Privacy By Jasmine Drake
Guest Blogger Jasmine Drake
Privacy doesn't exist for the impoverished.
Poverty does not afford privacy. I never knew the importance of privacy until I finally had the chance to live a private life. As an individual who became a middle-class adult due to my educational and professional path, I noticed that privacy is only afforded to those who can afford it. I grew up in the South Bronx with a single mother and 2 siblings living under one roof where everything, and I mean everything, was shared. I shared a room with my siblings, shared clothes, and shared space. Nothing was private. Everything was shared and open. Living a quiet, private life couldn’t happen because every space in my childhood home was shared or filled with noise. That noise blocked out the reality of poverty we had to face.
The idea of boundaries was nonexistent in my household, so I found myself always hearing or seeing information not suitable for a young child. I couldn’t really sit in my own thoughts because I didn’t have my own space. Life was always filled with overhearing others’ conversations, watching unfiltered television shows, and listening to unfiltered music. But once I went to college, I noticed that my peers who grew up in middle-class backgrounds had a filter on what they shared with me. I was easily open and public about my life because I thought it was normal to share. But my college classmates didn’t think that sharing details about their personal lives was necessary to build and sustain a friendship. Thus, I found myself connecting to mostly international students or students who grew up in low-income backgrounds. We were all willing to share details about our lives to build a connection with each other. But now, as a young adult, I find myself filtering out what I share with people for a few reasons:
1. Living on my own: Living by myself with no roommates or friends/family has allowed me to live a quieter life. Unless I am playing music when I’m cleaning my living space, I don’t have to talk to people or share my thoughts in my living space. Thus, I have more time to live a quieter life.
2. Being Intentional about what I share: Growing up, I shared information about myself to build connections with those around me or for support. Now that I am satisfied with my connections, I don’t feel I need to share intimate details about my life. If the information I share is not going to help the individual I’m sharing it with, I am more mindful about what I choose to share with people.
3. Trusting God: A lot of times, we go to people and share our experience and what we are going through in order to gain support and encouragement. I’m learning to lean on God more and less on friends/family in order to find solutions to the challenges I may face.
4. Triggers: As a person who identifies as highly sensitive, I am empathetic to the fact that the information I share can trigger an unknown response from the other individual. That response is unknown. So I’ve become more aware of information and how it can trigger certain responses.
5. Responsibility: When sharing information, it is important to decide: 1. Whether the information is helpful to know 2. Can you trust the person with the information if you aren’t friends anymore and 3. How does this person respect their own privacy?” Sometimes we share information and have to be mindful that once we share that information, we are not the only ones responsible for that information. Some information is helpful, such as the information on the podcast, but as the saying goes “The more you know, the more you feel responsible for.”
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV of the bible, it says “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” I share my experience with you all on this post to give you an idea of what I am learning on my journey about privacy. It is ok to live a life that doesn’t involve too much noise or sharing of your experiences if you aren’t comfortable. To lead a quiet life is to lead a powerful life.