Who knows me better? Google or my next-door neighbors?
Google. Hands down.
My neighbors know very little about me. They know I’m married, that my husband and I own our house. They know what kind of a car we drive. They know we have two cats. They know the kind of clothes I wear, jeans when it’s cold, skirts and dresses when it’s warm. They know I like to have friends over every now and then, and fires in the backyard. They know my husband and I got a dog but then found we didn’t have time for a stubborn, energetic 9-month old puppy. They know my husband better than me since he’s out in the yard more often.
To be honest, that might be all they know about me.
I’m logged in to Google all the time. I use it for my job with Entranced publishing, so it knows about my job as an editor. It knows my thoughts on submissions since we use Google forms to submit assessments. It can read excerpts of my stories since I use Google Drive every now and then.
My old blog was on Blogspot, so they know all about my books, my writing habits, my book reviews, my book/movie comparison posts, my writing prompts, and my random posts.
I don’t use gmail, so it can’t read my email. But they can see my search habits. I use Google by default to search when I have problems with my phone, when I want to look up a movie, when I find a quote I like and want to know who said it, when I’m looking up a meme.
Oh, they have my Youtube habits, too. They know I watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries from the beginning, and that I’m subscribed to a lot of channels that I hardly watch. They know that most of the videos I watch are music videos and movie trailers. They see my favorite videos, including a Star Wars-themed parody of “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye, the first Hunger Games movie trailer, and my husband and I reenacting our engagement in front of a group of people at a conference.
If someone only had Google to get to know me, I wonder what they’d see. They’d have my online job, the persona I put up on a blog, what I search for, the videos I watch on Youtube, to come to some kind of conclusion about me. It’d be a more fully formed picture than what my next door neighbors see through glimpses of me leaving for work or during a five minute conversation about dogs. But it still lacks so much.
If someone really wanted to get to know me, the “real” me. . .they’d have very few options. Hey, sorry, it’s nothing against that someone, but I’m a private person. I’m an introvert. There are very few people who I feel really know me. The people who I don’t have to worry around, the ones I don’t filter myself for, I could count on one hand. They come and go, of course—for example, my high school friends had that privilege, or as my sisters become young women, we’re getting closer.
When I write about it, it sounds like a lonely life, and yet my life is really awesome. Sure, sometimes I’m sad that my best friend lives like a million miles away (okay, it feels that far). Sometimes I beat myself up: “Why can’t I just be close to these people I’ve known for years now? Why do I still feel like I’m only showing part of myself?” But I don’t know why. Maybe someday I’ll change, or maybe someday I’ll loosen up around this person or that person and maybe someday, we’ll hit this point where I open up. And right now (the night before I’m getting ready to go on vacation with a lot of those people I’m lucky to have in my life), I’m okay with all of this. I’m okay with being kind of withdrawn and weird. I can still have fun with my friends. I’m still me, even if not everyone knows who exactly that is. Let’s face it, not even I know who exactly that is.