When I was in college, my boyfriend John used to scowl and say, “I don’t want you to write about me.”

“Too bad,” I’d reply. “If you date a writer, you are fair game for being written about.”

Taylor Swift has been the object of finger-pointing as she sings about “We are never ever getting back together,” but really, it’s her right to pour her emotions of relationships-gone-bad into her songwriting. That’s the way of artists, you know.

While I know plenty of writers who bare-all and tell-all, no matter who gets hurt in the process, I’ve never been one of those. However, I subscribe to the belief that anything in my life is fair game for me to write about, as long as I can live with the aftermath.

Whenever I write about family or friends, I do so with their dignity and privacy in mind. I give lots of time and thought to what I say before hitting “Publish,” and I try to tell my story with reverence for the dignity and respect of others.

I don’t chew others out on social media sites. I don’t complain…much. I try to see the sunny side of life. And I damn well try to emphasize the beauty of the relationships I am in.

That said, anyone whose path crosses mine is fair fodder for my writing.

Gone are the days when I was voted “Class Gossip,” a designation I hated in high school. I’ve overcome it because now I know that what I write contributes to the universal conversation about truth, peace and love.

When I write with reverence about my grandmother or my children, I do so with love and respect, knowing that I am honoring their importance in shaping me and in making this world better. I honor their role in impacting those around them, the lessons their personalities and talents and presence offer.

And, at the age of 41, I really thought I was beyond hearing from family that they have a problem with what I write.

I’ve heard it so many times before. I’m ok with that. Because, at 41, I am strong enough, confident enough and gentle enough (yeah, that happens with age!) to say kindly, “I hear what you’re saying, but it is my right to write about my relationships.”

I’m sorry, people, but if you’re that uncomfortable with what I write, don’t read it. I’m so glad I’ve learned that I cannot control others, so I make choices that I can live with rather than lash out and blame those around me for my own discomfort.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and cherish the closeness we all share. But I stand strong in the belief that just because we are related does not give us the right to tell each other what to do.

Live and let live. Judge yourselves. There is no room in this life to judge others. We are all on our own journeys.

I’m proud of the stories I’ve shared here about a woman who has guided my life since the day I was born.

Sorry if I offended you. But that’s really not my problem. You can’t please everyone. And you really shouldn’t try.

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