I’ve spent a large part of my life in 12-Step programs, starting early with groups like Alateen. As a result, the concept of anonymity is not an unusual one for me. I can understand its benefits and respect the power it has. Anonymity and invisibility are different, though. Anonymity is a choice you make, and invisibility is something that happens to you. Being invisible (and thereby unnoticed) is rarely a gift, at least outside the realm of comic books. Most of us like a little attention… we want to be seen and heard. I am no exception. I feel like I’ve spent too much of my life fading into the background, and for the most part, I’ve hated it. Of course, on the rare occasion when I am the center of attention, I am a wreck. I don’t know how to handle it at all.
Blogging has been interesting for me. I certainly have gotten more attention than I ever expected. But on a truly public level, I’m still fairly anonymous and I’m okay with that. I like the idea that there’s a buffer between me and what I choose to write here, or me and the world at large. I’m being seen, but it’s in a controlled way. My Facebook audience is different, obviously. Those who come here via the links I share actually know me, in the real world (I am not the kind of person who has hundreds of Facebook friends I’ve never met). Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve had a couple of awkward run-ins with people who randomly started talking to me about something I’ve written here, and I never know how to react. I don’t mind it when people just tell me they’re reading my blog; that’s completely flattering. I’ve also had a few amazingly kind comments about my writing, and that’s been beyond gratifying. It’s a huge ego boost, and clearly I can use a few of those.
I’ve never written anything here that truly embarrasses me, but there have been moments when a casual acquaintance has mentioned the blog, and I’ve felt a bit naked. Maybe not quite naked. More like that scene in “Bridget Jones” where she shows up at the fancy party dressed as a bunny… awkward and just a little exposed. It’s actually easier for me to stomach the notion of the anonymous masses (okay, masses might be an overstatement) reading my words than to ponder the idea of the mom I bumped into in the store reading them. The anonymous masses never want to discuss anything I’ve written, whereas casual acquaintances have been known to pipe in with random in-person responses when I least expect. Embarrassing? Sometimes. Blogging, at least from my angle, is pretty much a monologue. I don’t mind fielding comments here, in fact, I appreciate it. But face to face? That can be a little unnerving. I write in no small part because I’m not always comfortable with people. I wish I felt as graceful off-page as on, but that isn’t the case. This is my comfort zone. Everything else takes a lot of work.
I have thought about having a second, truly anonymous blog, one where I could say literally anything I wanted. I’ve been thinking about it more often, lately. I just don’t know how well I would manage the dual identity thing. I’m inclined to believe I would screw it up, and probably after having written a whole lot of things I really wouldn’t want attributed to me. While an anonymous blog might provide the absolute freedom I don’t have here, it seems like it might have potentially unwelcome repercussions. So for now, I think this is as anonymous as it gets. I guess that will do… I just hope I don’t end up feeling like I’m wearing ears and a tail on a regular basis.