“I have a question for you.” A friend asked me the other day.
That question never fails to jolt me into a state of half-terror / half excitement. It’s a question that gets the blood going and the heart racing, a game that has a 50/50 chance of being either great fun or extremely uncomfortable.
But that’s half the thrill of it. You never know if you’re going to get: ‘I have a question for you: would you rather fight a bear-sized duck, or a duck sized bear?’ In which case 1. Great fun and 2. A duck sized bear, obviously. As I recently learnt that ducks hiss. You don’t believe me? Youtube that shit.
Or, alternatively, it could go the other way, like ‘I have a question for you. Did you shave this morning and empty your razor-ful of pubes all over the shower wall?’ (Usually my housemate asking. Usually the answer is yes.)
So, as I said, it’s risky business. But when my friend asked me this question on this particular day, I was in a gambling mood.
“Shoot.” I said.
“Why do you never post about your relationships on social media?”
Boom. Explosion. Waves crash. Angels cry.
A good question. A great question.
Because this friend was right. It’s true. If you go through my Instagram you’d probably question wether I’d even come within a 50-kilometre radius of a male in my entire life, much less had a a relationship with one.
Is it all those studies about couples who post less on social media are the happiest?
I mean, I have friends who slap pictures of their partner all over the ‘gram and are actually decent to each other in-person.
I also know people who fawn all over their significant other online, and seem to low-key hate each other in person.
So it’s not really that.
It’s more that when I have my person in-person, in front of me, when I’m close enough to feel the heat rising from their skin, and the air is thick with the connection and zingy energy and luuurve feelings, I just wanna marinate in all that good shit. Like a rotisserie chicken. Like, baste me in love, fella, rub it all over me like butter on a Christmas Turkey. When that happens it feels kind of… unnecessary in that moment to immortalize it on a blue screen, in a rectangle in the palm of my hand.
It’s the same with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day posts on social media. If you do this, cool. You do you. For me, I’ve always thought ‘por qué?’
If I can pick up the phone and go ‘Yo. Dad. Thanks for loving me always, and supporting me always, even when I write about sex stuff on the internet and it’s kind of awkward. Have a good day.” I’d rather pick up the phone and do it. It just seems like a more direct means of communication than posting something on Facebook and going ‘Hey! Dad! Go look at my wall!’
If I can look my person in the face and say “Dude. I’m so happy I met you. Life is exponentially better with you riding co-pilot.” Isn’t that a more direct means of communication than putting up a photo and going “Everyone, look at this dude. He makes me really happy.”
“But you share so much of yourself online. Why is this any different?”
It’s true. I do. I write about my failures so honestly that my teeth ache when I read them back to myself. I often have to fight the urge to cringe, to shudder, to retreat into my shell like a little hermit crab with the rawness of it all.
I write about the stuff that scares me and the stuff that I’m ashamed of. I write about stuff I wish I hadn’t done and the stuff I wish I had been brave enough to do. I write about the stuff that makes me cry and the stuff that makes me so furious my blood feels like it’s on fire.
I crack myself open routinely, like they make kids slice open frogs bellies in science class in high school. Like a teacher at the front of the class I go “come on kids! Have a look around in there!” and who ever is curious enough to have a peek comes and pokes around all the blood and guts that is my life with their little scalpels and goes ‘Oooo’ and ‘ahhhh’ and ‘Miss Creeper, what’s that strange grey squishy thing over there?’
With all that in mind, is it not fair, is it not reasonable, that this part of my world I get to keep completely to myself? A sweet little sanctuary, with room for two, and only two?
I’m currently in love with a person so wonderful I can barely believe he exists.
And it’s no one’s god damn business.
Will I change my mind on this? Maybe.
I contradict myself all the damn time. It would not be the first time I promised myself I wouldn’t do something, which I then proceeded to do.
Like get into awkies political debates with family members at an otherwise pleasant, low-key family barbecue.
Like cutting my own hair with the kitchen scissors.
Like replying to texts from my boss when it’s Saturday night and I’m tanked.
Like watching sad movies on planes and ugly crying. Loudly. With snot. On three separate occasions.
My point is, you don’t owe the world your stories. You don’t have to put a spotlight on your relationship for your love to be legitimate. In a world of oversharing, it’s okay to keep some things to your sweet self.
If you want.