On Sunday, legendary actress Jodie Foster received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globe Awards. Much ado has been made of her sincere (and lengthy) acceptance/coming out speech. Tucked between her big reveal, and her advice on how to survive in Hollywood (or any treacherous environment) and what sounded like a retirement announcement, was a dropped gem that few picked up on:
“Privacy. Someday, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.”
A few weeks ago, someone wrote into my Formspring page and asked me what I thought of people who only talked about the best or functional parts of their life and left out the worst and dysfunctional. She wondered too, if not airing dirty laundry was cause to call someone a “stunt queen.” The tone of the question hinted that there was something wrong with a person for keeping some mystery about themselves or just keeping their business out of the street.
My response was something like, ‘I think a person who doesn’t tell all their business is smart. Unless it’s a close friend, why should they be divulging their dirty secrets and deepest hurts just because?”
That seems to be a rare outlook. There are more current or ex-groupie tell-all books than anyone can count, and countless women clamoring to sign up for reality shows that exploit the worst parts of their lives. Anyone on late-night Twitter has been witness to the oversharing of lonely folk with no one to talk to so they tipsy tweet instead of drunk dial. Apparently there are still people who use Facebook for more than an online photo album and since they aren’t limited to 140 characters in their status updates, they’re known to go all emo about their frustrations with their partner, (or the partner they wish they had). Oh and in bafflingly bad judgment, they write about the current job they can’t stand.
Perhaps you’ve born witness to the friend who puts her whole life on Instagram, seemingly not understanding that if she were really having the fun that she wants everyone who sees her pictures to think she’s having, she wouldn’t be standing around taking pictures of herself, interrupting her friends (or strangers) to take pictures of her and uploading and formatting pics all night.
No matter how many articles are written, reminding and warning people of their Internet imprint and how it lasts forever-ever, some folk just can’t stop themselves from spilling the beans. It might be fun or funny to overshare in the moment, but too many people forget that most of the folks they tell their loose business to are either laughing at them or just stockpiling the information to one day use against them. That’s just kind of the world we live in.
Privacy. Practice it. We shouldn’t wait until the future to appreciate it. By then it will be too late.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk