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Monday, November 22, 2010

Anonymous Exhibitionist

The Great -L- named me that back in the days when he was being a super hero and when he actually talked with me. At the time I was, momentarily, affronted, but after thinking it over I realized he was correct. I was anonymous. I was airing my personal, deep feelings and discussing experiences I had tried desperately to forget. I talked of my family and my daily life, and threw in snippets of music, comics, poetry, mixed together with infrequent posts about other bloggers, religious philosophies, and research projects. "Anonymous Exhibitionist" was an apt description.

I am, however, no longer anonymous. Many people know me. What I'm finding is that there is safety in anonymity. I can post what I wish without feeling defensive or protective because no one can read what I write and weigh it against the person they know. It's very possible that this is a PTSD by-product, but each time some key player in my life mentions they've read my blog, I find I'm bracing myself for...something? Certain that whatever comes next will be unpleasant.

This doesn't happen with people like Jason, mostly because we established our current relationship based on discussions of my blog. I may have challenged him to read it in our first conversations, or even sent him selected entries because I had a reason for talking with him that actually had nothing to do with me, personally. To my surprise, he not only read the entries I sent, he went back and read my entire blog. At the time it was relatively small, nothing compared to the monstrosity it is today. Still, I was impressed that he would be interested enough to follow up. Jason has continued to read for nearly five years now. He's open about reading it (or not, when he gets busy). We can be chatting online and he'll say, "Wait--did you blog about this? Give me a second, I'm going to go read." And then he does and then we talk some more. It's an established rhythm and routine.

Other people, though...

Sometimes I'll be talking with a friend and he or she will mention something they've read in my blog and I feel suddenly guilty--like maybe I should have brought it up first, or there's some underlying sin in discussing my personal life with strangers online but not talking about it with people who really know and care about me. Or I might find myself feeling exposed--defenseless--as though I laid myself bare in a place I thought was sheltered and safe, and was discovered by someone who knows who I am.

I don't know why this is happening; and it's fairly new. I first became aware of this reaction in July. And it's silly. Nothing I put in my blog is secret. Most of it I would discuss with people I love anyway--and if I don't, it's because I feel it's not important, just something I felt like writing at the time.

It's making me crazy. I feel fine for a little while, then this nasty little "thing" crops up and I find myself awash in the unnecessary aftermath of all those stupid feelings. And then I do and say irrational things. I even told Tolkien Boy recently that I wasn't prepared to discuss personal things, like what I write in my blog, with him.

Not prepared to discuss personal things??? with Tolkien Boy???

This is the person who escorted me to lunch with the man who raped me and took care of me afterward. I have laughed with him, cried with him, and slept on his shoulder. He's been present when I've had flashbacks, visited me in my home, and eaten countless meals with me. I stayed with him for a few days this year in his home, and we've talked about nearly everything under the sun from trivia like the current weather, to deeply intimate thoughts and beliefs. I know his parents and siblings. We talk nearly every day...

And I can't discuss my blog with him?

There was a time when I had one or two private blogs. Tolkien Boy was one who was invited to read.

I don't know what is happening to me. I'm losing my mind. I have this certainty that I cannot discuss anything deeply important to me with anyone anymore because there is no way they can care about the things I care about--and it is wrong of me to wish for it. I cannot ask people to feel the same way I do. It's wrong.

But I do wish for it. I long to talk about the tiny, trivial things that make my heart beat a little more strongly, and cause me to have hope or excitement. And then I slam the lid back down, remind myself that I'm not allowed to want people to care--and they won't--and if I tell people who don't care I'll be hurt and aggravated, both with them (for not caring) and with me (for wanting them to). But the result is the same--I'm frustrated because I'm staying silent as I believe I should, and angry because every once in awhile I forget and start talking about those terribly important (to me) things, and then, midstream, I remember and I become all sorts of upset because I don't know what to do next.

AAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!! I make no sense at all.

But the really difficult thing, for me, right now is that this--whatever it is--is causing some deep, overwhelming depression and I don't know why, nor do I know what to do about it. I'm acting like an idiot--I know this--but cannot come up with an alternative.

Maybe this is what happens in close friendships if one does not drift away...maybe it causes insanity...or blindness...wait...that could be something


  1. This comment isn't about your post. I just had to say I was so happy to read the Virgina Woolf. I really needed to read that. My solution to being scared about this coming out process has been to start to hide away. That quote reminded me of something I knew to be true deep down. I need to start getting out there--gay and all! Thanks for the reminder. :-)

  2. Samantha, I don't know if this will help, but I could really relate to what you wrote. When people in my real life make a comment about my blog I immediately feel a panic and start trying to remember what I wrote, and kicking myself that I have been so open. And yet, I write my blog because there are things I WANT to share with others, if I didn't want to share them I would put them in my journal instead. It is confusing.

    I could really relate to the other things you said as well.

    My therapist keeps assuring me that I am NOT crazy...but therapists are human and prone to error too...

  3. Eve: Thanks for stopping by. I wish you well. :-)

    Th.: Glad you understand.

    Leslie: Blogging is wonderful and weird, and I'm guessing your therapist is right. I have a friend who assures me, if you question your sanity, you're probably still sane. Thanks for stopping by--and for your comment.