Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blog Dangerously

I was surprised when I read through all the comments from the post "What Do You Want From Me?" and there were so many comments from people weighing whether or not it would be better to blog anonymously.

Most were finding that, when you put your name on your blog, depending on who knows about it, you might not have the same freedom to scream, cry, rant, be petty, freak out or confess to eating a whole box of Ding Dongs after laying into a coworker, friend, mother or boyfriend.

It seemed a lot of you were "editing" yourselves as you wrote. It becomes convenient to be the happy, best, most upbeat version of yourself if you know someone is reading. How can they judge you when your life is so happy/perfect/awesome/neat/tidy/not full of Ding Dongs?

But with that, certainly, comes the price of falling farther and farther away from the person you truly are, and more importantly, farther away from your purpose to blog.

Someone got all up in my Twitter last week about being "authentic" and that she thought I would find a deeper honesty if I didn't blog anonymously. And I was like, "What the fuck, are you kidding me"? She's kidding me, right? Because I could not be more honest. (Okay, I could be. But right now, I could not be more honest.) (I'm at Level 9 honesty, BTW, that's pretty frickin' good.)

There seems to be a judgement over what is or isn't authentic or brave or real. Here's the thing and I mean it. If this girl wants to put her name to her blog and she can write with 100% honesty, do it. That's great. But she might also be being honest about her favorite recipes or her new weight loss program (not that those aren't great topics to blog about). But those subjects don't have collateral damage.

I blog about super private things. It is not feasible for me to be a comedy writer and go to a meeting at a Network and then be completely thrown when an executive asks about this blog which his assistant found when they Googled my name and as my ears start to tighten, and the sweat profusely comes and all I can think about is mother-sickness-grief-kidney transplant-breakups-murder-holy shit how am I going to take this blazer back to Bloomingdales now that I'm sweating like a mother fucker-court cases-funerals.

Meeting bombed. Agent angry. Career doomed. Bills not paid. Dogs not fed. Me, eaten by dogs in the middle of the night.

That's not going to be good for anybody.

More importantly, I have a family. Let's say, I put my name to this blog, how freely could I blog about my Mom's nervous breakdown? Because that makes guys wanna date you and people want to hire you. (And for new readers, let's be kind about my Mom, her breakdown was just after the trial for the person who killed my cousin.)

So forget how it would affect me - me, now being clearly BALLS out AUTHENTIC & REAL & BRAVE for putting my name on my blog, while my mother, a therapist, loses her job because she had a nervous breakdown.

Unemployed, boyfriend-less with family not speaking to me. Good times.

I started writing this blog for so many million reasons. It was really to have a stare down contest with the second year anniversary of my cousin's death and try to do that with not only some dignity and grace but with some god damn life in me. I was daring myself to... just DO MORE with my life than just feeling bad about it.

I feel sad that these are not conversations I felt like I could have with friends. I haven't really been raised to be very open or emotional with the people I love. And yes, I'd like to change all that, yadda yadda - but the fact is, when I was 12 and my Dad had months to live if he didn't get a heart transplant (he did), it was journaling that saved me. That I could write down every fear, worry, guilt, regret, sick to my stomach thought about what the outcome might be. Even as I was split up to live with another family for a year while this surgery happened, that journal, ANONYMOUS, kept me tethered, focused, free to purge and then walk away and have some remnants of a normal little girl life.

So that's why I blog anonymously. And it can still be dangerously, as one blogger put. It's not easy, either, just because it's anonymous. It's still a force not to move back, not to rewrite, not to reread. Just lay it down. Make it bare.

It's a personal choice. It's different for everyone. This just happens to be mine. Putting your emotions into words, to me, is the brave part... not putting your name to it.


I'd love to hear of you agree, disagree or if it's making you rethink changing your blog to one that's written anonymously.
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32 comments:

Anonymous said...

blog however the hell you want...it's your blog...

anji said...

I hate that word "authentic".... what a crock of shit from Dr. Phil. Everyone's a psychologist now...

Screw it. Write what you want, when you want, however you want... isn't that authentic??? to do what YOU want to do, being honest to your self?

It's all horseshit. That's all I gotta say about that ;)

anji

www.my-basic-training.com
(where I've outed myself to my real life friends but - I don't use names... so, am I authentic or un-authentic??

Chibi Jeebs said...

I second both Anon & anji. Tis why I blog anonymously.

Valley Girl said...

