Information Is Power

In restarting this blog, I said that I wasn’t too bothered with sharing things on the internet anymore. This is true. I no longer care about sharing my writing and my work on the internet where anyone can see it. This is true. I feel like I am participating in an ongoing conversation between countless people who all care about ideas and want to understand the world. We’re all struggling together. Knowing that makes sharing my struggles and work on here cathartic, especially since I have few friends to interact with in person.

But there is one thing that I am still… worried about. You see, there is a lot of information about me that I do not share with those closest to me. For instance, while I am open about being part of the trans community on my Tumblr, my Twitter and here, I haven’t breathed a word of it on Facebook. My mother is on Facebook and I don’t want her to know.

This is particularly bothersome when it comes to the sharing settings on WordPress. As bloggers who use this platform know, we have the option to automatically share our posts across our social media, including the ubiquitous Facebook. I have that set up, but I turn it off for posts like this. This is not information I want my family to know, particularly my mother who I feel might disown me entirely if she knew about my being trans.

I do feel like I am lying. I am very uncomfortable with not being completely open in every area of my life. The fact that my work colleagues, who I have only ‘met’ via telecommunication, know more about my life than my own mother disturbs me greatly. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I love my mother. I do not want to hurt her. And I don’t want her to hurt me.

Knowledge and information are power, so we’re told. ‘The more you know’ is a slogan we hear often in our society. Education and learning are currency. We talk about ‘having dirt’ on someone. It’s all about knowing and sharing and revealing.

But what people do not know also has its power. The fact that my mother does not know that I identify as trans has power over me. It is the power of fear and sadness and loss. I am afraid she will find out. I am sad that I cannot share this exciting and scary and important news with her. And I keenly feel what I have lost because of this divide between us.

Sure, knowing things can give you power. But not knowing also confers power. It is a lesson I wish I never had to learn.

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