It’s 03:30 and I ought to be asleep. I went to bed 90 minutes ago and I don’t struggle with insomnia; however, what I do struggle with is being a night owl (trying to shift my body closer to normal human sleep times…a fruitless attempt I make now and again) whose brain activity and creativity start really turning up around 21:00 (and it’s quite loud even at its quietest) and continue until about 04:00. My new tactic is to turn on my phone and try to pour out words, to-do list items, etc, and then roll back over, hoping an info dump will let me sleep. So far, my body and brain are proving no match for my will or my tactics…But at least I’m waking up to half-written blog posts. Like this one. Wonder what I think about whilst I fall asleep? Here’s one of the things… (And, yes, I finished it once I was out of bed.)
Recently, I was on a tour bus, being hit on even though I made it clear it was a ‘no.’ To their credit, the person doing the hitting was doing that thing you’re supposed to do when hitting on someone (or when trying to get to know them): they were asking me about myself. The more they asked, the more I resisted. Finally, I said, ‘I’m just a very private person. Anything I care to share about myself is in my songs.’ (Or in blogs, apparently.) They accused me of just trying to promote myself. But that’s not the case. I really do put most my time, energy, and resources into making the music go.
Soon after, I had a conversation with one of my sisters about this, and realised that I was becoming increasingly private (instead of just staying at my past level of private, which was already a bit more than what appears to be the norm). And, as we talked about it, I had a sort of epiphany about why this was going on. I’m sharing so that, the next time you’re cornering me and trying to learn things about me that you won’t find in lyrics and blogs, you’ll understand when I start dodging. And maybe even take pity on me. Heh.
There are two reasons that I’ve identified, though there might be more lurking in my noisy brain.
The first that came to me had to do with those lyrics that are what I’m already using to expose myself. Because all my lyrics are truths, because (even if you can’t read them clearly as journal entries) they expose a lot about me, and because I am an introvert pouring so much of myself outside of me….The more I do that, the further into privacy I tend to withdraw on all other fronts. Even with friends and friendly social acquaintances. Even with topics that you can’t imagine I wouldn’t want to talk about.
To make me dig my heels in a bit deeper, there’s social networking. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against social networking on either a personal or a professional level. But, as the whole world knows, social networking means people expect to know everything. And we willingly tell the whole world the instant we eat something, see a film, fight with a partner, and on and on. We expect to share and we expect others to share with us. Somewhere in there, people’s usual levels of curiosity got switched into some sense of entitlement and obligation.
The fact is, there are some situations in which people owe each other information. Specific information. But, for the most part, most people don’t need to know almost anything about us. (Yes, I know, knowing things about each other is part of how we build relationships. I’m not going to pretend that my increasing desires for privacy are within currently normal boundaries or that my knee-jerk response when my boundaries are pressed are entirely logical and reasonable. And, yes, I share and build relationships. Anyway…) I deeply appreciate all those who are graceful when I (try to gracefully) deflect their questions. Because sometimes complete strangers don’t even know my name before they’re asking loads of questions. (No joke. A herd of boys recently did that without introducing themselves or asking my name.) Because sometimes, even after I tell someone that they’ve asked a question I’m not comfortable talking about (and, yes, these include things that ‘normal’ people would consider uncomfortable), they press me. I have conversations (sometimes deep ones), post blogs, update the Facebook status sometimes, and tweet when I want to (sometimes even about topics you might expect people not to be open about), but you might guess that the entitlement attitude doesn’t work well for me. But…
Like I said, I’m putting all sorts of personal stuff into those lyrics of mine. And when I get up on stage to sing them for you, when it looks like I’m having an emotional experience delivering those songs, it’s deeply, personally, sincerely me. I’m giving you more than I’d give even most friends and family if they wanted to have a straight-forward conversation. But, hey, get my music career big enough to get me in NME or Rolling Stone and maybe I’ll open up some more…At least, until that happens, you’ll know it’s not personal when I decline to answer your curiosity 😉