I blog using my real name sometimes, but I feel my content (though truthful and honest) will not affect me negatively. That and I don't use my last name so I think that halps as well lol.
You blog however you feel comfortable. If it's safer for you (and for others sakes) to keep things anon, then so be it and don't let anyone make you feel less real or honest for it.

Sara said...

I love it that you blog anonymously. It doesn't change anything for me. i don't need to know your name....I still feel like I know you and I connect with you. It's awesome.

Stephanie ;) said...

I kinda understand where you're coming from, as I'm a rather private person as well. I chose not to let my family members or most of my friends know I have a blog because I'm afraid of what they will think.

Of course I understand that it's a personal choice and you probably feel most comfortable with it, at this point of time. However, I also ask that you think through the questions that I'm gonna post to you.

1. What will happen if one day, your boss or anyone finds out that this blog belongs to you?
2. Are you prepared to face the consequences, as compared to being open about it, right from the start (if they ask), so you won't have to worry about that at all?

At the end of the day, I still want to emphasise that it's a personal choice. I'm just challenging you to think deeper into this whole thing (if you haven't already). I also know that there will come a day when I will finally be open to letting more of my friends and family know about my blog.

Just some of my thoughts after reading your post. I hope you won't hate me for this. :)

adventure grrl said...

Stephanie :) - I would never hate anyone for thought provoking questions! I love it, actually. I promise to answer later on in the comments section xoxo

thehorizontalyoyo said...

My blog is public for anyone who cares to read it. I use my real name (first, only) but "blog-ize" loved ones in my family.

Does it change the tone of your blog if we know your first, last and middle name? No.

Content is what makes a blog. Nothing more.

Funky Mama Bird said...

I only read blogs whose honesty level is set to 11. sorry. ;)

Quinn said...

I think blogging anonymously is a great idea for blogging about things like you do. I have often thought of blogging anonymously, because a lot of things I want to journal about are also not the things that I would want other people to read. I think being anonymous allows for you to be more honest. You are right, you don't want your employers to know the private part of you and it wouldn't be good to for your mom to find out what you say about her.

Angella Lister said...

well said, adventure grrl!

i also blog under an assumed name. and if my boss or employer ever finds my blog, then i will point out that i have been careful never to name the company i work for, or rant (much) about the people i work with, or reveal any proprietary info at all. if they still want to fire over it, then they were just looking for a reason, and would have found another one, if not this one, anyway.

so blog anonymously to your heart's content. as you say, blog dangerously! i really like that.

Effy said...

I think you should blog in whatever way gives you the most freedom to be you.

*nods emphatically*

Aubrey said...

That person is way out of line to tell you that you're not authentic just because you don't list your name. When I started my blog, I did it semi-anonymously. I used "AubreyMo" as the site URL and as my name on twitter. I didn't give anyone my last name and I wasn't friends with any of my readers on Facebook. I've switched and now I don't really care if people know my entire name. However, for me it didn't matter if you knew my name or not, or if you've read my blog or not. I try to write things that I am okay with anyone reading. My boss actually helped me set up my website so that was one of the first rules I created - don't blog about work. It's probably the most unbreakable blogging rule of mine, and while it can be hard to not vent about my frustrations online, I'm glad I don't have that out there for someone (hr, bosses, coworkers) to read.

I don't think you should worry about the authenticity of your posts, doll. We love you just the same, whether we know your name or not.

Sherene said...

In real life, trust is built on an exchange of information. No one should expect to know someone so intimately - name, face, innermost thoughts and feelings - without revealing the same about themselves. You have a public blog that allows the reader to remain anonymous if they choose, and unless that changes, you should be afforded the same courtesy. You simply can't trust your vulnerability with a public audience that is required to reveal no vulnerability of their own.

Michelle said...

Well put, girl! I don't care that I don't know your name. Everyone blogs for different reasons. If I was blogging strictly as a journal, I would definitely not use my name, especially if I were sharing all kinds of things about my family and friends, etc. Its still YOU writing it, so its still "authentic"... whatever that means ;)

Michelle/MouseDemon said...

I blog sorta anonymously ish. I umm and err (and am doing just that at the mo) about whether I want it to be completely open or totally anonymous. I can't decide. I have family that I don't want reading my blog. But they aren't really family that would find my blog in the first place.

But if you are telling your own Truth, then the name you do it by is really nobody else's business.

Try Googling your online name, blog name and real name and see what comes up. It can be quite surprising sometimes.

Stephanie ;) said...

hey! lifegroup's like a cell group for my church, where a group of people come together, for fellowship and just talk about life and of course, God! It's called lifegroup because it doesn't necessary have to be people from my church or even christians. :)

Sadie said...

