Up until today, only Mr. Jane was aware that I have a blog. I had not told anyone else about it, not even alluding to it. Today, I finally told someone else, a friend of mine. I did not mention which blog was mine, only that I do blog and that I do so anonymously.
The decision not to tell anyone was somewhat conscious. I really want to keep this blog anonymous. I consider it my "safe place" (which is a bit ironic considering I'm baring my soul for the world here). Letting the secret out, even to people whom I would trust to keep my secret, seems dangerous to me. The more people who know, the better chance there is that someone will slip and expose my identity to someone. (Sometimes I'm even uncomfortable that Mr. Jane knows, despite the fact that I trust him completely. But keeping a secret from him, even something as minor as this, would make me more uncomfortable, so that was the tradeoff I made.) Plus, I am not sure that I want the people who know me in real life to see this side of me---the "blogging" side. Am I afraid of how they would judge me if they knew? A bit, yes. Some of the things I discuss here are things that I don't discuss with anyone in real life, or at least not to the extent that I do here. In some ways, my blog is an extension of the running commentary in my head, the analysis of my life. Strangely, I am more comfortable sharing this with strangers who don't know or don't care who I am than I am with people who have known me forever.
When I started this blog, I thought that anonymity would allow me the freedom to post at will, to work out my thoughts and ideas without judgement or fear of reprisal. I still think that's true, to some extent. But, after over 2 months of blogging now, I sometimes find myself censoring what I say. Mainly because I am deathly afraid that I will be "outed" at some point....and, being untenured, I worry about that affecting my tenure case (if, for instance, my colleagues figure out my identity). That is why I self-censored my original post on the results of our job search, even though my original post is a truer display of my feelings about the matter. And I am still conflicted by that decision to some extent. Because of my fear, I also censor a lot of the details of my life---what the weather is like here, whether we're on semesters or quarters---to make myself harder to "trace". Do I need to? Probably not. But it gives me a small illusion of some security, so I consider it a worthwhile tradeoff.
I didn't know what to expect when I started this blog. The whole dealing with anonymity has been an interesting experience. The feeling of living a "double life" has been scary yet also exhilirating. But the biggest surprise was how starting my own blog has made me feel like a part of a "community" that I didn't feel when I was just reading and commenting on others' blogs. In some sense, blogging makes me feel like I'm "giving back" to the blog community, adding my voice and insight to the chorus. I don't know if my contribution is worthwhile, but I'd like to think that it is.
So, anyway, this grand experiment has been quite a trip and I'm looking forward to whatever the next few months will bring!