I’m sure this is the case for most of us here, but I’m just gonna come out and say it:
This is not my first blog.
Oh, sure, it’s my first blog where I’ve come out, mask off, and used the online handle that’s been “me” for… 10 years, now?… but as far as spraying my innermost thoughts into the Wild Wild Web goes, this is not my first rodeo. And the other day, a friend asked me about this (whether or not I have older writing online, where it can be found, etc) and it got me thinking about why I *am* going by such a traceable, easily identifiable version of myself, here.
After all, I write plenty of things that are inflammatory. I come from a close-knit family of very sincere, mostly straitlaced Pentecostals and, on the other side, Baptists; and I think it’s fair to say I’m relatively liberal, in my own leanings. As far as God goes, He and I have an understanding; I understand Him as something altogether different from what I was raised to perceive Him as, and He takes me as I am because, well, He’s God. It’s sort of the cornerstone of who He is and what He does… or so *I* choose to believe. But around my folks, I do try to keep my more unusual beliefs to myself. This is not out of shame or concern for what they’ll think of me (half of them already hide my Facebook profile from their Newsfeed anyway) but because, what’s the point? No one’s mind was ever changed because someone shouted opposing ideas loudly enough–and dare I say, in the case of religious fundies, even a rational, factually-supported debate is unlikely to do much. That all being the case, why *would* I rabbit on about my beliefs in front of them? Unlikely though it may seem, I’m not in the habit of alienating people for shits and giggles… I just seem to do it naturally.
In which case, why be so open with this blog? Why use mine and my family’s real names (given names, rather than surnames–but even so) and why have actual pictures of myself on the blog, and why use a handle that people I’ve not spoken to in 5 years would probably recognize as me? It was in thinking about my old blog, that I gave myself the answer.
This is a way to hold myself accountable. And if that fails, the people who truly know me, who love me because of or in spite of all my flaws, can hold me accountable. I’m trying not to advertise information in this medium that would actually lead to me and mine being less safe; but I’m trying to put in plenty that will make me recognizable enough, that if I start to go off the rails and rant like a deranged housewife with too much time on my hands, people who matter will see it, and call me on it, and stop me from embarrassing and/or shaming myself.
My last blog fell down, on that point; I began it in the lead-up to getting divorced (or it feels like that’s when I started it–I was planning divorce long before it happened) and at points, the blog is just the mindless, angry rantings of a woman who’s both a misanthrope and, particularly, a misandrist. SO MUCH of that blog is just a hate-letter to my now-ex-husband, or to friends who let me down (or so I perceived it) the first time I really tried to leave him… I don’t want to find myself reading that kind of ill-reasoned, unnecessary, just plain unhelpful vitriol ever again, and especially not from my own mouth (hand, brain, whatever). This, this being so much myself so everyone can see me and know me AS myself, is a safety measure, to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Of course, I do have to cut myself a little slack, in that I was suffering from untreated depression/anxiety AND the sort of marriage in which each party is, at least occasionally, abusive to the other; that situation is unlikely to happen again, and so maybe, I’m in no danger of the kind of (crazed?) writing that, when I look back at it, makes me cringe and even blush. On the other hand, I’ve come off my meds more than once, in the past 3-4 years (how long have I been taking them…?) and so, one more safety precaution is probably not a terrible idea. Better safe than sorry, it can’t hurt even if it doesn’t help, etc etc. Plus, I’m just generally trying to hold myself accountable in all aspects of my life… why not do it here, as well?
Of course, this is all going to bite me on the ass when I *do* write something I should’ve kept to myself, and I wind up getting the virtual equivalent of hate mail from people I’ve known and loved all my life… but that’s just par for the course, for me. After all, it’s not so much that I’m forever marching to the beat of a different (tactless, occasionally brutal, often scatter-brained) drummer… Baby, I am the literal drumbeat itself. And all discussions of accountability aside… I couldn’t march to another rhythm if I wanted to.
Which I don’t.
Accountability and being myself it is, then… and whatever price I have to pay for that, it can’t be as bad as rereading my old blog. That shit gets more humiliating every time I do it.