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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sharing too much?

I had the following comment on my previous post from an Anonymous follower, although she signed  herself "Ione:

I've read your blog often but have not commented, as much as I can remember. I love reading about your living in a different country and how you adjust. But I must admit, I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship. He is often gone, leaving you alone in a strange country and is not very nice to you when his family is visiting. And his family is atrocious. Also, I have wondered if you could live much better with more financial security if you were back home, living closer to your grandchildren. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but you did put "it" out there, you feelings of dissatisfaction. I don't mean to be a mean troll. Just wondering why you remain? Ione"
 
and this was my response:
 
"Anonymous/lone. Welcome to my blog, and of course I don't mind you expressing your opinion. I always welcome honesty. To try and answer your questions. I am with Mr A because I love him.I am the kind of person who accepts that no person or relationship is perfect. It also has to be understood that life is very different in this country. Wives are very used to being alone for months on end because their husbands have to go wherever they can find work. Yes I am often alone, it's true, but after 15 years living here it is no longer a "strange country". It's my home. I certainly would not be more financially secure living back in England that's for sure. The cost of living here is much lower, and it's easier to live well on less money. I have no property in England, I receive my pension, and if I moved back to the UK I would be one of the many having to rely on benefits to live. I prefer to be self-sufficient here to be honest.

Yes Mr A's parents are awful, and I hate it when they visit. Mr A, like most if not all Turkish men, will behave differently when his parents are here. But I think most people behave differently when in the company of their parents don't they? It doesn't last. If it did I am sure Mr A and I would have given up years ago. For all his faults, he is a kind and loving man with a good heart.

So when you ask why I remain, I hope I have explained. I stay because the positives far outweight the negatives."
 
I went back and re-read the comment because I have to admit it bothered me.  I wondered why someone would say something like "I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship", or why they wondered if I wouldn't be better off financially living back in England close to my grandchildren.
 
I felt at first that it was a little judgmental and how could they possibly know what Mr A adds to the relationship, or whether I would be better off in England.  After all, this person doesn't know me...or maybe they do?  How would I know if it's someone I know when they post anonymously?
 
Another thought crossed my mind.  Perhaps I share too much information about my life on this blog.  Although I'm pretty sure I don't disclose enough for anyone to make the above assumptions.  But nevertheless, it got me thinking about what I do write.
 
I write a lot about my feelings.  I have often mentioned that I find it therapeutic.  I also appreciate the interaction between me and my followers.  Mostly you all seem to be fairly like-minded people.  Sympathetic, empathetic, with a good sense of humour, and often with trials and tribulations of your own which you share on your blogs.   I guess I gravitate towards those who blog about their lives...the good times, the bad and the interesting.  We seem to have built up a kind of support network for each other, and some really good friendships...at least that's how I feel.
 
So I would like to thank "Ione" for her comment which has given me food for thought and I'd like your views on whether you think we sometimes share too much about ourselves on our blogs?  If we do, does it matter?  Should we be bothered by the assumptions others make because of it? 
 
 

38 comments:

  1. I liked the answer that you gave to *Lone* and please don't feel that you give too much information.
    I think we all have to write from our hearts otherwise we wouldn't be writing true to our lives at all.
    I am sure, like me, there are some things that you would never blog about because it would be too personal. I don't think you've crossed that line because it has always been obvious to me that you love Mr A and your life in Turkey and that is why you tolerate his awful family!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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    1. Thanks Maggie. Of course I agree with you in that there are personal matters that we would never blog about. There's always a line that shouldn't be crossed, and I am very aware of that. xxx

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  2. In the circumstances, I think you wrote a very reasonable and gracious response when you could have replied with anger or hurt at such comments. I understand that people are free to make comments about the things you post but to give opinions about whether you should be with your partner seems to me to be taking it too far and could have been very hurtful to you. Thankfully you took it with grace and you've taken the positives from it.

    It's wonderful that you feel able to share your life with others and interact with a community of people that you trust. As long as you are comfortable with the amount you share, then all's well and hopefully people will respect that without saying thing that could hurt you.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    saritaagerman.blogspot.it

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    1. Thankyou Sarita. I wasn't so much hurt as surprised really, because I felt that I had never written anything that would provoke those sort of assumptions. Although I do try to give the benefit of the doubt in that sometimes the written word can appear a little more blunt than perhaps it is intended.

      I hope you also have a good weekend x

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  3. As you...and others...know, I've had my husband's family snooping on my blog, something I resent very much as if they want to know how he is or what he is doing they could do what normal people do...use the telephone or send an e mail.
    But, as would have been clear to anyone picking up on the relevant post, they are far from normal!

