Favourite Worst (Real-Life) Nightmare

There are times when nightmares have really, truly happened, and often, the worst nightmare is being caught out. For example, being caught urinating in a public place. Or being walked in on while doing something embarrassing. Having skirts fly up in the breeze. Having pants fall down. Walking into a glass door. Lists could be endless here. It’s not just embarrassing moments, either. I think there are two other kinds of nightmares that can occur, that are often vocally expressed like so: 1) “I’d rather be dead than be caught listening to Justin Bieber”, or 2) “I seriously hope my parents don’t find out about this”.

I’m pretty guilty of the latter. I’m not a goody-two shoes, but I’m not very rebellious either. Like typical rebellious daughters, I don’t do drugs or drink until I get trashed, I don’t drive a car when I don’t even have a licence, I don’t go out late and ignore my parents’ phone calls. Like most daughters, when I’m in a bad mood I yell at my parents, I also hate doing housework sometimes, and my room is a mess.

I began web design about ten years ago but didn’t have a personal website until 2003. I had just been learning to work my head around HTML and CSS. When I decided to make a personal website and include a detailed profile of myself, the only digital photograph I had of myself was a photo of me in a ballet costume performing the Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite. Back then, digital cameras were expensive and I had obtained a digital copy of this photograph thanks to my ballet teacher. I didn’t think twice and I put it straight on my website, along with a substantial amount of information about myself.

I was level-headed, I was well-informed, I was careful, but I was also naive, and perhaps gave out too much information. The internet is full of predators, though over the past few years – dare I say – it has become a more interactive platform and people are interacting via Twitter and even advertising themselves to employers via websites like LinkedIn. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s safer, but it’s become more of an outlet for people to connect than it was before.

In 2003, I was 12. Ooh, come on. No parent likes their twelve-year-old chatting to other people online. Though I was regularly chatting with Rhiannon (whom some of you might remember from PetShopGirlsReviews.com before she disappeared, or if you remember her before then, she owned petshopgirl.tk) and other people who owned blogs and websites, my mum wasn’t pleased when I told her I was chatting to some random chick on Messenger from Perth, and she doozed up and ranted about how this girl could be some freaky old man who lived just around the corner. I was just thinking, come on, fat chance.

Ages ago, my uncle used to send a crapload of chain mail to my mum. My mum used to refer to this particular one, in which there was some ridiculous story about this girl who started talking to a boy online. One day there was a man following her as she walked home from basketball practice, and as soon as she reached home, she rushed inside and shut the door. Her parents obviously asked her what was wrong, and it turns out the man following her was a douchebag hired by her parents to teach her a lesson about chatting to people online. I hate that story, FTR.

Anyway, my mum found my website. She told me to remove the information about myself. She was not very pleased. Much later, I put my information back up there (oo, rebel). My mum never asked about my websites again. Over the years, I can say I’ve revealed much about myself through my blog and have interacted with many other bloggers, and I know when something could pose a risk or not. However, over time I have come to learn that the blogging community is also a lovely one, and anyone I interact with is most likely another blogger with the same mindset as me.

Given that, I was still always cautious about what I wrote on my blog in case anyone from my family came across it. I still am – and there are some things I don’t mention at all on my blog. No one in my family is really aware of my blog address or really visits it. Recently, I also changed my name on some websites so I would be a little less discoverable – it has been quite some time that Googling my full name gives a vast array of results. (This actually doesn’t bother me all that much.)

My mum recently got a smartphone and likes that it gives her the ability to check her email. She can also save time while she is sitting on the couch, not quite in the mood to use the computer, but she can research the internet. Unfortunately that leaves her resorting to her phone as a cure for boredom, and one day as I was brushing my teeth, I heard her saying loudly:

“Hello, I’m Georgina. My favourite colour is red.
In case you hadn’t guessed that already.”

I stopped mid-brush, nearly swallowing some toothpaste.

I guess you could say that one of my worst nightmares was having my parents find me on Google. I imagined I’d have bricks falling out of my backside.

I said, “That’s my portfolio. How did you find it?”

As soon as I said that, I regretted asking her. She calmly told me that she had been looking for the origin of some foreign names and looking at foreign names in general when the idea occurred to her to Google my name. Me! Of all people. She said this, briefly pausing at times, and said she thought I had written beautifully on my portfolio and that it was really quite impressive.

The bricks stopped threatening to fall out of my backside. I stood there just nodding slowly as my mum surfed my portfolio (which contains quite a substantial amount of information about myself) on her phone. She asked me how employers reacted when I had interviews and how I used my portfolio to show them my work. I mean, come on, you still gotta explain this kind of thing to parents.

“I Googled your brother and I couldn’t find everything… you have so much. Look! Twitter, LinkedIn… what is LinkedIn, by the way? And a blog, owned by you…”
“I know, I’ve Googled myself before…”

I guess my mum finding me on Google wasn’t so bad.

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