Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Blogger's Identity

A few e-mail conversations I’ve been having with a friend, along with another discussion taking place at another blog, have had me thinking about blogging and identity over the last few days.

Back in 2000 when there was really no such thing as blogging, I had a website where I would rant about every damn thing that crossed my mind. I remained anonymous to protect my job and for the freedom of being as mean and bitchy as I wanted to be (I ended up writing some sentimental stuff, too, but in the beginning, there was a lot of anger I had to work through). The funny thing is that I wanted readers, and to get readers, I had to advertise. So my sisters, cousins, friends, etc. all knew about the site and knew it was me. I didn’t really care, because I only really cared that neither my boss nor my stalker exes could trace it to me.

But then, shit happened in my life and that site became a pain, mainly because people whom I disliked and people with whom I no longer had relationships with were reading it, and so I left it alone to die. Then I kept a blog on another site, and that was fine, and it too was a combination of alias and me (more me since now I posted pictures). And then, I got to the point where I no longer felt like hiding behind anonymity or an alias anymore. I was tried of sugarcoating and watching my words. It’s my own piece of the Internet, damnit, and I just want to be me. So I ditched that and started fresh with this blog. And yet, for reasons I cannot explain, I haven’t really told anyone about this blog. I think some people know because I have a link as my e-mail signature, but I usually delete it before I send e-mails to family/friends. And based on the lack of commentary and feedback, I’m more inclined to believe that no one from my real life (except a couple of friends and my sisters), are reading. I haven’t gone out of my way to discuss it, share it, anything. And while I don’t care to do any of that, I also don’t care if friends and relatives read it.

Which brings me to the present day. I’ve been thinking for a few days now about why I have chosen to be pretty public about my identity on this blog and why I reveal so much about myself. In truth, while I am honest and open in this blog, I know my limits. There are certain things about my life that I just won’t touch. It has nothing to do with who may or may not be reading, but with that fact that some feelings (related to motherhood and my son) are so incredible and precious that I just don’t want to share them (and I’m not convinced that I’d be able to make these feelings into a good read); and also, the fact that some things about my life, both the past and present, as well as many of my feelings, are so fucked up that I just don’t want to go there. I can only go so far with those things, share just enough, before I feel too vulnerable and close up. It’s been a lifelong problem with me, and while part of me feels some catharsis in getting some things out, another part is all about self-preservation.

So then, as I thought about why I have shared as much as I already have, a few things became clear. First, I may be “me,” but I’m also a version of me. Without any intent or plan to do it, I think I’ve taken parts of myself and kinda made a character out of them. In many ways it’s a caricature, or what I’m like in heightened states of anxiety, silliness or excitement. It’s mainly the writer in me trying to create some character definition, especially in light of the fact that because I don’t put everything out there, readers might need something else to compensate for plot holes and lack of information.

Another thing that’s clear: I’m not doing this to figure out who I am. I know who I am. I’m honest and realistic enough with myself to be sufficiently aware of the good and bad in me.

But lately I’ve had to deal a lot with how others perceive me, and what it means when you see yourself one way and others do not. I don’t get it. And I don’t get it in my case because I’ve gone to great lengths (more than necessary, really) to see myself as I really am. I don’t shy away from my darkness, from all the shitty thoughts and feelings, all the things about me that make me a bitch and mean and ugly. But then again, I’m also aware of the good parts of me, and I don’t know, I think I can form an accurate picture of myself by combining the two. So what do you do when you see yourself as someone who, despite a lifetime of crappiness and an awful feeling of aloneness, still fights to let it all go and embrace the joy and simplicity in each day – and others just see one thing? They see “the nasty bitch” or “the non-stop complainer” or “the melodramatic baby.” I feel like the people who should know me best have the least faith in me, like they can’t see the whole picture and instead put me into this box from which I can’t ever escape, regardless of all the fucking work I put into being a better person.

But this blog isn’t for them, nor is it to convince them of anything. It is, however, my way of trying to figure out not just how I fit into this world, but also how I fit into my own life. Because I have to tell you, right now I don’t know how I fit into my life. I don’t know how to reconcile who I am with who others think I am. I don’t know how to be me when others would prefer that I not, nor how to deal with the stress, hurt and alienation brought on by the feeling that whatever I am is just not good or loveable enough. I don’t know how to take all the pieces that make me “Tere” and make it all fit together.

There’s a lot that I don’t know, but I’m trying to figure it out. And you, dear reader, you’re now a part of this journey.

Posted by Tere @ 10/25/2006   | |


  • Anonymous Balou posted at 10/26/2006 11:16 AM  
    I keep my identity private, but I feel like that is the only way I can truly be 100% myself. What I admire most about you is that you're not scared to own your identity, and the honesty and openness contained in your writing is refreshing. It is YOUR blog and how others perceive it should not be an influence in how you portray yourself. =)
  • Blogger Pop Culture Diva posted at 10/26/2006 3:23 PM  
    Wow. I think that's a struggle for everyone. I'm new to the blog game and have been pretty private. I'm just starting to peel the layers of what I want people to know. I think the most important thing is to continue to be true to yourself and let the others fall in line. Those who really love you will get you even if it's tough for them to handle. But you know what, it's their problem not yours. Keep on moving forward and you'll be fine.

    P.S. I can't wait until I'm 70 and people have to accept the I am the way I am. I can fart and burp openly and cuss people out. What joy!
  • Blogger Sofi posted at 10/27/2006 4:53 PM  
    You're doing a great job. You are very open and honest on your blog, which I admire. In the beginning, I threw my name all over my blog, which recently came back to bite me in the ass. Also, I did a lot of changing and growing during the two years that I spent on my original blog.

    Now I have the new blog, and am still trying to figure out where I'm going with it. Blogging feels so much better knowing that my mother, boyfriends mother and boyfriends ex-wife are no longer a part of it.

    By the way, I love your green dress.
  • Blogger Manola Blablablanik posted at 10/27/2006 8:54 PM  
    It's important to remember that how people feel about you is also a reflection of themselves ... I agree with the Diva ... it's ultimately their problem and not yours.
  • Blogger Dayngr posted at 10/28/2006 1:35 AM  
    Everyone above has said it all and I agree but I do want to add one thing. I think you are very brave and I admire you.
  • Blogger mkh posted at 10/28/2006 9:42 AM  
    I am who I am, but confusing the facets I expose on-line with the entire person would be a mistake. Some day I'm certain it will become an issue for me, but so what? Everything becomes an issue for me sooner or later.
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