    My blog is much less outgoing than yours...but not because of the snooping - I was unaware of that until recently.
    I am just reticent about relationship matters and always have been though extremely gabby about politics!

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    1. I do indeed remember the snooping on your blog and it was appalling. You dealt with it brilliantly, and it couldn't have been easy.

      I like you being gabby about politics...as you know I'm pretty ignorant about such things but I'm learning an awful lot because you make it so interesting and amusing!

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  4. And then I pressed publish without meaning to!

    You gave a very tolerant reply to Ione; you're a tolerant person.
    I think I would have suggested she sling her hook....those were distinctly personal questions and you certainly did not put 'it' out there for discussion.
    But I'm not at all tolerant....

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    1. Oh you are much more tolerant than you give yourself credit for Fly! Although, yes, they were pretty personal questions weren't they?

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  5. You write in an honest and open way that attracts a devoted readership. I don't think you ever go too far, but just say what you feel. Please don't start editing or holding back too much because you have the knack of writing about serious things in a very amusing fashion. (I find myself both giggling and appalled at the same time.) It's a rare gift.

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    1. Thankyou BtoB. That's a very nice thing to say. I do always try NOT to take these situations too seriously x

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  6. I love to follow your blog exactly because of what you write. I am in admiration of your openness and honesty. I don't think you divulge too much though - I'm aware that there are a thousand unwritten words in every tale you tell.

    Unless 'Lone' is living in Turkey, and married to a Turkish person, he/she is not able to pass judgement upon your life. To give the benefit of the doubt, maybe he/she (I'm guessing 'she' from the register) is genuinely curious.

    'Leaving you alone in a strange country' suggests to me that Lone wouldn't be able to hack it. But we can, and do, and for the most part we love it...and what's makes us special :)

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    1. I think you may be right Lilli. You know as well as I do how different life is here, and it wouldn't suit everyone I'm sure. So also giving "her" the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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  7. I thought that 'Lone' was making quite unwarranted assumptions about your marriage. I thought you were very measured and tolerant in your response (I think I would not have approved a comment like that on any of my blogs). Our Pul Biber blog is very explicitly public and one of the reasons we started it was as a way to let our families know what we are doing. The fact that we've made friends via the blog is a bonus.
    Everything on the Internet is hideously public (though I do keep a private online journal which is locked to people I actually know and trust). People come from their own cultural places and will draw their own conclusions.

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    1. I did think twice about publishing the comment omentide, but the very fact that it made me stop and think seemed a good enough reason to put it in my blog. I wanted to get some feedback from you all, and it seems I have!

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  8. I'm sure on occassion I have shared too much but hey-ho. I don't think you have but as individuals we know the emphasis we have on what we write. So maybe you think something is shared deeply whereas as a complete (well maybe not complete now) stranger I don't see how truly deeply it goes. Anyhoo, I don't think you share too much. But back to Mr A being away alot, I think some ladies like to be with their men all the time and others don't. We are all different and it's hard for the different types to understand each other. My OH has always worked away a lot and we also take independent holidays. This works well for us and I actually rather relish the peace without him as much as the time with him so I've never really thought anything odd about Mr A working away alot. I enjoyed it when you stayed with him for a while at the hotel he was working at! They were fun posts :)

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    1. KV...yes we are all different in our relationships, and I have always (all my lfe) been pretty independent. I don't like to feel dependent on or totally rely on a man, but of course a lot of women do. So it's easier for women like you and I to have the kind of marriage where we spend time alone. And I actually enjoy the time apart too. Of course there are times that we feel lonely, but you can also feel lonely with a man around can't you?

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  9. I liked your response to the comment as well. I appreciate blogs like yours, where the blogger reveals so much of their personality. I think it can lead to deeper friendships, and I love interacting with such open writers :-) I sometimes feel I don't share enough personal matters on my, even though it was a conscious choice to focus mainly on books and writing.

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    1. I love the friendships I have built up through blogging Deniz. It opens up a whole new world doesn't it? We all blog for different reasons...but that's what makes it so interesting x

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  10. To be honest, I have wondered the same thing, but being a blogger myself I know that there is usually more to a story good or bad to what is shared on ones blog. While I don't know you personally I do not believe you would be with someone who you didn't love or who was not nice to you. You seem like a very strong person. I think it is just so hard for us to comprehend how difficult it is to find work in Turkey and the nature of his work.? I am a little surprised myself by the comment no value added. Do husbands who travel for work add no value. I know a ton of husbands who must travel for their work.

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    1. Kelleyn you are right of course. Lots of husbands travel or are away for long periods of time for their work, and I'm sure they add value. Really, no-one on the outside of a marriage can possibly know what value each partner adds to the relationship xx

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  11. No! Concern troll!