Your blog is fabulous and if being anonymous makes the post this honest and this deep, then I say, never change it. I love your blog and I truly get so much from it.

Laura said...

I totally agree with your reasons for blogging anonymously! I blog anonymously too (mostly-I share my first name, but not last, and haven't told any family/friends about my blog), and I don't think it would as freeing if I knew that people I see in "real life" were reading about my feelings.

Freestyle Mom said...

I fucking LOVE you so much dude!!!!!! When I blogged about my mom's nervous breakdown, my aunt read it, and then told my mom, and then my mom read it, and was mortified/heartbroken/pissed/betrayed... and while I could see how she would be upset, I wouldn't remove the post because THAT IS MY TRUTH, and that was me being honest. Instead... I deleted everyone in my immediate and extended family from my Facebook account, and exported my blog to a different URL.

And while they may be on to my "secrets" I've made a point never to put my last name or any of their full names in my blog so that it is un-google-able to the people looking to meddle in my business and bring me down. Maybe that means I'm shady, but I refuse to not write about the things I need to talk about. I couldn't NOT post pictures of my kid though so I suppose I'm semi-anonymous.

Erin said...

You write so well, anonymous or not. Like, seriously, super super well. Thank you for your love in your comment over at Katie's blog, by the way. Reading things like that makes me feel so very hopeful that life will turn out okay, as long as there is love and it seems like you have so much to give, so thank you. xo

Amanda said...

The thing about anonymous is that just because my name isn't on my blog for any Tom, Dick or Harry to read, doesn't mean people don't know it's me. My mom reads my blog - and I occassionally suggest she skips the odd post because I'm plenty honest. Doesn't mean I want my blog googled by prospective employers and such.

Elizabeth Kaylene (elizawhat.com) said...

Personally, I'd rather blog with my name on it, but it's each person's choice, which is the nice thing about blogging. Being anonymous is not being fake.

I blog under my name because it forces me to be more comfortable with who I am and to not give a shit about what other people think. That's my choice and my opinion, so if I can have my choice, why can't you have yours?

Whether I know your name or not, I like you and I like your blog. (:

Elizabeth Kaylene (elizawhat.com) said...

Oh! Another thought:

As for keeping other people in my life anonymous, I rarely write about work, never rant about work (unless it's about me being stressed from being overworked, heh), and I don't write about other people's personal business unless they've given me the okay.

Tensai said...

I've just started blogging and I'm debating whether or not to keep mine anonymous or not.

hope n laughter said...

I completely agree it's hard to put your inner self out there for anyone to read. If you put your name on it your probably going to censor yourself whether you mean to or not. I do it, not often mind you, and it's hard to not go back and reread before you hit hte publish button.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Why do you take so many of your twitters down after you tweet them if it's anonymous to begin with? I mean no offense, I'm really curious about this.

adventure grrl said...

Email me at 100daysinbed@gmail.com and I will totally answer that for you!

adventure grrl said...

You know, what? it's not that interesting of an answer so I will answer right here. Sometimes I tweet things I regret. Like for instance, Yoko Ono was taking questions and I asked how you ever get over the murder of a loved one. I wish that wasn't in my body of tweets. I have a few friends "on the fringe" that found my tweets not knowing it's me, and I would rather keep it that way - I don't talk about such persona family matters with them and I know they would never open my blog (too many words).

There have been other times where I have been horribly flip and then realized it boarded on "mean in translation" so I took that down. I would never want to hurt someone's feelings.

I think that pretty much sums it up. I'm ultra private person who may have very foolishly stepped out into the Inter-webs wholly unprepared.

Josefina said...

For me, blogging anonymously IS being "authentic." I am authentically just the sort of person who would tell all to a complete stranger and keep close family in the dark. I have my own reasons for being that way, of course.

Rachel Spangler said...

Sometimes.. ok lots of the time... I feel very restricted as to what I can say on my blog, since my name is on it. Of course, I've limited myself down on topic, having changed over to the 'niche' I'm in with it now. I think often about making an anon blog so I can say whatever shit I want without any backlash. It would be so good to get it out there sometimes... and I just can't do that on HHH.. my whole damn family reads that and lots of people from my very small town. So... yeah. I think you've got it going on anonymously. Do I wish I knew who you are? Damn straight, but I can totally understand and respect you desire for anonymity. :)

Anonymous said...

nice post adventure grrl

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