Talking with “Mahmoud” about children and how life is meaningless without them got me thinking about writing in my journal. In my church, we have been taught to keep journals from the time we were young. Partly to see our own growth and to record our spiritual experiences, but also to provide a record for our descendants. We want to share our histories with our descendants so they can really know us.
In my case, I post my journal entries on blogs (I only type my journal – can’t do the hand-written journals anymore, though I do keep detailed handwritten notes on my calendars and day planners).
This is partly because I want to be involved in discussions about lesbianism, prostitution, swinging, and polyamory without using my real name, but also so my descendants can read my journals and know what I was like. In blog form, I change all the names and identifying information because I don’t want my children getting any ideas and tracking down Robert Hannibal’s children. I want to protect everyone who I write about, but especially Robert Hannibal.
However, lately I’ve been thinking that I don’t I want my children to read my journal entries. Especially after my conversation with Mahmoud reinforced how important I think mothers are for their children. I want my children to just think of me as a mother. I don’t want them to think of me as anything else.
But the same goes for my grandchildren. I only want them to think of me as a grandmother. Grandmothers are the best thing in the world (unless the mother is wonderful, which mine wasn’t), and even though I love seeing pictures of my late grandmother when she was young and pretty, and I was so happy when she would tell me that I look like she did when she was young, her primary identity to me is as Grandma. I want my grandchildren to only think of me as Grandma.
So I’ve decided that these blog journal entries should only be read by my great-grandchildren. That’s far enough down the line and I’ll be far enough removed from history at that point (I’m so old now and have not had any children yet, and I will most likely die before I have any grandchildren).
But even though I’ll likely be dead before I have any grandchildren, I still want them to think of me as “Grandma.” My great grandchildren, therefore, should be the first in my family to read these entries and to know of my shadow life.
I want to emphasize that this is not because I’m embarrassed by any of this shadow life. On the contrary, I am not at all ashamed of any of it, but I know some of the subject matter might make some people uncomfortable, which is the main reason I keep it secret.
And I especially think women should not be ashamed of prostitution. I think sex work is a very logical way of making money and I hate that there is such a stigma attached.
But my most important role in life will be to be a mother, and so that is all that my children need to be know. No child wants to know about the sex lives, past or present, of their parents, and my children aren’t going to want to know about mine either. Nor will my grandchildren. And these journal entries include too much of my sexual life.
When I’m older, I’ll go through my entries and designate the creative writing ones and the ones that talk about spiritual matters and politics for my children and grand-children. But I’ll leave the ones about my personal life for my great-grandchildren. Perhaps my great-grandchildren won’t want to know about my personal life either? In any case, we’ll see.
I don’t know how I will make sure that only my great-grandchildren read these entries. I don’t know what blog-hosting services will be in place in the future, and I don’t know how to ensure that my great-grandchildren and beyond can read this but not my children and grandchildren.
But there is plenty of time for this. I am not even close to having any children at this point.
In the meantime, I enjoy the catharsis of purging but also reliving when I write down my life. And I love being part of polyamory and lesbian groups online under my pseudonym that I could never be a part of in real life. The internet is a great way for my shadow life to emerge from the bifurcation that I am.