    I think concern trolls are worse than the mean ones. Offering sincere advice even though, despite how much you reveal about your life and feelings, they really do know fuck-all about you and your life or anything else. It's so gently judgmental and condescending.

    http://istanbuls-stranger.blogspot.com/2011/04/zombie-calliou.html

    In the comments is one I got a few years ago-- I was furious! But I had to control myself and force myself to answer because the concern troll wrote as though his/her advice would infuriate me and I'd be too chicken to respond.

    Grr.

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    1. Oh Stranger, I knew you would mention this because I do recall the post you're talking about (and for anyone else here..have a look at that one from Stranger's link...unbelievable!).

      It was Nomad who coined the phrase "concern troll" wasn't it? He's always very astute.

      I'll never know how you coped with that one...all credit to you xx

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    2. It was so incredibly well-timed (it came a night or two after the huge row that resulted in me escaping to my ex's parents and kicking him out for good) that I was freaking out that one of my friends (I even suspected my dad briefly, but for the use of the "gestalt," which he would never say)had anonymously written it.

      And yeah, I got "concern troll" from Nomad :) It's perfectly fitting for these types...

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    3. It is fitting Stranger. It was certainly the last thing you needed on your blog after everything you were going through...thank goodness life is a little calmer (for want of a better word!) for you these days xxx

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  12. Hi Ayak! I´m still following your blog although I don´t "say" very much. But this one I had to comment on. I really don´t know you but you appear to be such a lovely, sympathetic person and I, like the others who have commented, really find inspiration and comfort in reading your blog. Life has it´s up and downs, and we all know it, and you share it with such grace. You made me start my own blog a year ago, so to me you are a great inspiration. And, as a comment to the comment on your lifestyle that you received, of course sometimes you have to question your whole lifestyle because of the difficulties you meet - but mostly your difficulties aren´t about your way of living, mostly they are just..life. You should be very careful when you advice another person, or have opinions about their way of living. Oh, I hope you understand what I´m trying to say...I mean that I think it was a clumsy remark from "anonymous" and I think you really made the best of it, sharing your thoughts about it and inspiring your readers to reflect upon the dividing line between private and public. / Gisela

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    1. Hi Gisela. I am so flattered that I inspired you to start your blog. And I'm really pleased you have added your comment to this discussion...and yes I understand exactly what you are trying to say! It was perhaps a clumsy remark, but worth reflecting on I thought xx

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  13. I read something recently that sort of fits in here. The article dealt with anxiety some first-time writers might feel when writing autobiographies. The author said, "This is your story. This is your life and you have every right to tell your story as you saw and lived it. If people don't agree with your perspective, they are free to write their stories too." It's a liberating thought, especially for people who've always felt a bit timid.

    After years of reading your blog, I have come to respect your writing. Too often in blogs (and books) written by ex-pats you read a kind of boasting. How wonderful life is here and "don't you wish you were as lucky as me?"
    (And sometimes even the complaining is a form of camouflaged bragging)

    As you and I know, living live abroad requires a special kind of resilience but, in my opinion, the returns are worth it. Like you, I bitch up a storm sometimes but I can NOT begin to imagine throwing in the towel at this point. The bitching is part and parcel of the experience. As long as one can learn to laugh at oneself and the experience, a person can survive nearly anything.

    Well, you have always dealt with your experiences honestly and with good humor. It would be too easy to use the blog to spill bile upon all the problem people in your life. I think you have been more than fair and more than balanced in your posts. I just wonder why you haven't sat down and written your own book.

    Also, that person who commented seems to have forgotten one important point. She/he has no idea about all the things you DIDN'T write about. :)

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    1. Nomad, you have been such a good friend to me, and your words are always so wise. I so appreciate that.

      Of course there are things we don't write about. If we disclosed absolutely everything, we'd probably never move away from the keyboard!

      Life anywhere, not just Turkey, has it's ups and downs. It's not one big holiday here(although a lot of expats think it is) and I've always been determined to show life as it is, warts and all.

      Ah...you know I would never attempt a book. I wouldn't know where to start...or finish. I don't have the patience to undertake such a task. Blogging is spontaneous for me. I think about something..I write it. I would love someone to take my blog..pick out what they might think is suitable for a book...and just do it for me!

