teenagerly, that people should just be open and honest about pretty much everything, to everyone. I view embarrassment as something to be overcome, not avoided. I mean, how else do novelists and memoir writers write about the sex they've had, the strangers they've met, and the emotional depths they've sunk to, knowing that their parents are almost certainly going to buy ten copies from the bookstore and suck the juice out of every single word? You can't always control and compartmentalize which people are allowed to know you in which ways.


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