Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Bad Girl" Past Haunts This Good Woman's Present

Dear Tazi:

Growing up, I was a “bad girl”. I lost my virginity at the age of 12, and was never without a boyfriend thereafter – even if the “relationship” was nothing more than a series of booty calls. I cleaned up my act during my senior year of college, when I met the man who is now my husband, “Daryl”.

Daryl was the first man who had ever turned down my advances for sex, and instead asked me why I felt the need to sleep with men in order to gain their love. I could see he was completely disgusted with who I was, but I was infatuated with him nonetheless and pursued a friendship by showing up at his church to attend mass every Sunday. It was during this pursuit of Daryl that I honestly found God and sought to change my ways. Seeing the change in my attitude was an honest one and not just a ploy for his attentions, Daryl and I started dating and were married after my graduation. That was twenty years ago, and life has been wonderful ever since.

After we got married, I left my old life behind me – literally. Daryl and I moved back to his Bible Belt hometown, where I am now the mother of his two children; a PTA Mom; and a Sunday school teacher. Nobody in my new life knows about my past, and Daryl is fine with my desire to keep it all a big secret. He tells me that my past behavior does not concern him, just my present and future behavior.

My problem is that, at the request of my children, I started a family Facebook page. On our page are updates about the kids’ schoolwork, my work with the church, and Daryl’s job. We post pictures and have generally been having a great time with it. I did not post my maiden name anywhere on the page, so it never occurred to me that people from my past might find me – but several of them have.

My old friends from college remember Daryl and while searching for him on Facebook found the family page I created – along with all the details of who I am now, and have been for the past twenty-one years. Several of these people have sent friend requests that I have ignored because I am afraid to answer them. These are people who remember the old me, and I would rather my children and my community not hear stories of who I once was or, even worse, see pictures of the things I used to do during my bad girl days.

I have set my privacy settings so that people cannot “tag” me in pictures without my permission, and I am just hoping that any old pictures of me that are posted are not seen by anyone from my current life. Do you think starting this Facebook page was a mistake? If I decide to get rid of it, how should I explain my decision to my children? Is my sordid past always going to haunt me, or do you think the new leaf I have turned over will outweigh the past I am seeking to erase?

Sinner Been Saved

Dear Sinner Been Saved:

I have figured out the timeline from the information you gave me, and it sounds like you came of age during the early 1980’s – a time when the 1970’s free-love movement was just ending as the era of condoms, STD’s and AIDS began. While this could partially explain your wild child behavior, I get the impression that the reasons for it are much more deep rooted than the cultural mores of the time. Judging from your complete and total turn-around, I believe that whatever the issues you had as a child they have been resolved as an adult – and that is the key factor in this matter: you were a child when you lived the role of the “bad girl”. You were a newly minted adult when you made the conscious decision to turn your life around and dedicate yourself to a new path.

The time you have spent as a wife, PTA Mom, and a Sunday school teacher is more than double the time you spent as a “bad girl”, so please remind yourself of that fact when the stress of your past threatens to derail your current sense of serenity. Although you will never be able to outrun your past, try to remember that you are not the only person who has changed. The class valedictorian who was going to take on the world is probably a stay-at-home-mom with five kids; the peace-loving hippie might be a Wall Street trader; and your old friend are all probably recovering “bad” girls and boys themselves who would be just as mortified if old pictures of them found their way onto the Internet. Since you made your transformation from “bad girl” to “Saved Sinner” during your senior year of college, the dramatic change in you should not come as any surprise to these people.

If the people who have sent you Facebook requests are people with whom you honestly want to reconnect then by all means accept their friend requests, and for your own piece of mind send them a private message asking them not to reveal the gory details of your past, as they can see that you have long since left that life behind. On the other hand, if these people from your past are people you are content to leave there you are under no obligation to accept their friend requests.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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