I'm navel gazing - again. This time, it's all about anonymity...

>> Thursday, 24 May 2012

God, I wish this blog were anonymous.

If it were anonymous, I could write whatever the hell I liked, about who I liked, when I liked.  I wouldn't have to consider hurt feelings, the possibility of backlashes, the damage that I might do to relationships with an ill-thought out flip sarcastic remark about - well.  I can't actually say what I want to there because, you know, the person I'm saying it about might read this and then they could get upset.  Even if what I want to write is so damn funny that it makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I just can't do it.

Instead, I measure my words.  I pace out my sentences.  I consider my sentiments, and try to ensure that on-screen at least, they are as clearly phrased as possible.  I do everything humanly possible to present myself, my life, and my circumstances in a clean and tidy manner (a place for everything and everything in it's place), when in reality I want to scream and shout and be unreasonable and just fxcking swear out loud sometimes for fxcks' sake.  And I want to write FUCK without using an 'x' instead of a 'u', or worrying that the wrong searches will pick up this blog and get me banned from google or put me on the 'Avoid at All Cost' list for bloggers who care about such things. (For the record, I don't, particularly.  A well placed and relevant expletive is worth more than a glass of wine in lowering my stress levels - or it would be, if I were allowed to use such words as a clean-living mother of two small boys.)

You might be wondering what my problem is.  After all, The Potty Diaries is anonymous, isn't it?  Well, no.  Not really.  Not where it counts.  Sure, there may be one or two members of my family who don't know I blog (my 98 year old grandmother being one of them), but not that many if I sit down and think about it.  And you know what?  I did this.

I. Did. This.

I brought it all on myself.  Oh, I started with good intentions, certainly.  I began writing it late at night, when even my husband was in bed (or away from home), and didn't tell a soul.  I kept it close, kept it secret, worried that if I had to care what other people thought of my writing it would stifle my creativity.  (Yes, yes, I know; it's a blog, not a great novel, for goodness' sake.  I shouldn't be so pretentious about it).  But then - well, then I began to get proud of it.  I started to get readers.  I made friends online.  And not only did it make sense to explain to people what was taking up some of my time (and why, if I'm honest, I was less frustrated with my lot as a stay at home mum, because as you may know; if you do it right, blogging provides some of the best free therapy there is for recovering career women), but I wanted to show it off.

I wanted my nearest and dearest to see how bloody clever I am.  Look at me!  I've taken nothing and made it something!  Aren't I great? Because really, that's one of the big appeals of blogging for me; showing that I still have a brain.

But was giving up my anonymity worth it?

I am aware, of course, that the moment you admit to writing anything online, if it bears any relation to your 'real' life, a determined searcher can find you with very few problems.  So if I'm honest about it, the chances of a blog's author remaining undetected and truly anonymous are practically zilch.  And then there's always the future to consider; once you write something, it's out there.  For as long as this is an internet-fueled world, it's out there.  No matter that you might take down your blog, delete your posts, consign all your musings to the metaphorical circular file; somewhere they will be on record.  So screaming like a harpy about your child's issues / love life / family concerns / general gripes and moans could be seen as inadvisable if you don't want a  curious teen to learn all about mummy's secret thoughts in 10 years time.

So I guess it's a moot point, really.  Unless I want to go back to the old technology and simply write a diary, stuffing it under the mattress for safekeeping and leaving instructions with my solicitor to burn it when I'm gone to save my children's blushes, I need to accept that sometimes I have to self-censor.

I mean, pen and paper is all very well, but I would be the only person to read a diary.  And where's the fun in that?


MsCaroline 24 May 2012 at 11:58  

I think a lot of (most?) bloggers struggle with this: anonymity(freedom) vs. a desire to be recognized for their accomplishments (in my case, I'm using the word 'accomplishments' very loosely.) I used to read a fantastic blog written by a woman who was (apparently) fairly well-known in and around her community (she was a teacher); she vented a bit too freely and ended up having to close up shop, although she did contact her regular readers privately so we could keep following her - but that only lasted for a month or two before she stopped altogether. I suspect she's gone underground and is completely anonymous now. Such a shame: I loved what she had to say...that being said, maybe you need to find somewhere new and anonymous to blog where you could just do some honest venting without fear of hurting anyone's feelings...

manycoloured-days 24 May 2012 at 15:33  

Oh, absolutely, couldn't agree more! Blogging (and life) would be so much more interesting if I could just write what's really on my mind. I try very hard to but with a strong sense of self censorship.
Don't give up though, I've been enjoying your posts for a while, the black and white and what I can only guess is in between.

Home Office Mum 24 May 2012 at 15:47  

this is one of the very reasons I stopped blogging. Even now that I want to start again, I am wary of what I say. For every person who says: keep writing, I love reading your posts, there is someone in real life rolling their eyes and using what you've written against you. It's tricky. I have a blog post that's called 'when you don't like your child'. It is a post that is still getting comments 2 years on. But what if my son ever reads it? Tricky dilemma, probably best solved with a glass of wine and a few expletives

Expat mum 24 May 2012 at 15:52  

I don't think there are many blogs that manage to stay truly anonymous. Most of us want some recognition and love for what we do.
From the very start I never wanted or tried to be anonymous. I had been lurking and reading blogs for a while before I dipped my toe in, and quickly saw how many people had been "busted".
I was going to suggest starting another blog, but that's just too much work.

MtFF 24 May 2012 at 19:19  

I actually DO write a diary in the mornings (well, it's more of a brain-drain where I write all sorts of hideous poisonous things about everything so that I'm fit company for humanity later on. Sort of.
I also self-censor and I wish I didn't and sometimes think of starting an alternate blog where I moan about my husband in particular. Oh wait. I do that anyway.
You have my sympathy. And also, because I can't resist it. I think you meant navEl gazing, although I'd gladly join you on an outing to do some naval gazing. Hello Sailor! ooerr! (yes, you can kick me now, I deserve it) xo

nappy valley girl 24 May 2012 at 20:07  

You put the dilemma very well. It is very hard not to be anonymous - you're one of the few who still tries very hard at it, I think. I feel like a tread a fine line. Too many of my family read it for me to be able to say anything too controversial (or honest, perhaps). But if my husband didn't know, I would feel like I was hiding a big secret from him - and he would certainly wonder what I was doing on the computer at all hours...

Knackered Mother 25 May 2012 at 22:28  

So hard. Perhaps swear AND drink wine at same time? Funnily enough, know what you mean. Sometimes I would love to let rip.

cartside 30 May 2012 at 23:15  

While like you I sometimes wish I was anonymous, I see it also as a way of making sure to be as you would in any real human interaction, so a bit of self censorship isn't a bad thing, otherwise the evil side of humanity would come out far too often, just think of some really awful comments people leave on youtube videos and the like. Being considerate of other people's feeling is always a good thing, even if it may occasional mean that one keeps a rant to oneself.

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