I had an odd confrontation, though that may be too strong of a word, with a friend of mine who is a loyal blog reader. She and I don't see each other very often and when we do - she knows pretty much everything that's gone on in my life because she stops in here daily. We ran into each other by chance yesterday afternoon. Joe and I had tea with our neighbour Tess and then went shopping. Joe had to go buy a box, something that didn't interest me, so I told him I was going to go on a 'run' in my power chair.
I headed down the ally that runs behind our apartment building then popped south for a half block and then went over to Yonge Street. I cruised north looking at the store windows. I kept my pace up because I needed to be back in the time it took for Joe to buy a box and then walk home. As I was looking in a window that had been newly dressed, she called my name. We talked briefly. She told me that she had just been diagnosed with Diabetes and said that she'd been meaning to call me, knowing that I've been diabetic for a few years now.
A couple of months ago I had set about the idea that I wanted to reduce my insulin and begin following the doctor's dietary advice a little more rigorously. As a result of this, I've been off insulin for a month and I've cut my need of one of my diabetes' medication in half. My blood sugar is now almost one hundred percent of the time in the normal range. I rushed to tell my friend about this.
Instead of taking the information in the manner I thought she would, she was totally pissed off. She felt that I had kept this information hidden from blog readers and that I had an obligation to document the journey I'd been on with reducing and then eliminating some of the medications I am on for 'the sugar' as my friends from the South call it.
She left the conversation abruptly, very, very angry. I've sent her an email telling her that I was going to write about this but not, of course, mention her name. I wanted to think about her assertion that 'I owed' something to this blog and the readers. I didn't think I'd signed a contract and I didn't think that I gave up the right to privacy. I weigh what I want to tell here and often tell about my observations of the world and my reactions to what I see. This is different than telling what's going on personally in my life.
As a result of this there's lots I don't tell you, lots I don't think it's appropriate to tell you, lots of stuff I simply don't want to tell you. Human beings, I have always believed, have a huge right to privacy, a need for privacy and, I believe, that privacy is necessary for good mental health. This means there must be boundaries. All this went on in my head but then I began wondering what is going on in your heads, reader dears. Do you believe that blog writers have a responsibility to you ... if so what is that responsibility?
I have been painfully aware of the lack of privacy, in almost every aspect of their lives, that people with disabilities who live in systems experience. I have written about, lectured about, wrote programs about the issue of privacy. It is my fundamental belief that we share what we wish to share and we keep private what we wish to keep private. That's true in relationships with co-workers, with spouses, with blog readers. To me ...
Her response flabbergasted me. I felt a little unsure of how to proceed. I hadn't kept the Diabetes information from the blog for any particular reason, maybe I just didn't think it was all that interesting. I thought I'd come to you for your opinions about the issue of blogs, expectations and privacy?