The other day I noticed I had inadvertently posted all my personal photos that were on my computer onto Facebook for the general public’s viewing pleasure. Pictures of my family and friends they didn’t give permission to post, endless pictures of my daughter, embarrassingly personal photos only meant for one or two people to see, unflattering shots that I hadn’t bothered to trash, the “before and after” exercise regiment pictures…oh oh oh I shudder at the thought. They went all the way back to my wedding. If anyone wanted to creep me, they had plenty of material to wade through. I don’t know how long they were there and I have no idea when or how I managed to do that. It took me quite a while to delete all three hundred and fifty of them. Photo on 2011-01-13 at 23.44

Generally, I am not a very private person. I am an open book. I learned pretty early on that being honest and humble about my life experiences in my writing is useful to others. I’ve also seen “privacy” used to shame, used to hide lies, used to shut down, dismiss and control others. Often, I feel privacy  protects imposters.

But that’s too easy. There must be some use in privacy. If nothing is private, is anything sacred? True enough. I don’t talk freely about my love life, that’s sacred, even when it’s non existent, it is still “mine”. I don’t talk about people I name without their permission unless it’s short praise. I think people who wish to live quietly and unseen should have the right to do so.

A fairly new friend of mine wrote something very brief and generalized to me about his family and he worried it was “over share”. The only time I can remember telling someone they were over sharing was a nurse discussing removal of compacted phlegm from a patient during dinner, and a first date where a fellow went on and on about his ex-wife’s magnificent breasts. Otherwise, to me, humanity is fascinating. Any chance I get to know someone better is a gift.

Do we mistake “overshare” with those who just simply talk too much or have bad timing? It makes me nervous because I have been guilty of both.

Privacy is a bit of an allusion, really. It’s a stalker heaven out there. All a person has to do is google. We are all very exposed, virtually. And things that used to be sacred in our society: spirituality, sexuality, ritual, tradition, family legacy…are either non existent or not valued in the same way. For better and for worse.

Today I was asked to be a speaker at PechaKucha Night this January 30th at the Vogue Theatre. Danielle LaPorte recommended me, which is a great compliment. She’s a fabulous speaker, writer and entrepreneur. For those of you who don’t know PechaKucha, it’s basically the coolest people in Vancouver talking about what cool things they do, to a room full of cool people. Several speakers get up, they have six minutes and twenty slides to share who they are and what they do from animal rights activists to film makers to CEOs of shoe companies to inventors to those who volunteer in the DTES.

How am I going to sum myself up in six minutes and what photos am I going to use? Again, it brings me back to privacy. What is interesting, honest and useful to others and what is “overshare”?

What I have learned to test everything against is: who is this for? If I write or share something that feels solely for my own benefit (self marketing or cathartic dishing of woes)…then it’s something I can keep to myself, or just bring up in prayer, or maybe share with a friend. If it’s something, no matter how personal, that could be useful to someone else, then I consider sharing it.

Anyway, if you have any ideas of what I should share for PechaKucha, I welcome your thoughts. I’m not sure what would be useful for this lot.




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