Why Privacy is Important for my Self-Care

there is magic in privacy, there is sacredness in being able to know someone will hold with you a vision and be willing to bring loving energy & excitement to an idea.

curate, filter, post, share.

it feels like that’s the guiding rhythm of my life and those around me these days. there’s little trouble finding moments, ideas, music and outfits to share with the world online.  there is so much joy found in connecting budding ideas, and our lifestyle with our friend-friends, internet friends and random followers on social media. it has opened up worlds to me, and given rise to new alliances found on the outliers of my personal networks.  it has also successfully dismantled a lot of my unspoken beliefs about privacy.

there have been times when i get so completely fed up with the daily routines of life that i often seek outside of myself for solace. this concept is frowned upon by the self righteous but I believe it’s what makes us human. sometimes i seek from a lover, other times, family, but usually my friend group melds into the community to share goals and plans with.  for years i have shared, and shared, and shared my ideas - some of which i have accomplished, others are tabled and others are just flat out failures.  

i thought this was helpful but i am learning maybe not as useful as i learned in practice. there are many competing narratives of success- sharing desires with friends can cause trouble, especially when trying to do something new and outside of the box - or even just something that speaks to the heart.  sharing business plans or creative ideas - should be carefully considered, when everyone, even your loved ones have different impressions of how life should be led. and if you have a familial group of friends, exercise wisdom in what you plan on sharing with people, because news travels fast amongst groups that chat regularly: the wire, the grapevine, they all start with someone else’s business.

take me, i am a self starting, creative entrepreneur activist-y type.  i try to move through the hard and fast expectations found in capitalism- after crashing and burning in my attempts in the (surprisingly racist, corporate and conventional) worlds of fashion and publicity.   what i witnessed: the hierarchy, nepotism and cut throat attitude and culture that is celebrated, it did not suit me. i have rigid opinions about the corporate world.  so i would not be the best friend you want to talk to about the paradigms of a corporate career.  i would be able to lend an ear, but that ear is slighted by my experiences, beliefs and desires for my friend. at this point my corporate friends probably don’t even consider my opinion on matters of career (good move for them).

in reflection, i have judged loved ones ideas, before that person even got a chance to take off because of the conventions of my mind and who i believe that person to be.  what’s worse is, those feelings- that excitement - that enthusiasm- that person shares may stall out at the capacity of my energy. 

it’s a GD a shame!

In our culture privacy is often confused with secrecy. Open, honest, truth-telling individuals value privacy. We all need spaces where we can be alone with thoughts and feelings - where we can experience healthy psychological autonomy and can choose to share when we want to. Keeping secrets is usually about power, about hiding and concealing information.”
- bell hooks

i used to want to know so much about the hopes and dreams of my friends and family - to the point i would be offended if someone i thought close to me made a move and i didn’t know about it. i also was taught that my privacy was a right of mine - and so once i discovered the power in privacy, i often exploited secrets for leverage in many of my relationships. this rarely ever worked in anyone’s favor - except for when in communication with law enforcement. because i have such a deep love affair with my friends and some family members i have shared so many of my hopes and dreams with people. some of these people are no longer in my orbit because they truly did not want the best for me, or wanted me to execute my life in way that fit into their vision. i oft wonder what my life could be if had I kept some details under wraps.  admittedly, i have created resentments towards people - peoples who’s opinions should have no weight on what it is that I choose to do with life.  not all the people in my life, even in the most intimate parts of my life have the capacity for that kind of creativity - or need to shoulder the responsibility of my yearnings. i have also learned that it’s ok for me to not know everyone’s desires and, for me to respectfully give people precisely what it is that i need.

there is magic in privacy, there is sacredness in being able to know someone will hold with you a vision and be willing to bring loving energy & excitement to an idea.

The Shift

i had to deliberately seek out a community of like-minded people, who share a value system that is aligned with mine.  this step is valuable for protecting that beautiful creative energy that builds into the momentum that gives rise to action.  this is an on-going process, defining what my life looks like - based on what I want and need. It is not easy and oftentimes is lonely, though I suspect it may require solitude.  This carving of space is vital to healthy friendships and forces me to engage in the myriad relationships that exist in the world, not just the purely effervescent friendships of laughter and light heartedness.

after starting, stopping, restarting, completing and leaving some things out to dry all together - several times, I have learned that people make of you what they want based on 2 things. 1) what they choose to believe about you & 2) what you tell them. sort of up until this point, my quest for validation started with sharing my good ideas with a friend. hoping so desperately for affirmation, i learned, that is not what you’re always going to get - especially when people have all kinds of dramas playing out in their own lives. having the wisdom to discern who i will share what with; and having the confidence in knowing that if what i choose to share leaves the confines of a conversation that I will be ok with the response. there is beauty in knowing that you are capable of holding that space yourself, too. there is expansion in sitting with your own visions and pouring that eagerness back into yourself.

having privacy - and choosing what i share - to protect my enthusiasm is a new personal boundary i am developing.  boundaries are a part of my self care practice. i have learned not to be so tough on myself when i allow someone i love to push against me in a way that feels uncomfortable, bc it is not second nature for me to have boundaries - or to willingly exercise the ones i create. when people in my circle are clearly pressed to share their opinions about what i am doing - or if i am thirsty to share an underdeveloped project in it’s infancy, i will have to remind myself about this boundary.

stretching, and redefining privacy strengthens intuition. so before sharing that one great idea- take a beat and think - should this be shared, or is this for myself.