Is there really no place to hide?


Normally, when I am feeling a little panicked or out of place, I call one of my friends and go on and on and on about what is bothering me. Somehow, by getting all my emotions out of my head, I usually feel better and more centered. What I often forget, is that after I vent, the receiver of my emotional words (even here on this website) is left with all my intense, heat-of-the-moment information. I move on, but they are left with my crap and can now form their opinions based on my out-bursts. Ewwwwwwww! With most of my friends, I also trust that my confidence will not be broken. Sadly, sometimes it is. When I lived in a more populated place, I felt more buffered and really didn’t care when someone blabbed my secrets. Hey, I like to talk too. But then again, when I lived in a bigger place, most of the time, I wouldn’t know that you were talking about me. So maybe it is not fair for me to expect so much more of the people here.

Before I moved back to Utah, I thought I had licked this kind of behavior. I no longer felt like I had to call someone every time I was lonely or upset. I felt free. I felt confident with who I had worked so hard to become. You see, in DC, I could be me without fear of constant scrutiny or judgement. I could isolate myself, even while I was at the mall or walking down the street. No one at the mall or at the local coffee shop knew me or knew my business. I was just the woman pushing two young children in a stroller. And when I felt blue, I could walk to my local Great Harvest, see the familiar faces, get a free slice or two of bread from my Great Harvest friends and then stroll out of their life, until we needed more bread. When I was feeling depressed or nutty, I could call my good friend, who lived a ten minute drive away, talk her ear off and then hop in the car and meet her at the local Baja Fresh or Purple Park. Ah, those were the days. We saw each other all the time, but when she went home, I had absolutely no idea what she was doing in her front yard and that is how I liked it.

I felt like I had reached a point of emotional calm and balance. That was, until I moved back to Utah and in a moment of insecurity, loneliness or lack of anonymity, I slipped back into my self-doubting behavior. Maybe, my hand had been forced and I wasn’t as together as I thought I was. In DC, I was merely in a bigger place, where I had more places to hide. Here, I can’t walk out my door, without people thinking they know where I stand religiously, politically and morally. How daunting. It’s my own reality television show, full of drama, judgement, good days, bad days and touching moments. As far as which character I play, I guess if you asked around my neighborhood, I would be labeled, the oppositional, out-spoken, funny, overly sensitive one.

Does it seem weird that my blog feels way more private than my neighborhood does? I can’t see you and you can only see this part of me. Not so in my community. At the beginning of the school year I was standing outside of Kyle’s new kindergarten class when a mother announced to the rest of the people standing there, “You are moving to Park City. I didn’t know you were moving to Park City.” I was caught off guard, because that is information I specifically had kept from the class. The mother then told me how she found out (and no, I did not say gossip). One of my neighbors’ daughters has dance class with this mother’s daughter and while they were getting to know each other, I happened to be their common ground. Was it a big deal that my neighbor gave out personal information about me? Probably not. Ok. Ok. I know this can and does happen anywhere. I am not even upset with my neighbor, because the Park City comment is just a very safe example of how information travels. In a small community, it just words seem to travel faster and travel back to other people you may know. My little beef is that sometimes I would like people to form their opinions through me instead of having them constantly formed by an outside third party until I am no longer Beth, just someone else’s’ opinion someone projected onto me. I am not used to this happening every single day, over and over again. It gets a little overwhelming. I could give more examples, but I don’t want to unintentionally hurt anyone.

99% of the time, living just feet from several people, who are all friends, is a very good and comforting thing. I love that I have two other neighbors, who also grew up in Minneapolis. It is a trip to live just doors from a good college friend. And so what, if one of my neighbors interned with my former therapist. (She thinks he is awesome too.) I am a little claustrophobic and that’s my own problem. I only hope I can get past those moments when I feel batty or blue. Right here and now, unlike when I lived in a much bigger place, I cannot hide. If I walk out the door feeling insecure or blue, I need to buck up and remember that those feelings will pass. I need to remember that the people, who judge me have bad moments too. Forgiveness is key and I also can’t forget that every time I don’t buck up, I will be sure to see the repercussions of my behavior play out for months and months to come.

Before you comment on what some kind souls have observed, I totally need to clarify something about my Park City example:


WHY I Used Park City as an example, is because it is the only benign thing I could think of to (hopefully) illustrate my thought. I did not want to use a more edgy or malicious example (I have many of those), because this post wasn’t about pissing people off. I was hoping you all would pick up on that, but I can see now that I wasn’t very clear.

9 thoughts on “Is there really no place to hide?

  1. As I was reading this, I kept thinking about the church I grew up in. It was a small church and everyone knew everyone’s business. Then, I grew up and went to a very large church where I could come and go and no one would notice. And I LOVED IT. I loved being able to hide among all of the people and not worry about gossip or people whispering behind my back because no one really even knew I existed.

