A bloggy conundrum

Censored

I never lie to my family about anything. Except this blog.

This weekend, my mom asked, “Hey, do you still have your old blog?”

…. holy shit panic panic panic I’m such a bad liar what do I say ohmygod does she know?…..

“Oh, that thing? Nah, I don’t post on it any more.”

Change the subject. NOW. 

Why is it that I’m brave enough to reveal my face here to total strangers, but become paralyzed by the thought of sharing this site with my family?

I know that part of it is that I don’t want them to be hurt or embarrassed by anything I’ve written. It’s not like my stories are anywhere close to NC-17. But I have written some things that are risque. Some things that maybe they don’t know about. And some things that are about them.

But the largest reason I won’t tell them is my own fear of self-imposed censorship. You see, Mom was referring to my previous blog in which I wrote as myself and my family actively read and talked with me about each post. But I found that I censored what I published for fear of repercussions or unneeded drama, which didn’t sit well with my writer self. I absolutely need the freedom to write what I want, uncensored, without worrying about anyone else’s reactions, judgments, feelings or bullshit. I’m a pleaser by nature, so it was huge for me to (what I consider) selfishly start this anonymous blog as Peach, purely so I can say what I fucking have to say. To paraphrase my friend Russ, “You know those things you debate writing and almost delete? THAT’S what you should publish.” So I am.

Which is why I can’t tell them about Peach.

Case in point: I recently set my Mom up with a Facebook account and she now sees all, comments on all, likes all and will then phone me to ask, “did you see so and so from high school is getting a divorce/having a baby/took a poop”?  I knew she’d be hooked on FaceStalk once she started…but I had no IDEA the extent.  That said, it wouldn’t exactly be shit-city if she discovered this blog and went digging in my archives and found some of my less-than-chaste dating stories. She’d probably laugh her hysterical laugh, dissolve into a coughing fit and then call me up to demand more dirty details. But STILL… I wouldn’t write the details in the first place if I knew she was reading! Dad? He’d stay away. Even on my previous (and very tame) blog, he told me he felt like it was an invasion of my privacy to read it. Translation: Dads don’t really want to hear about your love life. Tanx GOD. My brother? Meh. He’d probably read sometimes and make annoying comments to poke fun at me, but again… knowing there was a chance of his reading would alter my words. It’s a conundrum.

I admire other bloggers who write openly despite their family readership. I envy their freedom, but I just don’t know how to adopt that kind of not-giving-a-shit attitude when it comes to my family. Granted, I’m sure Dooce’s parents found out when she blew up on the internet for being fired for having a blog, and the likelihood of me becoming an overnight interweb sensation is slim to nil. However, the risk I took in revealing my face here includes the minute chance that my blog personality will leak into my private one, or vice versa. It would only take one tiny slip on Facebook and in an instant a fuck-ton of people would know that I’m Peach.

But would that be the end of the world? I’m not so sure.  It’s been over a year since I started 50peach, and I’ve learned that there are definite drawbacks to blogging anonymously.

First, it’s a pain in the ass for my IRL friends that know. They are so respectful of keeping me private (which I appreciate!), but many of them feel conflicted about using their personal social media accounts to cheer me on… for fear of outing me. Maintaining my anonymity is a bit of a burden on them. 

Second, it presents a pickle for ME. You may not realize, but I have the following social media accounts that I manage (by choice) on a daily basis:

  • personal Facebook
  • personal Twitter
  • personal Instagram
  • personal MyFitnessPal
  • personal DailyMile
  • personal Pinterest
  • personal email
  • Peach blog
  • Peach Twitter
  • Peach Instagram
  • Peach Pinterest
  • Peach email

Yes, you read that right. Between the above and my day job, plus texts and phone calls, I’m staring at some kind of screen for upwards of 12-13 hours a day. The fact that I’m even debating a Facebook page for this blog makes me question my own sanity. That would push me over the edge for sure. I’m already struggling to keep up.

Third, being anonymous makes it more challenging to gain readers. I am certain I’d increase my readership by coming out fully. I could link to it on Facebook and announce new posts and I’m sure my friends would read and support me! But with that gain would come relinquishment of very private, very personal details to some people I’d rather not have privy to such information. Uncles and high school acquaintances and teenaged cousins really don’t need to be reading about my past dating debacles. Not to mention the gates would be open for the haters and judgers. Ick.

It’s a dilemma which has no solution right now. I guess it just comes down to a balance of two things: Why I choose to write on this blog vs. What I hope to gain from it. Am I writing purely for me or am I seeking something more?

I’d welcome any insight or thoughts from my friends, my readers and my fellow bloggers – public or anonymous. Thanks for letting me vent, y’all.

A bloggy conundrum

22 Responses

  1. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you that I often wish my blog were anonymous. There are a LOT of things that I can’t/won’t write about – mostly family issues – that I know I SHOULD be writing about. Because no one else is writing about these things. Especially when it comes to my wedding. So, there’s that.
    I will tell you the day I linked my blog to my personal FB account, my readership skyrocketed.
    But if I could start it all over again, I think I’d go anonymous. For sure.

