We choose to conceal ourselves, to remain shrouded in mystique, to plant decoys, to send nosey-parkers off in a false direction.
We have learnt the art of living with the security fence of a smokescreen – a barrier that protects our privacy.
Yet, not everybody gets the point. Jack and I – we have a right to feel safe, to enjoy some privacy, to protect things that are special and sacred to us.
Both of us see and work with hundreds…thousands of people, we see many many many faces, and we love them all very much. But that does not mean we have to share everything with everyone. Does it? Jack keeps saying that it will all be fine.
I was talking to Jack about something quite serious recently. I think it may be one of those issues we will have to re-visit, but I want to write about it because since I vocalized it, I started to realize just how much this concern is impacting on my life.
Some of you are already aware that my Jack is rather well-known. That sometimes becomes intrusive. He is often recognized. Even going to the local shops to pick up some vegetables is a challenge – well it is a challenge to me. People want to say hello. Some people want a selfie with him – and Jack tends to oblige. We often choose to walk a different route back to my nest, a longer route just for security reasons.
But my biggest fear is letting the people I am acquainted with loosely – you know paid work colleagues – know anything about Jack because I have no idea what they may do on social media.
Now these concerns have always been there at the back of my mind. But recently, I confessed to Jack that I am actually finding that fear is having a detrimental effect on me. I have been drawn into mindset that I find uncomfortable – living in fear, guard up, closed off.
I am especially scared of sharing anything about our wedding.
Well, living with that ever present fear…I don’t like it. I said to Jack… “I want to move far away from here.” I was speaking from a low place. A work colleague had invaded my privacy and made me feel fearful. I have now left…and to some extent that has brought some relief. But now in my new job, I am going to have to navigate the well meaning questions from new colleagues and ind a ay to answer them in a way that does not pique their curiosity.
That sort of tells me that even if we went to the opposite side of the planet…I would still face the same challenges. So I just have to get a grip of these challenges and perfect the art of sharing only limited information that does not risk our security or lead to someone unkind publishing despicable content about Jack and me on social media.
The Pandemic was challenging for people for all sorts of reasons. I understand that. Since social restrictions were lifted, many people have been making the most of the chance to socialize freely. I understand that.
…I have noticed something different. People I never used to socialize with before the Pandemic, they seem to be trying to get themselves an invite into my little nest…and also into my relationship. Maybe that sounds odd. But I cannot tell you how cautious I am with my security, and how discreet I am about my movements with Jack.
I think that what has perhaps discombobulated me is the change of job coinciding with the lifting of restrictions. All these new people, and also former colleagues who would like to see me outside of work. They want to meet my other half too. Which strikes fear into me. I Also, some of the people I have been teaching online during the Pandemic, they seem to want to now do group things – like going Nandos (which lacks appeal despite being able to recall that about eight years ago when I did go there, I think they had some kind of bean burger that was not terrible).
The Pandemic provided greater freedoms for Jack and I. Being able to walk around with a facemask making it harder for people to recognize Jack. Being able to stay at home and cosy up together instead of attending public events. It has been lovely. My safe zone includes trusted friends and colleagues who have known the two of us for years, and all of whom treat Jack in a very normal way.
Now…well, I am feeling more exposed, and the whole being in a goldfish bowl – and this notion that others want to stare in, peer in, leer at my inner world. For some reason…I just don’t feel very safe.
Does this have anything to do with remembering that for over two years, hundreds of people became over-interested in my personal life, in my connection with Jack? Does it have anything to do with thousands of remarks, scores of photos and the many rumours that circulated?
How would you feel if you were at home getting ready for work, and while you were in your bathroom, brushing your teeth, a man you have never seen before walks in and says, “Hello”?
I am the type of person who really truly does try to see things from the other person’s point of view. I am honestly. You can even ask Fandango if I am the kind of person who tries to understand where someone else is coming from.
But this bloke, who just walked into my home without knocking, I was just struggling to see where he was coming from.
Later on when I had chance to work out what had happened from my Landlords, it seems that they were not ready to open the front door, so gave the chap the keys to the side gate. So he unlocked the side gate and then somehow worked out that the other key on the bunch was for my front door.
Well….it freaked me out. I have to admit, I did not give him the warmest welcome. I politely expressed my surprise that he had just walked straight into my home, and I eloquently asked him to depart with haste!
The irony of the whole situation, the chap was there to test the intruder alarms in the main house. Well, he should be glad that Caramel has such a peaceful nature. I am not sure anyone else would have been quite so polite if he had intruded their home like that!