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  14. Dear Ayak, as you know, I spotted the comment yesterday from Ione and felt sure it would rankle at you as it would me. I think you wrote a very measured and polite response and whilst I don't judge Ione for the comments made, I don't understand what influences a person to make them.
    I love blogs that share real life. In real life, I share stories with people and I like to do that too in my blog. My husband is occasionally scandalised by what I write - but I like that too!! I think sharing is very therapeutic and whilst some blogs contain such personal information that it's difficult to comment because what you really want to do is to give someone a real life hug, they are few and far between. You always manage to convey a humour where humour might be lurking - don't stop! Axx

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    1. Thankyou Annie. I do so agree with you about some of the things that people share on their blogs and the feeling that whatever you say by way of a comment is somehow not enough. That a hug is really what's needed sometimes. I do so appreciate the support and encouragement I get from you and all my blogging friends xx

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  15. Dear dear Ayak, I didn't comment on your post yesterday, partly because I'm not really up to much logical thought at the moment, and I would have wanted to put something meaningful down, so thought I'd come back today and think about it again.I was sad that you had had another difficult time with the in laws, but was confident that you understand the dynamics of the whole thing and that you and Mr A are solid.....despite the obnoxious family.
    You are a brilliant writer, a tremendously strong and incredibly caring and loving woman, and someone who has inspired a great number of people by your strength and wisdom as you think through your situation and analyse your feelings.
    It shines though your blog, that despite all the hardships and the differences,you love Mr A. and you love the village and you love Turkey.
    I admire your ability to remain civil with the anon. commenter. I think I may have just got upset and deleted their comment, and then brooded on it for a while.
    Dont ever think about not sharing Ayak. I have found out how powerful and supportive this blogging network is during the last few weeks. I Look forward to hearing your good news, and I am concerned when things aren't wonderful for you.
    Take care, and continue to relish and enjoy the richness of your chosen different life. Love Janice x

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    1. Janice, what lovely words. Thankyou so much. You are so right about this little blogging network of ours and how we somehow manage to support each other through difficult times in particular. I did have a brief moment of considering deleting that particular comment, but I would have regretted it because I prefer people to be honest, even though their opinions may be a little misguided. We are all entitled to our opinions.

      You know you are constantly in my thoughts Janice, and I hope things are going well for you. Much love xxx

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  16. I too gasped a little when I read that comment, Ayak, and thought your reply was brilliant. Yes, you share your feelings, good and bad, with an honesty and integrity that does you great credit, but to me it is always blindingly obvious that you and Mr A love each other and are concerned for each other's welfare.

    My blog is very different from yours and I don't do as much sharing of my feelings as you do, but that is because we are different people and approach blogging in our own particular way. I love your blog and the insights you give into your life in a country and culture I have no personal knowledge of and look forward to every new post.

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    1. Thanks Perpetua. Yes we all have our own styles of blogging. I'm glad I received that comment though because although the person concerned was making assumptions, it did make me stop and think about the content of my blog. Everything we write can be open to different interpretation can't it?

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  17. I so enjoy your blog and having said that, I too have wondered if it would be much more comfortable for you in England. Your writings of Mr A does NOT cause me to doubt his feelings for you. He appears a kind man to you. It's just the hardships you face that are so unlike my life but it causes me to admire you for your strength and your compromises to be able to live in what I would consider a harsh enviroment. I have much respect for you and the pictures are wonderful. I love seeing the lanes, the rock roads and buildings and the dress of the locals!

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  18. Hi Charlotte Ann. This environment isn't as harsh as you might imagine. I wonder if I have given an inaccurate impression of it. Another reason for me to stop and take stock of how and what I write here. Of course it is very different to your environment, and years ago my lifestyle was very much different...much more affluent if you like. But I wasn't happy then...by and large I am now! To be honest, in today's economic climate, living back in England would be very difficult. I simply couldn't afford to do it.

    Glad you enjoy the pictures xx

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  19. I pop in here every now and then as I am also married to a Turkish man and I find many simularities (we live in United States for now, my home country but someday may very well move back to Turkey). I've often thought of starting my own blog but never have mainly because 1.) I'm afraid those who know me may somehow find it. :D and 2.) because I don't wouldn't want anyone to think badly of us if they did. My husband can be a VERY difficult man, (he gets this honestly from his father...the ultimate difficult man) :) but if I truly needed something he would easily walk across town in the rain or do whatever he needed to do to take care of it. He finds ways of building things out of nothing and can fix almost anything one way or the other. :) I'm glad you write honestly and I hope someday if I do start my own blog I'm able to write that way as well. There are more positives than negatives, and that is why I stay as well. Turkey is a very different place than US,it's hard for someone who has never been there and experienced it to understand, it seems like it would be a harder life in print, but it's no better/worse, just different. I love your blog and I hope you keep it exactly the same. :)

    Terri in US

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    1. Hello Terri and thankyou for your interesting comment. Turkish men can be difficult at times..some more than others it seems. I hope you will start a blog about your life. I am sure that it will be interestering and you can count on me to follow it. I think it's possible to remain pretty anonymous when you blog, like I have, by choosing a different name and writing in a way that you don't disclose too much that can be picked up by those you'd prefer not to read it. xxx

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