I’ve added a blogroll to the sidebar, additional to the longer one here. I emailed some readers when I un-privatised my first post here – ie. when I started to blog at AtMoM properly – in April, asking that they not add it to any blogroll they may themselves have, as I was scared of the ramifications of any visibility. I’m not now. Sod it; I have nothing to hide. So, if you’d like to add it to your list, please do go ahead 🙂 Don’t feel an obligation to do so, but the option is open to you.
That said, of course I still want this blog to be a relatively in-the-background one. I look at the statistics of this – four or five hits today, I think – compared to a standard day on my ex-site, and I delight. In fact, (at least the last time I happened to check) the ex-blog is still getting high traffic, which is kind of bizarre. I’d grown uncomfortable with that sort of exposure, and feel much happier here than I had done there in ages.
When I opened this site on 1 January this year, I initially started writing it under my real (first) name. Then, when some shit hit some fans, I decided to use part (Vivid) of the Lovecraft quote in the header/my Twitter username as a loose disguise. The thing is, in starting anew, I wanted to be free of complete anonymity. Or, more accurately, of complete pseudonymity. I’m not going to be discussing some issues here that I once did, so don’t have a particular reason to retain the protection of my historically necessary privacy (said privacy was to protect others as well as myself). Why hide behind an assumed name any longer, should it not be functionally required? Why do so when it could actually become harmful to me?
You see, silly as it may sound, an online persona can become all-consuming – and in my case, it did. I wasn’t completely surprised that I frequently found myself in the dysphoric whirl of an identity crisis…who was I, really? Me, or this imaginary-yet-real woman I’d somehow created? She morphed from being ‘me’ merely under another name to being an entity almost entirely in her own right (indeed, the few people in my ‘real life’ that read her ramblings also began to refer to her as ‘her’ in conversation with me). A lot of ‘my’ life began to revolve around framing ‘her’s’. How would she do that, how might she allude to this? Frankly, I think that for a long time I was obsessed with her, and preoccupation of that intensity in any walk of life is very rarely healthy.
I think that (unconsciously, in my defence) she in some ways became an ideal – even a fantasy – for my entertainment. Whilst I don’t think I ever saw things like this at the time – I was rarely complimentary about ‘her’ or ‘me’ – perhaps she afforded my disillusioned psyche excitement in some form. Maybe I vicariously lived a more alluring life through her; she was in a twisted sense interesting, where my actual life consists, usually, of sofa-sitting space-staring, the banal of the banal. A thread of colour in a grey life. A personified delusion acceptable as ‘real’, simply because she wrote about things that actually happened to her – or, realistically, that happened to another in the same head.
“In a way, that’s good,” you might argue; “it means you separated yourself and her.” You’d be right to a point – but why should I want to live my life that way? No, I don’t live on a thrilling knife-edge everyday. Yes, I’m essentially quite boring. But I have a few things going for me – an intellect and a thirst for knowledge foremost amongst them – and ultimately I am me.
I’m not meant to be two people; whilst I’ve experienced dissociation, I don’t believe that I have multiple personalities – yet with the online pretence, it began to feel like I had. I was fine with that for a while, but I’m not any more. I simply want to be me – not her, not him, not it, not them: me. And I will be.
So, I have a mental illness – and..? A mental illness does not involve being a Ted Bundy or a Freddie Kreuger. I have done nothing wrong, and am not ashamed of what I have or of who I am.
So…fuck it. My name is Karen. Pleased to meet you.
Picture credits: see outgoing links.