I post a picture of the sunrise on Instagram and hashtag the location. Almost immediately I get a series of messages from A., someone who has never been more than a casual acquaintance, probing into my whereabouts with a series of increasingly invasive questions, undeterred by my lack of response. It’s the first time I’ve heard from A. since July 2021.
A.’s friend used to compete against me at work, and it didn’t discourage her that I refused to waste my time and energy on entering the competition, perhaps it spurred her on to compete even harder, hoping for some sort of acknowledgement on my part that we were rivals. (In vain; I don’t compete with anybody but myself.) She would love to know where I am and what I’m up to, so A. is trying to wrench that information from me to pass to her.
In brief, someone who doesn’t bring any value into my life has no second thoughts about prying into it, eager to reduce it to gossip fodder and feed on it with relish, sharing the meal with someone who doesn’t wish me well. How many times do we know that something like that is the case and still relent for fear of coming across as impolite if we refuse to answer direct questions, even if we don’t feel like answering them, even if we feel that our privacy is being invaded? Every time is one too many.
I’m not obliged to offer up morsels of my life for other people’s consumption, not even when I post a picture of the sunrise tagged with a specific location on social media.
Those I love share the sunrises and the sunsets with me; those who love me not had better make their own sunshine.