Personal Essays

Why I Bare My Heart Online

Here are the facts:

Fact #1: On February 1, 1979, I was delivered reluctantly into the loving arms of my parents, my collarbone having been carefully broken in order to get me to come out into the world. When I was a preschooler I was so shy and introspective my mother worried for my psychic health. When I was a preteen I decided I liked stray cats better than other children. When I was a teenager I grew into my shyness and became aloof instead. And as an adult, although friendship is extremely important to me and I love spending time with people I adore, I have to save up social energy like pennies in a bank. If I am broke, I retreat. Private I was born and private I remained.

Fact #2: On July 17, 2004, I wrote the very first entry in the blog I have continued to write in on a daily or weekly basis ever since. The post, which was entitled “Gravely, Begin,” read, in its entirety:

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go till you come to the end; then stop.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

I’m not sure where I thought my story would go when I began it at the beginning, but four years later I have not yet found it in me to decide that I have come to the end.

Fact #3: On March 17, 2005, I posted the very first photograph in my brand new Flickr stream. It was a scratchy, hairy scan of a picture I’d taken on film when I was living and studying in Jerusalem during the second semester of my sophomore year in college. I didn’t upload that particular photograph for any very good reason—I just wanted to try out this new site I’d come across—and I can tell you right now that I had no idea I would wind up, three years later, spilling my guts to total strangers beneath photographs of my kitchen counters.

Today I’m going to try to tell you why Facts #2 and 3 do not contradict Fact #1.