I've always been a somewhat private person. Partly because I strive not to be one of those bores who shares details nobody else cares about; partly because I like to think of myself as terrifically glamorous and therefore mysterious.
But manalive could I kiss and tell. To the point where I once wrote an online series detailing every man I'd ever slept with (and no, I'm not linking). I saw it as my right: I'd lived these things, dammit, and I was going to share them. So the guy who put scrunchies around his dick (it was the '90s; men wore scrunchies, okay?), the Spaniard I got busy with whilst parked outside of a bullring—fair game. This extended to areas other than sex: In a misguided period of thinking I was Kathleen Hanna, I scribbled words on my wrists in black Sharpie and embroidered my jeans with statistics like my weight*.
Then somewhere around 30, the joy of the tell-all (or tell-more for those of us who fancy ourselves a bit Garbo-eseque), I stopped reveling in telling people about who I was dating. I started to feel like it might even be nosy for them to be asking. I'd answer questions, truthfully, but started keeping the answers vague. The first words out of my mouth when asked "What's new?" were no longer words like Andrew, Eric, or Mark.
I read something about tantric sex about how when all the energy that was created in sexual buildup goes back into sex instead of being released through an orgasm. (Bo-ring!) I don't want that in the bedroom, but I began to feel like that about myself. I stopped wanting to leak out the trials of what he did this week that put him in the ix-nay zone, or how maybe we were cosmically linked after all. I still ruminated (read: obsessed) over some of those things, but by keeping those little minnows of thoughts within, I was able to wait until the fish grew to something sizeable. (Apologies to Virginia Woolf for the fish metaphor.) The relationships didn't necessarily grow, but my outlook on them did.
Confessionals still appeal to me, both in reading and writing. But instead of being a collection of minutiae, they feel like something more substantial. Keeping things in allows me to actually share the stuff that matters most, because I can separate the wheat from the chaff.
*I never wore these out of the house.