When your whole world is a secret, a carefully guarded, creatively talked about secret, it can be hard to know who you are.
I am Seriously. She is who writes the blog. Jane is who runs the backend and interacts on Facebook. The nom de plume of a girl, that was forced to pick an identity when Facebook locked her account for having a fake name. These two are largely interchangeable. They are the persona and the amalgam of a writer who had secrecy forced on her.
Emi is me. She is who I am. She is the girl behind the computer, typing her secrets for all the world to see. But she is hiding behind Jane. Hiding because I married a man who didn’t want me to be writer. I marred someone who told me he would never support me being a writer and I could write, as long as it was not as me.
It created a carefully constructed world where one never knows what the others are doing. My life in my home, with my family, and with my friends is one facet. My life as Jane is another. But never the two shall meet. I was not allowed to tell my friends and family that I blog. I was not to tell the friends I made through blogging about Emi’s life. I was not to tell anyone that my husband had PTSD, and thus had to start yet another blog, under yet another pseudonym, to be allowed to write about that.
But when you have to compartmentalize that significantly, your identity becomes split. Emi, the “freelance writer” who was never allowed to be more specific, even if I wanted to celebrate my triumphs. Jane, the honest girl who writes from the heart, even if it paints her in a negative light. And Annie, the devoted wife to a man with PTSD, who loved him so much, she refused to leave, even when she probably should have.
These are all people who are a part of me, but only ever a part. None of them were ever allowed to be every part of me. And after eight years of these restrictions and rules for my writing life, I have become fractured. I have become pieces of who I am, never allowed to be whole. So much so, that now, after all these years and imposed rules by a man I loved, I don’t know how to be whole anymore.
He is leaving me because I got sick, and after a decade together, after eight years being fractured into tidbits of who I am, I am unsure how to make myself whole again. I do not know how to fit Annie, Jane/Seriously, and Emi into the same body and mind. I was forced to live in the fear that anything I said may harm myself or my husband. And now that I am allowed to move from under his thumb and the fear that was beat into my brain, I am afraid. I am afraid to be the whole person. I am afraid to say that this is me. This is who I am, in my entirety.
Because when your whole life is a carefully guarded secret, stuck in a dance to never let any parts of your life touch, never allowed to be a whole person, you lose your identity. You lose who you are as a whole person, rather than carefully fractured bits. You lose who you are in the process and trying to fit that all back together, when you no longer even remember how the pieces fit is terrifying.