Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family Matters

With all of the conveniences that technology affords us, I think as a society we tend to focus on the positives far more than the negatives. But my current situation has me suddenly viewing the Internet in a whole new light and realizing how difficult it is to control information.

To sum up a very complex situation, my immediate family (parents, siblings) is not on speaking terms with the entire rest of my family (that's mostly my parents' fault, my siblings are too young to know about it). I, however, made a choice about 4 years ago to be involved with both sides under the condition that the rest of the family not learn anything about my immediate family. No news, no photos, no whereabouts, nothing. I am also not permitted to tell my younger siblings that they have other relatives. I will also be excommunicated if I do not abide by these rules and I would miss my siblings greatly. So up until now, the situation has been mostly without issues. The rest of the family respects this divide and I take care to have family members over only at certain times so their paths will not be crossed. I do not hang photos of any of my family (mostly). And I have been lucky in that my activities on FB and Twitter are not followed by my (mostly) technologically-inept relatives. But today that has changed.

My aunt, with whom I am very close, just joined FB and friended me. On one hand, I am extremely excited that she has joined the addictive community. But on the other, I have photos with siblings, am friends with other relatives that could complicate the situation, etc. I have been great at compartmentalizing my life into separate families, much as a child of divorced parents probably. But how do I do this on FB? I can't completely hide all aspects of my different lives from each other. And I'm tired of doing it. As my siblings get closer and closer to adulthood, I also have to ask myself, "Will I tell them about the rest of their family or not? Can I trust them with this knowledge? What will happen if my parents find out?" Oh, families.

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