I like to claim that I have no secrets.
About a month ago, I was talking to my mother on the phone about how open I am about certain things. In fact we were probably talking about this blog.
“Mom,” I said, proudly. “I have no secrets.”
Maybe it’s my background in journalism that makes me not want to have secrets. I’ve seen secretive people suffer for hiding parts of their lives. As a sort of defense, I’ve tried to be open about just about everything. But of course, that’s impossible, even for a big-mouth with Internet access. Everyone keeps some secrets. I knew I must have some.
I just couldn’t think what they could be.
Until this past weekend, when I had to travel for business, and I found myself reluctant to explain to those who asked where I was going and what I was doing for all of Saturday and Sunday. I never really thought of this sideline as a secret, because plenty of people – especially people I’ve known for a long time – know that I do this.
I started doing this thing as a teenager. In fact, when I was younger, I was very proud of this job and talked about it often. I advertised it, actually, because it brings with it a certain kind of attention. But as I’ve gotten older and taken more responsible jobs in different fields, I’ve stopped doing this. I’ve also stopped telling people about it because I’m worried that this job will affect the way they will view me in other areas of my life. More unfortunately, this job also causes people to want or expect certain things from me, and the things that those people want and expect can be draining.
But shame and fear are never a good thing. So last week, when someone asked me if I was going to be around on Saturday, and I began a complicated throat-clearing campaign in an attempt to stall until someone else changed the subject, I knew I was going to have to start being open about my sorta-secret side job once again.
Where better to do this than on the world wide web, where everyone can see? So what is this thing that I do that causes me so much angst?