January is the month that signals a time where everyone wants a do-over. “New year, new me” they exclaim. Well, I am not an exception.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about this blog. If some of you haven’t noticed, I’ve been really scarce with my blog posting. While I honestly suck at blogging and documenting my life for the masses, I think I started to shy away from sharing so much of myself on this platform. Putting myself out there created a lot of negative comments from people who don’t know me and I didn’t know how to process all of that. Feeling judged and misunderstood became the driving force to my reclusiveness and I stopped writing so much about my travels and life. And a lot of that came shortly after my move to Japan.
I began to edit my posts and censor a lot of what I said online because someone at my job Googled me and turned me into the Head of School because of this blog post. Seriously.
About a month or two after I began working in Japan, I was approached by the HOS. She casually asked me to come to her office when I had time. Thinking it was just about how I was doing or following up about a kid, I waited until the end of the day.
I entered her office and took my position across from her in a chair, her on the couch. I watch her as she shifted her weight before she began, telling me how much she enjoys having me at the school and how good I am with the kids. She pauses. I began to get nervous.
“Oh shit. Am I losing my job?” I wonder. She continues.
She tells me that someone came to her with a concern about my website. “My blog?” I ask.
“Yes. Something you wrote.”
She goes on to tell me that someone approached her concerned about the content on my website and wondered if it could have a negative impact on the students if a parent found it.
I began scanning my brain, recalling the recent posts on my page. There weren’t many back then and I sat perplexed trying figure out what she could be speaking of. I didn’t write many posts back then. I was too busy adjusting to life in Japan and whatnot.
I sit as she tells me that this person came to her out of concern only for the children and reminded me of the clause in my contract – that if I do anything in my personal life that, as an employee of the school, was negative in any way I could be fired.
“Wait. Am I about to be fired?!” I thought.
Wait…but for what? This was dramatic AF.
She takes a breath and says that after going home and pouring herself a glass of wine, and waiting until her children went to bed, she clicked the link sent to her by the concerned coworker. Read a few lines and discovered the offending sentence. She said that she was initially concerned because the coworker presented my website as if I had a sex tape out there. Seriously. This is the impression that someone gave her. (Hence the wine).
Someone at my job, who knew very little about me at that point, presented my blog to my boss “out of concern” over one simple ass sentence. Wanna know what it was?
In my blog post “Things they don’t tell you when you move abroad” I talk about the misconceptions of moving abroad and try to insert a little reality into these fantasies. In addition to “you will never fully learn the language” or “you will remain out of shape no matter how much more you’re walking around”, I said “you will miss sex”.
I didn’t elaborate or talk about the ways I am accommodating my lack of sex. I didn’t talk about the amount of sex I had and with how many partners before I moved to Japan. Nope. Just said you will miss it.
And it’s true. I did. Dating in Japan was challenging. And I’m a grown ass woman. Why couldn’t I say that sex was missed?
Thankfully she was cool about it. She asked me to delete the blog and I guffawed. I did agree to take that one part out tho. But what resulted was more than just a compromise. I began to edit myself. Took most of myself off the internet. Censored my Facebook page and made my Instagram private. I allowed them to control what I did and said and shared with the world.
And this wasn’t the only incidence of being Googled during my time there. I wrote an essay for a website and this time someone tried to get the essay retracted from the website. LOL
I’ve learned that people have very little to do with their time when they have no lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still looking up what Elmeka is up to these days.
(What’s up, Brittney and Jamie!)
So why am I thinking of these crazy people today? I guess because I’ve gotten to a point where I really don’t want to censor myself anymore.
Part of why I don’t write much on here anymore is because I couldn’t stand the feeling of thinking I had to write like every other travel blogger to be appealing or have a steady flow of readers. The constant struggle to make myself digestible and family-friendly was becoming a bit much. What’s worse, the struggle to avoid getting in trouble at work because someone passed my blog around to people.
I honestly don’t know who my readers are, but those who I want to reach are those who won’t eat up that cookie-cutter, this trip was perfect and so if my family, bullshit.
I need people to know that parenting and traveling with kids is difficult as shit. I need people to see that I am human and there are times when I want to just be human and not some automatic robot who only thinks of how I can make this a viral post or pinned or retweeted or whatever.
This journey is hilarious at times and can be really amazing, but most days you just sit there like WTF?!?! And that’s totally okay.
After 11 years of parenting and 7 years of traveling with this container of farts and food requests, I’ve learned a lot. And I’m here to share some of that with you all. Read it if you will, share it with your friends, whatevs. But going forward, I’m writing to just put it out there for all to see.
Enjoy the ride.