I’ve been thinking a lot lately about anonymous blogging, partially owing to Tiny Rubies’ post on the subject. A few weeks ago, I was toying around with similar ideas, though certainly I didn’t so eloquently put them down.
I can only say this: The new “normal,” the new online journaling environment is a struggle for me. I seem to have trouble navigating it at every turn. Back in the day (2000 to 2010-ish), I took care to leave off all identifying characteristics of myself and everyone else I knew when I wrote online. Even after talking on and offline for years, less than a handful of the other online diarists I was friends with knew the real names of the people I talked about. And boy, did I ever talk! It makes me more than a little cringe-y to imagine putting 75% of those things out there now. Then, my online diary was so indistinguishable from my paper one that while I was writing online, I totally stopped keeping the ubiquitous notebook that I had kept on my person since I was ten. I have no doubt that I over-shared with regularity, and my twenties and thirties were the most drama-infested of my life (or anyone else’s, I’d wager). Without batting an eye, I chronicled the ends and beginnings of relationships, as well as the everyday ups and downs that led to them. Most of the time, my readers even knew when I was getting a little “action.”
Jesus, I need wine just to think about it.
But I was fearless, and there’s an undeniable appeal in that, even now that I’m older and wiser. I guess I want there to be a happy medium for my online journaling, and for me as I exist here inside its entries. Presently, I put down on the page the interesting things I do and see, but I seem mostly to be stopping myself at the feeling. I know what my creative writing teachers would say if they were reading: there’s no blood going to it. I think they’re wrong; I’m just bleeding on the keyboard and on the backspace key where you all can’t see it. But yes, by the time it gets posted, a lot of it is bloodless. I only seem to find the more carefree version of myself in writing that is a decade old, and I end up re-posting that old stuff more than I would like (though I almost always have to go through it with a fine tooth comb beforehand to make sure it won’t offend anyone). It’s a strange spot to inhabit, because a big part of me really likes that there are people I actually know reading now. But again, I’m sure as hell not posting the stuff I used to.
Truth be told, I’m actually not sure about the extent to which I’d write like that again even if I felt entirely safe doing so. I grew up online, but I think the process was completed in the four or five years I spent away, when I was keeping my thoughts to myself. If I had gone back to my trusty Mead notebook in that time, I might never have come back to online journaling; but alas, I only have so much willpower, and I was using it to do other things. I put pencil to paper about twenty times in the four years I was gone, and that was it. Writing here again makes me push myself just a little bit, just enough. I tell myself I have to sit down and do this once a day, and then I have to make the rounds and read you all. It makes me move my brain around for awhile every day, and I also have to use the writing muscles that had just damned near atrophied.
I’ve said this before–I miss the community, and I’m trying to find it again. It isn’t easy, primarily because I have no idea who my community is anymore. I’m not nearly as young as I used to be, so those people who are putting it all out there and bleeding all over the interwebs aren’t my people anymore, though I can surely identify with where they are in their lives. Maybe it’s the younger me I miss. Then again, maybe I’d just like to see her again so I can slap the shit out of her.
I don’t know. I do know that I feel awfully exposed nowadays, and it’s definitely choking off my flow. I use my real name to blog here, and my mother, my husband, and my entire (real life) Facebook circle of friends have the address at their fingertips should they choose to use it. And of course, if I ever decide to trade in my SAHM card to go out and look for a real job, no HR person worth their salt would hire me without a Google search. I don’t know how the world of the employed works anymore — do people still get Dooce’d?
Eh, I’ll figure it out. I’ll get some blood flowing to it again. I guess when it comes right down to it, I’m going to have to sink or swim. Shit or get off the pot. Say something or sit down and shut up. Thank goodness I’ve never been one to back down from a fight, even when it’s with myself.