By K D Grace

I sometimes wonder what to reveal — on social media, I mean. People run the gamut from just the odd photo they took on

holiday, maybe an inspiring or funny quote, to every detail of every meal; every pet peeve, or gripe or maon, and every ache, pain and injury of every family member — complete with graphic piccies from the hospital. Then there are politics and religion – two places I refuse to go, because they seem inappropriate for me to discuss when I’m approaching the world of social media as K D rather than Kathy. I openly admit to scratching my head on occasion and wondering why someone felt something was significant enough share. Then there are definitely times when I get a bit queasy at major TMIs. It feels like we’re living with no boundaries and no secrets, and that we’re all performers and entertainers in the world’s largest, 24/7 reality show.

I’m aware of just how true that is when I find myself thinking, ‘oh, I need to post this on Face Book,’ or ‘that would make a good tweet,’ or ‘I wonder if I should blog about this.’ I freely admit to posting way too many shots of veggies from my garden and the odd injury pic from the gym. Guilty as charged. Then there are times when I’ve been pulled into the world of social media with the end result being so much fun and so much healthy connecting with fascinating people, that I’ll be the first to admit I wouldn’t want to live without it. I’ve made lifelong friends through social media, I’ve learned new stuff, experienced new things. But then there are other times when the introvert in me just doesn’t want to engage. 

While I’ve never kept my real life separate from my writing life, and I’ve never really cared who knows my real name, I chose a pseudonym because I’m a fairly private person, and while KDG and Kathy are the same person in a lot of ways, their lives are not. Kathy has a private life, a life she doesn’t share on social media. Granted the boundaries between the two are permeable, but there are boundaries nonetheless — boundaries I need. I need space that belongs only to me, and I needed that long before I ever became involved in social media. 

There are things about me that even Mr. Grace doesn’t know, just as there are things about him I don’t know. It’s not about keeping secrets so much as it is about “keeping Self.” There’s an inner space that belongs to me and no one else. No one is invited in – ever, simply because it’s mine. I’ve met people with whom that doesn’t seem to be the case, and I wonder how they survive without an inner fortress where they can go and regroup. I’m sure I’m showing my total introvertedness when I say that. Those people probably wonder how I can survive without being more open and more social.

The thing is that writers expose themselves in ways no one else does just by the nature of what we do, and it doesn’t matter if we write the filthiest erotica or the sweetest children’s story. I know that Freud would say “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” but I don’t believe for one minute that a story is ever just a story. There’s too much of the writer in those words, too much Self, even if it’s very well disguised. For me that means that every time I write something new and put it out there for someone to read, I’m opening the trench coat to expose the nakedness beneath. I’m never more vulnerable than when I send my stories out into the world. There are no pictures of wounds or bruises or scabs on Face Book that can compare to the soft, squishy, sometimes icky, parts of my inner workings and how they sometimes display themselves on the written page. The truth is that for a story to be good, there has to be blood on that page, and

sometimes guts and bone and marrow as well.  On my good days as a writer, it’s all there, and I’m so far outside my comfort zone that it terrifies me to even think of sending my words out into the world, even though I know that’s exactly the place where the writing is the most powerful – outside my comfort zone, where the blood and guts are. On the bad days, I’m just too shy, too cowardly, too lazy and just not up to another plastering of my own innards into the work in progress for the world to see. 

That being said, it becomes a very delicate dance to balance just how much of myself I’m willing to expose on social media after exposing so much on the pages of my stories. Sometimes I only want to hide a way and do little more than the minimal checking in to see if there’s anything I need to promote or anything I need to know. Other times I want to join in the big social media cocktail party of food and photos of pets and holidays, of links to interesting sites and good conversation. I want to join in for the empathizing and sympathizing and cheering people on and being cheered on. How much I’m willing to reveal is a crap shoot that all depends on how vulnerable I’m feeling and how much I’ve already bled on the page.