    MoxieBride June 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm #
    • Oh, the temptation of a readership skyrocket. But is it worth giving up the lovely security of having a safe haven? A place to write that is all yours, protected from the judgers? That is a huge sacrifice. I wish you could get your freedom back, especially in this stressful marital time for you! I’m here if you ever need to vent! :) Thank you for your thoughts!

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 10:38 am #
  2. Own it. Why not? You’ve already put your pretty face on here and rather than something happening by accident, take control of it and do it yourself. I think you will be surprised at how it’s really ok. Ignore the fact that people you may know are reading and just keep up with the strong voice you have established here. I think you will feel freer and truer in the end.

    Leslie June 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm #
    • Leslie, you make it sound so empowering and do-able that I’m tempted to announce it today! And yes, I wonder if I’m blowing this way out of proportion as well. I love your strength and thank you for sharing it with me.

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 10:40 am #
  3. I struggle with this too. I’m semi-anonymous in that my family knows I blog and if people in my real life flat out ask if I blog I tell them that I do. But I don’t use my real name or do lots of selfies because I don’t want to find myself in a situation where my online presence is a professional detriment. I don’t want a potential employer to Google my name and come up with anecdote about where I profanely rail against some political opinion they might hold dear or otherwise writing something they might not want associated with their organization.

    In my case I think the reality check of my friends and family being able to potentially read whatever I write is a good thing because given the nature of the internet anyone at any time *could* read whatever I’ve written. I want to be real and honest but I don’t want to write something that could really hurt someone so I work out my more dramatic stuff in journals.

    Larks June 4, 2013 at 12:59 am #
    • Thank you for sharing your insight, Larks! So your situation is pretty similar, except that your family and close friends do know. I’ve contemplated telling them that I have a blog, but not revealing the URL… but that leads to potential hurt feelings when I have to explain why I don’t want them to read. Blergh.

      Hugely valid point about employers and Googling – that’s a key point as to why I don’t use my real name, too. And agreed, the internet is not to be treated as a vacuum. Anonymity does not equal immunity, unfortunately. :/

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 11:06 am #
  4. Each side has its struggles. My Parents don’t know about my blog and I am good with that. My mom would die. Dad, wouldn’t even know what it was. Some of my friends know I have it, yet my guess three of them read it. They don’t understand and I am good with that.

    I recently started dating a man and thought about when to tell him. I felt I needed to, yet didn’t know if he would understand, read all my past post and run, etc. Luckily it just came out and he was fine.

    Then I have my ex who follows or stalks me. I watch what I say because of him. It isn’t worth the drama he can create when I post what he doesnt like. I would love to talk about all the dating I have done, his stalking ass, etc. But I feel I have to censor to keep the peace.

    Do what is right for you. THere isn’t a right or wrong way.

    Jules June 4, 2013 at 3:15 am #
    • Feel you on the Mom and the friends that don’t get it. I’m glad the new beau understands and is okay! Hate hate hate that the ex is stalkerrific. Such a bummer. Appreciate the honest answer, Jules. xox

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 11:36 am #
  5. You know what? I have been having the exact same conflicts these days. I write the blog that I write and then I write a daily journal. Everyday once I am done writing my journal, I wonder to myself if I could publish a single day’s journal as a post, I would have written a better piece of literature and most of all I, for a change, would be so much more open about myself. It would mean that I am actually publicly, honestly voicing myself, which as you mentioned above would definitely get me more readers. But the problem lies in the fact that my parents might read it. I cannot explain to you how many times I furiously exclaimed to myself ‘Exactly!’ while reading your post.
    When I am happy with a post I wrote, I usually read it out to my Mom. And then somedays ago, she asked me for my blog url so that she can read it herself sometimes. How I had dodged that topic! There are some posts, just as you said, that I wrote about my mother. Other things if she read would make her judge me. I understand the bloggy conundrum too well now; but you did me a favor by writing this post which I wouldn’t have for fear my Mom just might come by it someday.
    What you are doing is most probably the best solution and one of these days I might just do exactly that.

    Tua June 4, 2013 at 7:46 am #
    • Ah, so your Mom knows you blog, but you choose to share only those that you want her to hear! Smart. So glad that I could express some of your fears/concerns too, and to know that I’m not alone is comforting. Thanks, Tua.

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 11:38 am #
  6. very tough, common conundrum (oh, i enjoyed writing that word! ha) anyway, i’m semi-anonymous… but some of my friends and some of my family do know and read, which does prevent from writing some stuff but mostly i’m good. i really don’t write things that i’m not comfortable with sharing, even if it’s strong emotion, i own it. of course, i do keep in mind certain feelings and do my best. i just keep walking the cliff and try not to fall over. :)

    icescreammama June 4, 2013 at 8:16 am #
    • Haha, love the cliff analogy… that’s what it feels like! I thought of you when I wrote this, as we’ve discussed the conundrum before. (Oh, I love that word, too… but check out the post URL – I got stuck on the “un” and saved it as “conunundrum”. Because I’m awesome like that.)

