This is probably going to be a pretty stupid, self-centered read, especially for anyone who has already decided not to blog anonymously.
I intended to keep this blog anonymous. Yes, there was a small part of me that relished the idea of becoming blogger-famous although I don’t think that blogger-fame is really a thing anymore or that blogger-book deals are really happening given the state of the publishing industry. Also, this blog was not destined to be a great work of literary masterpiece worthy of a book deal. So there didn’t seem to be a huge advantage to not being anonymous.
Also, I married Husband, who is kind of a paranoid lunatic about privacy. I’ll go back to this point in a moment.
So I hid identifiers like location, industry/profession, and face. Some things are easier to hide than others. For example, I have no problem not sharing a photo of myself, because my face is not especially attractive or photogenic, so adding a photo of myself would not enhance my blog in any way. Other things are more challenging. It would be nice not to have to speak about my industry/profession so obliquely, but because it’s somewhat niche, I don’t feel comfortable being more specific.
Then there are certain things I can’t hide. I can’t make up family members I don’t have. I think and write like an American because I am American. I’m obviously Jewish. My writing voice is really feminine. As much as I hate young people generally, I can’t convincingly pretend to be part of another age demographic. I just don’t sound like, say, a 20-year-old or a 60-year-old. I get excited about things I’m into, and that reflects in the comments I leave (and vice-versa – I can’t really fake interest in a hobby I don’t have).
In any case, I have posts that I would like to publish that will include more identifiers. Granted, anonymity on the internet was always an illusion. But I have to accept that the more identifiers I post, the more likely it is that someone in my in-person life, eg. family members, friends, coworkers, potential employers, can find this blog. And there is probably a reason I didn’t share what I’ve written here with them directly. Recently, I re-read through my posts with the lens of, Would I care if my parents/siblings/friends/coworkers/potential future employers* read this? and Should I unpublish this so they won’t?
[*I didn’t mention Husband here because I already know how Husband feels about this. He knows about the blog. He is not thrilled. He knows the blog name and could read it at any time, but hasn’t done so because he has no interest.]
It was a funny exercise, realizing what I did and did not care about certain people knowing, and then trying to decide how much I cared. Some things are obvious. I can’t have anyone work-related find out that I hate my job and industry or that I’m job-hunting or that I’m ill-prepared for this certification exam. I can’t tell my family that our marriage is a mess because Husband is their son-in-law/brother-in-law and they have a relationship with him too. True, depression and getting long overdue help for it is hardly unique and nothing to be ashamed of, but I haven’t told my family about that and don’t really want to, even though my family is actually comprised of lovely, caring, non-judgmental people.
Then there were the surprises. Like I would never tell my mother or my coworkers that I’ve been having sex fantasies about women and am probably only 80% straight, but somehow, that seems far less incriminating than telling them I hate being an aunt or that my bathroom fell apart. I’d actually like to be more open to family and Jewish community about not wanting to keep Shabbat anymore, but I’m uncomfortable with coworkers/employers reading that because I don’t feel that my job deserves that extra time on Fridays (and in the work-from-home world, it’s not all that much extra time anyway). My family doesn’t really know that I have cheated on relationships in the past, but I’m open about it to Husband and friends (I’m not proud, but I find it stupid to lie or hide), so I don’t particularly care if they read that. And then there are the posts that say more than I should have, but that I like so much that I don’t really want to take down, even if I should.
Anyway, here is the PSA: you might start to see some of these posts unpublished in the future (including this one). Know that, even if you notice some posts removed, I appreciate you having read them. Know that I saw your likes and comments, saw that you cared, and that it meant something to me, even if I later took the post down. Thank you.