My Mom Reads Everything I Write On The Internet
I recently read an essay about an author whose debut novel was being published, and even though she had written about the upcoming book many times all over the Internet, her parents didn’t know about it. They hadn’t seen any of her Tumblr posts or tweets or Buzzfeed pieces, and the writer had never gotten around to telling them by other means of communication.
I would never be able to get away with this. Every time I write something on the Internet, my mom knows about it (including this article–Hi Mom! I love you!). She literally reads every single word I put up on the interwebs, and almost immediately after it’s been published.
“Wait, that was published fifteen minutes ago. How did you read it already?” I asked her recently.
“Oh, I have a Google Alert for you,” she told me.
“Wait, even I don’t have a Google Alert for me!” I said in the squeaky, cartoon-mouse voice I use when I am too surprised to use my normal speaking voice.
“Well, I love you,” she said with a shrug. “I want to read everything you write.”
It’s awesome having a mom that loves you for all of the obvious reasons. But having a mom who reads every single piece you post online is more of a mixed bag of weirdness (Yes, Mom, I know you’re still reading this).
Because my mom reads everything I write, it makes me accountable not only to a bunch of strangers and randos on the Internet, but also to her, which can be tricky. No matter how honest or upfront or transparent you are as a person, you become a slightly different version of yourself with different people. You’re not the same person you are with your mom as you are with your significant other, and you’re not the same person with your significant other as you are with that cop who just pulled you over for speeding. When I write for the Internet, I have to decide which version of myself I’m going to let the world see.
Every time I place my fingers on the keyboard, I have to decide if I’m willing to live with the consequences of whatever opinion I’m about to type out. I honestly don’t care if a bunch of strangers get mad at me. But if my mom gets pissed about something I plunk down? Or something I say embarrasses her, annoys her, disappoints her? That is a fate worse than the meanest of Internet comment sections. So, I have to be careful about what I write.
At the same time, I can’t be too careful. If I’m not taking risks and pushing myself as a writer/thinker/person, my work isn’t going to be worth much to anyone. It’s an emotional tightrope act, and rest assured, I absolutely have fallen off this tightrope. Since it’s an emotional one, I didn’t fall a hundred feet and die on the pavement below, but the repercussions of writing something that doesn’t sit well with someone you love still sucks (like, the worst).
I know the reason she wants to read everything I write is precisely because of all that love. It kind of boggles my mind how much my mom loves me. Not only did she give birth to me and feed and clothe me for my entire childhood (and was totally cool about sitting on my bed and letting me rant about mean girls in middle school), now she wants to read all the things I write about online. She’ll read my writing even when it’s about television shows she doesn’t watch and pop stars she’s never heard of before.
She just wants to read whatever I write because I wrote it. Even I don’t want to read everything I write, and I wrote it.
My mom wants to be a constant in my creative life and my life in general, I don’t know what I did to deserve all that love from my straight-up gem of a mom, but it fills me with joy. My mom always says to me, “You’re my storyteller,” and I’m always so grateful and honored. I also worry that I can’t possibly live up to the enormity of this title, but I always want to try.
So is it a little bit annoying that my mom reads literally every word I put on the Internet? Yes. Is love annoying sometimes? Dear God, yes. But I’ll take annoying mom-love over annoying anything else any day of the week. Yes Mom, I know you’re still reading this, and I love you, too.