The very first blog I had was anonymous.
Until the day my mom found it and we stopped speaking for several months because of the things I’d said about her.
That was awesome.
Since then, I’ve started a new blog and leaked more and more personal information about myself through it. My husband, dad, step mom, siblings, in-laws, boss and old high school classmates have read this blog at some point. Some read it daily, some try really hard to pretend it doesn’t exist, and some read it but don’t ever mention they read it – which is cool.
Oh, and my mom uses it to keep tabs on my mental health.
Which basically means that when I act like an asshole, I get to do it in front of everyone. Yay.
I was talking to another blogger recently about the fact that I forget sometimes that blogging is no longer me talking to myself. I suppose it’s because of that ability to temporarily forget that it’s still so cathartic for me. I get to puke my guts out and work through the muddled up crap in my head until it’s not so muddle up anymore.
And then I hit publish and am promptly reminded that I am not puking in a vacuum. Which is fine 99.9% of the time.
But every once in a while, I find myself wanting to talk to myself. I want to rant and rave without consequence. I want to tell my side without acknowledgment that another one exists.
You need an anonymous blog, Britt, the other blogger told me.
Why not? Why not set up another space where I can say whatever I want, whenever I want, without worrying about anyone watching?
Well, for one thing – I don’t have the time or attention span for that. Seriously. It takes everything I can to maintain two writing assignments, one personal blog and one review blog. (Which reminds me, shit, I didn’t write an article that needed to get done this weekend. Crap. YEAH! I have time for another blog!)
But the main reason is – I tried that once. Quite frankly, I don’t have the emotional maturity for an anonymous blog.
I have the capacity to be very, very mean. I know this about myself because I’ve seen it. I hate this. I hate knowing that I can go from zero to cruel in one flash of anger. Remove the barrier of accountability, and I’m there after a bad morning in traffic.
I don’t want to be cruel. The world has enough cruelty in it.
Besides that, I’m egocentric. I think we all are, truthfully, to a certain extent. But I have a tendency to get stuck there. All I can see is what I want and what I need and what I’m feeling. Blogging feeds that. You have a captive audience and a chance to talk with no interruptions – at least until you’re done. But once you’ve stated your case and opened the floor, you have to be prepared to face the fact that it’s no longer just about you.
I need to be reminded that there are other sides to every story. I want to be encouraged to hear another perspective.
But the biggest reason I don’t blog anonymously anymore is because it’s too easy to forget that the things you blog about aren’t things – they’re people.
The things I wrote way back when I thought no one was watching – those were things about a caricature of a woman I thought I knew. I stopped thinking about my mother – the flesh and bones person and all that meant to me – and ran wild with a distorted image in her I kept in my mind for when I needed someone to be angry at.
In a dark room, I could bitch for hours about a man who doesn’t care or notice or listen or buy me flowers. I could take every fault and flaw and stitch them together to create a cold and distant villain, the perfect opposite to my perfect heroine. But that’s not the same as writing about my husband – a real man with real flaws and real feelings and real love and a real story of his own to tell if he wanted to.
It’s not only not fair to those people for me to strip away their humanity – it’s not good for me.
Now that’s not to say that anyone who has an anonymous blog is bad. There are all kinds of reasons to remain anonymous on the Internet, and some of them are damn good ones. This is just what works for me. I don’t have a crazy person in my past to hide from or a job to worry about losing. The only reasons I would have to be anonymous are so I could say whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted without having to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings.
And, well, that’s just not a good enough reason for me.
This post sounded much more interesting when I started it last night before I finished my last cigarette. Apparently nicotine makes you smarter and also a better writer. On top of being cool. Plesae be warned that posts over the next few days (or weeks) might also suck until I get used to wanting to choke a baby for a cigarette – or say fuck it and light up again. Whichever.
EDITED TO CLARIFY: The other blogger wasn’t at ALL telling me that I had to have or SHOULD have an anonymous blog. I was whining about not being able to talk to myself anymore and needing to find another coping mechanism and she said that I’d need to have an anonymous blog to talk to myself and that that was just part of the deal with having a blog like the one I have here – with ads and promotion and ‘EVERYONE LOOK AT ME!’ style blogging (and those are my words, not hers.) This post is a result of me considering that idea for about 2 seconds. It’s not in any way a slam on people who DO have anonymous blogs, either. So. There.