      Hmmm, so far I’ve hand selected friends that I trust to read and it’s working for me because I can control who knows. Some comment, some email or text after they’ve read, but it’s nice to have their support either way. I feel a Facebook announcement will increase readership, yes, but it will also obliterate that semblance of control. Which is scary.

      I just wish I could cut down on the social media burden, bc DAMN, I’m TIRED. 😀

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 11:43 am #
  7. My blog as you well know is not anonymous. My name is plastered all over everything I do and there is a very specific reason for that which is that when I eventually finish my book, I want to have another way to market it. While I do write about very personal topics, there are so many things I will not write about because I do not want them to negatively impact my non-writing (read: bill paying) career, nor my husband’s, since he is also pretty Google-able. I’m careful what I say about my son because his stories won’t always be my stories. I don’t write about my family members who are alive except in the past (hey, if you don’t want people to write about it, don’t chase them with harpoons). But there are so many things I’d LOVE to write about, but either they aren’t my stories or they would upset people I care about.

    I would say for the most part not being able to write about friend/family dilemmas and drama is hard sometimes, but for me, being able to connect with others on what I DO share about is more important. That’s a really personal thing though that comes down to what you want to write about, what you’d have to sacrifice if you went public, and, as you said, ultimately what you want to get out of this blog.

    Hope that was at least a little helpful.

    Michelle Longo June 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm #
    • That certainly was helpful, Michelle! It’s helping so much to hear how other bloggers navigate the sticky world in which what you say can and will be held against you. I appreciate your viewpoint and totally agree about your marketability down the road! Now I just have to nail down the answers to the important questions and proceed from there. You rock, as always. Thank you!

      50Peach June 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm #
  8. When I started my blog a little over a year ago, I put myself right out there, mostly because I didn’t really know at the time that a blog could be anonymous. And while I really like that my family knows about my blog and reads it, being completely out there does give me a little pause when I want to press “publish.” There have been a lot of things about work that I would write about but don’t because all it takes is a single Google search, and my blog is all over the screen. And there have been things that I have written where I have held my breath and waited for the fallout from friends but the truth is, it never came. In general, the people closest to me have been incredibly supportive and understanding of this creative outlet of mine, and if there are some hair-raising work tales that I don’t get to tell, for me, that’s a small price to pay.

    Samantha Brinn Merel June 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm #
    • Completely follow the same rule about work! While it’d be therapeutic in the moment, the long-term risk isn’t worth it. But now I wonder what you do, and if we should trade stories! :) Interesting about the fallout never coming from your friends. Wonder if it’s just that we worry too much about what other’s think? Because you’re right, the people closest to me that know are also incredibly supportive. And if I ever feel iffy about a post that relates to them, I ask before I publish. As my friend Bertie said to me, it’s not like I’m just free-for-all posting about everyone and everything in my life. I would never!

      50Peach June 6, 2013 at 9:54 am #
      • It’s not a secret that I’m a trusts & estates lawyer at a big law firm in Manhattan, but I keep the name of the firm, and pretty much all but the most benign stories, under wraps since I’m 100% sure HR Googles us from time to time.

        Samantha Brinn Merel June 7, 2013 at 11:41 am #
  9. It’s kind of difficult to backtrack into honesty with some you don’t want reading your blog. But since you have this blog, and it’s great, and it’s something you should be proud of, you’re kind of forced into honesty. Look, your family is important. Yes you should consider their feelings, but you should also consider how they would feel if they knew you had this whole, successful life that they didn’t know about.

    Best advice I can offer is prepare them. Tell them in order of importance to you what they might find on there and reassure them it is all out of love (or out of temporary anger). The reason so many people share their blogs with their family is because the experience isn’t complete if you always have to worry about certain people finding out.

    You shouldn’t be hiding this blog from anyone!

    Lizzy June 6, 2013 at 10:06 am #
  10. Keep it private. Once they find it, it’s out there, but until they do, you still have a judgement free & open canvas. Take advantage of it while you can. I have a blog I hope no one finds. It’s strange bc it’s privately public, and in todays world, everything should be written as if youre running for congress and this may or may not be found one day… That’s what i think every time I hesitate and push “publish”. So don’t say anything in the meantime, keep it private….

    galarza9 June 6, 2013 at 10:20 am #
  11. My MIL started reading a few months ago. I think it has changed how I write a little bit, but not much. It is a bit weird.

    It would be super easy for my mom to find, if she hasn’t already. This is a tricky thing for you. Sit and say “I’m going to go public.” And then say, “I’m going to stay private.” Which one opens you up more and expands you? What feels good.

    Trust yourself. XO

    shannon June 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm #
  12. As you know, I blog anonymously. I sometimes regret that I’ve told a few friends and my brother about it, because even though I love and trust them, there’s just something about knowing they’ll read what I write that occasionally makes me not post something I otherwise would have. I was really afraid my aunt and her kids would find out about my blog, because they are super religious and very judgmental. Turns out I should have worried, though, because they did find out, but being as they aren’t the most intellectual of people and don’t read, they’ve never actually visited my blog.

    Kianwi June 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm #
    • See, Kianwi… That’s what I’m afraid of- the regret. Once done, it can’t be undone! :/

      50Peach June 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

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