The Power Of Anonymity

People have told me they like how honest my writing is. Well, the only reason I am willing to do that is because I don’t know most of you. In fact, only one of my readers actually knows me in real life. The rest are all strangers, and that’s a powerful thing. With strangers you don’t feel the need to hold back, or try not to offend. You can say what you mean, and if they don’t like it they aren’t required to stay and listen. There is a kind of freedom in being anonymous that lets you really let loose.

Masked.

(Photo credit: .Andi.)

To be honest, if you’ve read a few of my posts, you probably understand me on a deeper level than most of my relationships. I don’t even let my boyfriend read most of what I write. That’s because in real social situations we behave in a way to try to please the people around us. Where you are significantly affects how you act (like the differences between hanging out with friends and having dinner with your significant other’s parents. And if you act the same in both those situations…I’m not sure if I envy you. I find the whole concept boggling.). We are all constantly watching, judging, coming to conclusions based on small pieces of information because that’s all we are being given from each interaction. And if you think you aren’t judging, you’re lying.

Well, what if you were in a place where no one was watching?

It occurred to me that no one here would know if I was telling what appeared to be the honest truth, or blatant lies. For all you know I’m a monkey with the clever ability to string words together. I might be an 80-year-old man living in Peru who gets kicks out of pretending to be someone else. You just don’t know.

transparent

(Photo credit: I Woke Up Today)

Obviously I’m neither of those things. Though sometimes I wish I was just a clever monkey. Or maybe we’re all just clever monkeys. In any case, everything I say on here is the complete and honest truth. And it is a wonderful thing to be able to actually say what you want to without worrying about how you come across, or whether you offend someone, or whether they like you.

And despite all the differences between us, people are able to find commonalities, and it brings them together. We want to be with people who are like us. We need that sense of belonging to be able to function. We need to feel like even though there is a lot we can’t control in the world, there are still people out there who want to help, and are willing to listen. For many people including myself, that is exactly what blogging is able to give them, and it’s enough.

And I think that’s pretty damn cool.

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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

11 responses to “The Power Of Anonymity”

  1. xxalikatxx says :

    I can totally relate to everything you say here. I stopped blogging for quite some time now because I felt like I could only post about certain things. It got to the point where I just couldn’t talk about what was on my mind anymore. There are parts of my life that I just couldn’t share with people because I would offend them or it was really personal and my parents might find out, but no one knows who I am here. Its the most liberated I’ve felt in a really long time. Thanks for sharing, I really like your blog.

  2. moodsnmoments says :

    hey janine,
    you wrote what i am writing….just in a much better fashion!!!!
    M

  3. travels with mary says :

    I’m mixed on this topic. Right now, I enjoy being a little “public” to my friends. I don’t really express my emotions online, like I used to do, but I also feel a little happy when I think about how my husband has my blog as a bookmark on his computer. (When, a year ago, I would have been mortified if he knew I even blogged at all!)

    I do envy the freedom of subject matter, though. I’d love to post about topics that I’m truly passionate about, but I know I’d ruffle some feathers of acquaintances and family members.

  4. areed090290 says :

    My thinking, if they do know you, and they can’t love you for who you are or how you feel, then they can go put that juice in their juice box and suck it in a different direction. My husband reads EVERYTHING I write, and my family is more entitled to do the same if they so wish. I honestly have lost my give a damn. Why? I’ve been through childbirth twice, almost seen combat, been through hell and back, gone through a horrible span of anxiety attacks and depression just because I cared about what others thought. Sometimes hun, you just have to realize, that if they don’t like what you write, then maybe, just maybe(now sometimes friends clash, and that’s cool. But if they throw a temper tantrum from absolute hell, then let them go as quick as you’d say no to cardboard tampons) they weren’t really worth your precious time on this planet. For example, people say I need to grow up because I love helping people and it makes me terribly sad when I can’t. Welp, if you don’t like it, go suck a juice box that way and kick pop rocks my friend, because I don’t honestly care :-D. It’s not that hard to say honey, I promise after the first few times, it’ll feel absolutely exhilarating!

  5. words4jp says :

    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto! I completely agree with you.

    🙂

  6. purpleperceptions says :

    I think you come across as honest because that’s just what you’re doing- being honest. And that’s definitely something I appreciate. We all see and endure so much duplicity in our own lives. And then we log in to wordpress and your post is up in such frank words, self deprecatory and analyzing and confessing. How can we not admire that? 🙂

    What you said is true. Anonymity is certainly very empowering. Except for maybe one person here, no one even knows my name. And I’m fine with that. I can say what I want and post my poems and not worry about my patients or my acquaintances scrutinizing how doom and gloom I often am. Sometimes we just need that breathing space. And we deserve it too! 🙂

  7. DinoJax says :

    i’m reaching a hard spot where i know my mother reads blog but her being one of my biggest causes of anxiety, i can’t seem to write too much about her. however not being anonymous to my sister has helped heal our relationship because she’s able to read thoughts i woulnd’t necessarily say to her but that for some reason she likes to hear and know.

  8. Jess says :

    Agreed! My husband was one of the last people on my contact list who I asked to follow my blog. I didn’t even tell him I started it until a few posts in. He’s the only person I get nervous about reading my stuff, yet he’s the one person I know who supports everything I do. I guess his opinion matters most to me.

  9. ellebonze says :

    Agreed. Unlike the commenter who is glad to put it all out there for everybody, I know that I have a freedom to express myself anonymously that I simply do not have when I know that people I know are watching.

    Specifically, I am referring to the people that I work with and for. These folks, quite rightly, expect me to behave with more decorum than is apparent here. I get to be who I want to be in my blog. I also get to try out who I might enjoy being. If we all ran around being so honest in real life, some of us wouldn’t be wearing clothes, taking our meds, or needing a paycheck. Usually, I keep my clothes on in real life.

    While I have journaled for years, and, I write professionally in an academic/ technical area, I am quite new at putting my most personal self out anonymously. Not only is it fun, but it is paying off in my off-line relationships. I’m more confident and that’s showing up in my ‘real life’ writing as well.

  10. bbylois says :

    Hi Janine, I like the style of this blog. it screams not to be anonymous 🙂 You are correct i believe so to. But there is a back side of it . In often cases I indeed experienced in others being anonymous equals being isolated in order to remain free. Our most precious good on earth. The power is generated artificially. I find it a true challenge to be not anonymous ( even in the airports , which is the ultimate place to be a number) and I found out to be valid in others and therefore powerful. Being not anonymous makes your things meaningful and worth for doing . Being anonymous make you not vulnerable , true, but gave to me a impression being a robot. A balance is the answer I assume, time will tell.

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