I have been anonymous almost as long as I have been blogging. I say “almost” because, like anything else in life, there is a learning curve and going to be some mistakes. But it’s been a lot of years of practice and trial and error.
I now have it down to a relative science. I have my “blog name” Seriously, I have an actual nom de plum that runs all things “Seriously,” from her email to her Facebook account. And then I have my real life, my real name, what I refer to as my “personal” Facebook and all that runs her life.
And never the two shall meet.
This act necessitated a rather large ability to compartmentalize, or rather, the adaptability to develop an incredible means of compartmentalizing. I know who I can use my husbands name with and who I can’t. I don’t share my dog’s names and am very adept at catching myself before I type them. Every picture is analyze for detail before being posted, account double checked to make sure I’m logged into the correct one.
In fact, I spend so much time as my alter ego, that I actually answer to Jane in public. I was at a doctors appointment not that long ago and they called for a patient and I stood, but so did someone else… Because I didn’t realize they had called Jane.
But, while the logistics of keeping it all together, or rather, keeping it all apart, can seem crazy, practice makes perfect. So what do people really want to know? I never get emails asking me how, simply why.
Why are you anonymous? Why do you share the deepest secrets of your soul, but not your name?
And that’s what it surmounts to. I am sharing the part of me that matters. I am sharing the part of me that is why you like, or, for that matter, hate me. Anonymous blogging has long since gone out of fashion and even those I knew who were anonymous with me have long since outted themselves. Leaving me the last standing anonymous blogger that I know.
And I can give you some truths about it all in the midst of what can seem confusing.
The truth is, I share more of myself, my secrets and the real me here on this blog than I do with anyone in the real life other than my husband and my editor who reads my posts by default.
The truth is, I don’t see how knowing my name will give you any better of an understanding of who I AM. My name can change tomorrow, but my flawed being will have those flaws regardless of what you call me.
The truth is, it really is hard sometimes. I have to be secretivtive in all aspects of my life. I can’t share my blogging triumphs with my friends and family in real life, but I can’t share some of my greatest triumphs in real life on my blog without giving away who I am. Everything I do is a form of betrayal to the other party, who just happens to also be me.
The truth is, I never wanted to be anonymous. But my husband insisted.
The HARD truth is that I can likely never give my real name now. Having shared what I have, so honestly, I have relied on the anonymity I have as a safety net. And now, revealing who I am (legally speaking) is likely to cause more problems than it solves…
I am anonymous in all parts of my life. I am an anonymous blogger who bears her soul to you. I am a real life wife and friend who has to hide that she is a writer because, well, anonymous bloggers aren’t very anonymous if all of their friends and family know it’s them. Every aspect of my duality is hidden in some way. Every secret I share is a secret I keep from someone else.
The truth is NO ONE is allowed to know who I am. It is not limited to the strangers who become my friends online.
When such a large part of your life is secret, everything becomes a secret in some way or another out of necessity. My husband agrees to the blogging, something he doesn’t understand, as long as I stay anonymous. I blog, freelance, and do all kinds of stuff, as long as I do is the other woman. I respect his value of not just our security, OPSEC and PERSEC, but also his desire to have privacy for himself.
I have written often about being anonymous over the years. The good, the bad, the hard, the weird, the random. I have written about why, what people assume, what it’s like and what I wish people understood. But I don’t know that I’ve ever addressed the constant shock I get when people realize that they tracked down the blogger in the flesh on Facebook, only to learn that they still aren’t right.
Everyone blogs for different reasons. And everyone has reasons for how much they are willing to share. But what I find so interesting is the assumption that because you don’t know my name, that I am somehow hiding me, the me that blogs. The me that is me when no one else is looking. The me that I am in the quiet, in the dark, at 3am typing what is in my mind and heart.
Not sharing my name has given me the unique ability to truly not have to hide who I am. And while you might not know my name, my hometown, or what my husband does in the Marine Corps, but you know me. You know more of me than my closest friends know. The freedom I experience as an anonymous blogger is unparalled. I can share without fear of hurting someone’s feelings. I can share without fear of humiliation.