THE BLOG
05/08/2013 09:44 am ET | Updated Jul 08, 2013

Family Outing

I've been outed as a fat girl. My own sister -- a size-four fashion maven -- called me "plus-sized" in an interview she gave to an international media outlet. So now a world of strangers thinks of me as a roller ball to her Sharpie.

Oh, the horror! Plus-sized is a very pejorative term in America, where female endomorphs breed contempt. Okay, so I do admit that over the past few years I have occasionally forced myself into an extra large and sometimes drifted into a 1X that blurred the line of 2X, but I thought I was merely big-boned and passing for comfortable. Guess not.

After I calmed myself by watching home shopping and inhaling vats of chocolate, I got down to thinking about how many of us enrich our own stories and conversations by icing them with juicy bits about people close to us. We may not intend malice but we do cause harm. The lift we get by spilling family members' secrets or describing them in ways they might construe as unflattering may not be worth the angst we cause by exposing them to unwanted public scrutiny. Just because we share biology and childhood memories with our family members, do we have the right to discuss them in public, describe them in detail or lay on labels? I think not.

Maybe our siblings don't want anyone to know they have an inordinate fear of hedgehogs or wear bowler hats to bed. Maybe they'd like to pretend they don't have poxy skin, terminal wrinkles or droopy drawers. Maybe they want to maintain certain cozy illusions. I say let them! It's a cruel world out there and if our relatives want to indulge in the comfort soul food of pretense or denial, that should be no skin off anyone's surgically altered nose! It's certainly no one else's business.

I blame Twitter! It's made possible the instant transmission of every thought and deed. That's made lots of us too comfortable with transparency. The new popular theory is that everyone enjoys stripping off in public. Not true. There are still some among us who negotiate the world wearing ski masks, sunglasses and ankle-length greatcoats. We enjoy being anonymous, in disguise and under the radar. We crave going un-noticed by curious crowds. We treasure our privacy and we shouldn't have to worry about being exposed by "loved ones" who believe privacy is an old fashioned notion.

So next time you have the urge to mouth off about any of your relations, bite on a stick, hit a pinata, wrestle a pit bull -- do anything you can to restrain yourself. Stop and consider that those folks might not want to be outed on any level. Instead, describe your own pudgy parts, peculiar proclivities, hideous habits, and flagrant flaws and leave your family members alone! Remember, they have their own stories to tell and if you're not careful, they might let the world know your childhood nickname was "wormhole"!