I don’t know how many of my family members read my blog. I tried to sign up for Sitemeter, but it routinely tells me that no one has visited my blog, which is not only insulting but clearly untrue given that comments keep appearing. It is either an issue between Sitemeter and WordPress or, and this is more likely, a user malfunction due to my complete idiocy. Regardless, I cannot track where people are reading, so I have no idea if there are relatives out there, silently reading away.
It would take about thirteen seconds into a Google search for them to stumble onto this site, provided they know my married name. Only half of them do, as I have been careful to never have my maiden name and my married name published together. I simply do not want to be easily findable for my father, stepmother, and half-brother. The rest of them, however, do know my married name, and they may well be reading these very words. That is, if they have cared to Google me.
Make no mistake about it – I make it a regular habit of searching for all of them. In fact, I paused writing this is order to click over to Facebook and see who I could find. And then I clicked again, remembering another relative who might be there…
I search for my father and stepmother I think to make sure they are still alive. I am not ready for them to die, yet. When they are gone, there will be no one left who ought to feel responsible. Reviling them is a little part of who I am, and to lose that will shift my identity. It remains to be seen how much.
I search for my cousins to make sure they are doing well, happy and successful. They are, as far as I can tell, although their Facebook pictures can only tell so much. I hope to see a wedding one of these days, but they are either gay (the state they live in is one of the 45), single, cohabitating, or just not into publishing their marriages. I get that; I did not have a wedding announcement because that would have pretty openly connected my maiden and married names.
My half-brother, however, did have a wedding announcement. Actually, it was an engagement announcement, but it was published at the time of the marriage, as though they were perhaps afraid of making the event public knowledge in advance. Did they fear I would show up? What did they think I would do?
This is a recurring theme with my highly un-Googlable family. For a group of professionals, there just ain’t much out there on most of them. Have they done this for the same reason I kept my married and maiden names separate? Are they thinking of me the same way I am thinking of them? Are they concerned that I may show up?
Only my two cousins are openly out there, and even they keep their Facebook cards close to the chest, as do I. Perhaps they are the ones who know I will leave them alone. They are the most innocent of all, and I will never impose my version of my relationship with my family upon them. When they want to find me, I am easy to locate, because I am the most Googlable of all my relatives.
What I think it comes down to is that I search for all of them because a part of me wants to think that they are searching for me. That we are quietly watching one another’s lives, even though we are never likely to openly communicate again. I vaguely consider us all tied to one another by the web of estrangement, living our lives but every now and then, late at night, crossing paths over the internet as we seek one another out.
This post is for Jen, but I think it might also be a little bit for all of them.