Something happened on my way out of work last week. One of my colleagues noticed my engagement ring and asked me about it. I panicked. I did confirm that since the end of October I have been engaged to be married to Jack. But I started waffling about the drama we have faced in the past and my reasons for being discreet about our plans for the future.
I guess I panicked because over the past eighteen months, I have felt scared to lose this wonderfulness. I have genuinely felt afraid that something awful could tear Jack and me apart again. I know a lot of it is psychological – but there are a range of safety guards and defence systems I have put up to keep my relationship with Jack intact.
Some of that includes just not talking too much about our life, and not allowing people who don’t know him know who he is. I know that some people do the most crazy things when excited by the thought of being within reach of a celebrity. I am hostile to anyone potentially ruining our happiness or jeopardising our security.
The colleague who saw my engagement ring is a very sweet and lovely person – I adore her. Yet, I panicked. I panicked because I have learn from the past seven/eight years of knowing Jack personally that other people are unpredictable. I cannot control their behaviour. In the past some people who I adored and thought were kind people and thought were my friends ended up contributing to the spread of false and harmful gossip about us.
I guess it is because I cannot control what other people do, that I fight to keep some control myself. It’s not nice, but hiding, being discreet and even secretive, and retaining strict control on how much information about my personal life I am willing to share – it makes me feel safer. I know it runs the risk of alienating lovely people. But I have a wonderful network of people who know Jack and me and I feel safe within. I am super careful of how much I share with anyone who does not already know us.
There may come a time when it no longer matters – like maybe when Jack and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary maybe? Until then – I think I am going to be guarding my precious relationship, one that was salvaged from a terrible shipwreck and then lovingly restored. Jack and I have something that many would have thought impossible. I am not going to risk that.
DISGUISES. I was thinking about this theme for a post and I was not sure exactly which direction to go in. So, I thought I would think a little bit about internet security.
When I checked the definition of disguise – it was along the following lines:
“to alter one’s appearance or conceal one’s identity”
I was thinking about how important anonymity has been to me while I have been blogging on WordPress. I have written about lots of people and events in my personal life. But I do all sorts to maintain my privacy. I change names. I am very obscure about locations. There are all sorts of things I would never share on my blog for security reasons.
In addition, I only feel comfortable talking about my personal life, within the privacy that being incognito brings. That is important to me, and I also seek to protect Jack’s identity.
In a way, I conceal my identity with a disguise. I do so with a clean conscience. I am very security conscious. I have absolutely no intention to mislead of deceive others for sinister reasons.
But that made me think of everything I have read about internet security. There are people who disguise who they are for malicious, sinister reasons. I think that most bloggers are sensible and have that sense of caution with regards to personal information. But I am very conscious that there are some very young bloggers and others who perhaps are a little too trusting.
I don’t to be gloomy here, or frighten anyone, but I would appeal to anyone blogging and sharing information from their personal life to be careful! Be cautious! There are people, perhaps bloggers, who are disguising themselves, not for security reasons, but for sinister reasons.
It is so easy to find yourself drawn to bloggers who are friendly. Most of that interaction is fine. But please please be careful. The internet can be like a big city. There are lots of people, most of them just enjoying themselves. But others with ill intent. And those who do have sinister motives are usually very very clever at disguising themselves. They might be men pretending to be teenage girls. Or people pretending to be all sorts of things they are not, in order to get your attention and try to win your trust.
Someone might have a sad story and be asking you for money to help them with their problems. They might ask you for personal photographs, or lots of personal questions. They might say they are lonely and that they feel especially drawn to you, that you seem very special.
In fact…maybe I am a tad suspicious, but any stranger who starts telling me I am “special” or giving me an unreasonable amount of flattery – my alarm sensors immediately trigger.
Disguises are not always bad in themselves. People wear disguises for fun like at fancy dress parties. They wear disguises to remain incognito to protect their privacy. They may seek to maintain their anonymity because they are security conscious. Here on WordPress there are many bloggers who prefer to remain anonymous for all sorts of reasons. They may want to express their creativity or their feelings without others from their “real life” identifying them.
But the worst disguises are those worn by those who pretend to be something they are not in order to deceive, degrade and damage. Some disguises are worn by those with very harmful sinister motives. Some cleverly hide what they are, presenting themselves as something entirely innocent, when the reality is, they are seeking an opportunity to take advantage of someone trusting and vulnerable.
There are some lovely bloggers out there. They are usually very sensible and cautious themselves and are unlikely to ever compromise your security. But please remember that there are some internet users who are basically predators.
Enjoy blogging – but be cautious. Be safe! Remember there are some out there who are very clever at disguising their true motives.