    But then, I missed the closeness of the small church. I missed people knowing who I was and stopping to catch up over coffee after church.

    But I didn’t miss everyone being all up in my business.

    So, I just stopped going to church all together! Problem solved.

    So, I guess, in a way, I can totally relate to what you are saying. Just in a different way.

  2. I really enjoy listening to your craziness. It keeps my mind off of mine for a little bit. Feel free to talk all the crazy you want, I’ll listen! 😉

    I grew up in the smallest town imaginable and couldn’t wait to get somewhere that people didn’t know me and couldn’t judge me for what I was in third grade, but then after being away for years and years, it was very nice to come back to a place where the folks knew my name and knew my family and knew bits of what was going on in my life. I’m sure at some point it will become suffocating again, but right now it’s just what i need.

  3. Interesting…
    During the few moments of Oprah that I caught yesterday, she and Meg Ryan were discussing the issue of fame/celebrity. They both spoke nearly your identical words of having “someone else’s’ opinion someone projected onto me” via the tabloids, rumors, what have you. Perhaps you are experiencing this same type of thing in the realm of blog celebrity?

  4. I don’t understand how a comment about you moving to Park City is a judgement on you? Granted, she could have phrased it a bit better, such as “I heard you were moving to Park City, is that true?”. And granted also, the gossip factor would/does drive me CRAZY as I live in an LDS community too (Idaho), but I don’t get the judgement part?

  5. I too don’t like the feeling of someone knowing something about me that I didn’t disperse myself. Even when it’s good news, etc, I just feel weird being talked about. I know it happens. Heck, I do it too but it feels odd KNOWING about it. As harmless as it seems.

    I like to hide too. Just be anonymous and thankfully living in a big city, I can do that.

    That first part you wrote about is something I’ve been expressing to my family for years. Ever since I moved away. Because I vent, rant, whatever and then the minute I hang up I feel better but they think I feel bad until I talk to them the next time and let them know things are great again. We now have this kind of unwritten rule that we are to assume we are fine after these little outbursts unless otherwise notified. lol

    So odd this communication thing.

    I so get this post.

  6. I’ve never had the experience you describe in any community I’ve lived in. I guess I’ve been able to be pretty anonymous. And yeah, that’s one of the things I liked about living in DC. Rarely did I run into anyone I knew when I was out & about. But, on some level, I can relate to what you’re saying. I am very self protective, and personal boundaries are really important to me. Maybe that’s because my husband is a minister and in the church, people are so sure that they’ve got who I am all figured out–just because of what my husband does for a living. I sometimes am overly self-protective for fear of being hurt, misjudged, etc. As a result, I probably have a tendency to shut people out.

    As for calling friends when overwhelmed, I think that’s much healthier than what I tend to do–which is eat!

  7. You linked to me, you goose. How thrilling. I was reading along, yada yada yada, and then the DC part came (I always like the DC parts 🙂 ) and then I was thinking, “I wonder who she’s talking about? Who likes Baja Fresh? I mean, more than me?” That’s nothing to be proud of, BTW. But when you mentioned the Purple Park, I knew. I will always know who you’re talking about when you say ‘Purple Park’. We couldn’t even go there when you guys left. It was too depressing. We still won’t go.

    But that’s okay, Beth. We still have so many other parks yet to explore, even if it’s not very frequently. Like, say, PARK City! 🙂

    As for your post: Beth, remember, when you were here, we both had young children who weren’t in school yet. We could still be anonymous SAHMs. But once the kids matriculate into school, so do we. We become part of the social circle once again. We venture out of that cocoon that was babyhood. It hasn’t always been roses for me. I’ll have to tell you the story of when I showed up for Quinn’s elementary school’s “Fall Festival” (what they call the Halloween celebration, an evening affair with both parents in attendance) in a most atrocious costume. It was so encouraging that I was the ONLY damned parent dressed up among hundreds. Talk about comments and stares. Those are just our lovely moments of parenthood, of life, I guess.

  8. I was just going to post the same thing. I was with you all the way through until that.

    It’s why I’m so careful about how I complain about my marriage. My husband and I make up but what I’ve said when I was angry…it’s just left there. The people I talked to aren’t there for the working it out part.

    But the Park City thing? I’m not sure I’d think that was a secret really if someone I know told me they were considering a move I’d probably tell someone else I met who knew you also.

  9. MelissaS and everyone else,

    I am sorry for not articulating myself very well.


    WHY I Used Park City as an example is because it is the only benign thing I could think of to hopefully illustrate my point. I did not want to use a more edgy or malicious example (I have many of those) that has happened, because this post wasn’t about pissing people off. I was hoping you all would pick up on that, but I can totally see now that I wasn’t very clear.

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