Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blogging Without an Alias

Lately I've been thinking about how much my blog is affected by the fact that a large portion of my friends and family occasionally read it.  From the very beginning I was determined to keep this blog an open and honest place for me to share my hopes, dreams, thoughts and experiences.  And yet, over the years, as more and more people in my personal life have stumbled across this space, I feel I have been censoring things more than I had planned.

In the beginning it was easier to be open with my readers because the bulk of my blog revolved around my 'love story.'  My heart is very much on my sleeve, so anyone and everyone in my life already knew about my relationship with Kyle.  There was no pressure to dress anything up or make it seem like anything other than what it was:  painful and heartbreaking separation, and life altering love.  Nearly every emotion I felt between "I met with a recruiter today," and "Mom, Dad, I'm going to Germany to elope," went directly from my heart onto this blog, raw and unedited.

Honestly I didn't even realize how much I'd begun to filter out of my posts until a friend I met here in Mannheim (Yes, I'm talking about you, Brogan!) said to me, "You always sound so positive on your blog!"  It was a wonderful compliment, and I was flattered that she'd taken the time to peruse my blog at all.  And yet something about the remark lodged itself into my brain and gnawed away at me until I arrived at this conclusion:  I've been sugarcoating my posts since I left Kentucky.  And I've been doing it solely to reassure my friends and family at home that I am just fine.

Do these come in blog size?
(image source)

For the first few years my blog (and readers) acted as both confidant and therapist while I vented my fear and frustration about young love interrupted.  Then I got married and moved four thousand miles away from home.  Now each time I sit down to type a post I can feel all the wonderful, caring people I left behind eyeing my every word.  (Yes, I'm talking about you, Mom/Grandma/Dad!)  So instead of sharing the inconveniences and frustrations of life and a new marriage in a foreign land from time to time, I've been focusing on the fun stuff:  castles, cathedrals, gelato, etc.  The result is that blogging has begun to feel more like a chore than an escape.  And that's just not cool.

Sometimes I wish I'd kept my blog secret from the people close to me.  I know this is a pretty common thing in the blogging world.  Some of my favorite blogs are completely anonymous.  While these bloggers never reveal anything about their identity, they are still able to maintain intimacy and honesty with their readers.  Mostly, I think, because they never have to think twice about how the people in their personal life will react to the things they share.  There is such a delicious freedom in talking to complete strangers.

Other times I'm glad I have this way of sharing my life with my friends and family at home.  Phone calls aren't always convenient when you have a six hour time difference and international calling rates to worry about.  Plus, I adore that I have an upbeat, vivid chronicle of my adventures only a click away to cheer me up on the occasional not-so-perfect days.

I've made the decision, though, that I have to rekindle the honesty on my blog.  Otherwise I think the story I'm telling will wind up so far from the truth that I'll give up writing it altogether, and my heart aches at that thought.

Weigh in!
Have any of you guys ran into a similar problem?
Do the people in your life read your blogs?

16 comments:

  1. I definitely have the same problem and a few people who I work with even know about it too - which I hate!!!

    Its so tough though, on one hand I love that my granparents read my blog and love my photos and I like sharing that with them, but sometimes I feel like crap, most days I hate my job and its hard to not let that filter in...

    oh well, I think as with most things its about balance and finding what works for you :) I've been working hard on that lately and what I want to blog and I'm enjoying it much more because of that...

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    1. Oh my. Yeah, I can't even imagine the problems that could come of coworkers reading my blog! Though, I DID put a link to it in my fb profile, so theoretically, I guess some of my ex-coworkers could be readers...

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  2. Definitely. There are certian things I can't talk about (like how i had to sleep on the floor at a friend's house on my vacation and how dirty the bathtub was) because of the people who read my blog. As far as family members...I am not sure who reads it.

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    1. Haha, I'll bet that could be a really touchy subject... ;) I hope the good things outweighed the bad on your vacation!

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  3. I do write under an alias, but stupidly made my blog open to people I know in real life. This was fine to begin with, but then some of them began to chat to me about things I'd written, and discussing this made me feel very uncomfortable. I've actually just come back from a four month hiatus, partly because I felt as though I could no longer express how I really felt without feeling under their scrutiny. I now have another blog, a secret from family and friends, where I can channel my negative emotions and vent if I need to, but I have just returned to my old blog because I missed it so much

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    1. I've considered starting a secret second blog many times...but I've never followed through with it, because I don't think I could part with this one. My blog has changed and grown so much, and I love that it reflects the path of my life.

      Good luck with the new blog/return to the old one!

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  4. I have the exact same problem - which is why you see a lack of substance of any kind in the last two years on my blog. I feel you there. Maybe I'll think about trying to rekindle my original blog idea too because I'm feeling pretty flat.

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    1. Flat is a good word to describe the state of my blog. I feel like it's just been one post full of photos after another lately, whereas before it was quite literally my online diary. I just have to find a balance between the two, I think. I hope you find something that works for you, too! I'd miss your blog if you gave it up! ;)

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  5. I have to agree with Kelsey, lots of blogs are lacking real substance these days. The newness wears off and now there's times you want to vent about something but don't want to rehash it a week later with someone saying they read about it on your blog. If you decide to do an anonymous blog let me know...or not..lol.

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    1. lol! My tentative "Plan B" for if things get overwhelming is to keep this blog, but set it to private. If I did anything like that I'd most certainly do an all call so that anyone who wanted to keep reading could send me their emails, and then I'd add them as allowed readers. So you could stick around. ;) I hope it doesn't come to that, though.

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  6. I started an anonymous blog a couple of years ago - none of my family and friends know I keep one, only my Hubbie. I like it that way. It gives me the freedom to say what I like and how I feel, whether it be jumping over rainbows or whinging about annoying people. I do think it would be nice at times to have people that know me, respond about the things I'm saying... but then again there are times I'm pertrified someone will recognise me in the bloggerverse, and I'll be disowned. Oh well, I figure it's not worth writing if I'm gonna be honest...

    Carrie, I would definitely consider an anon blog:) Speaking to strangers is kinda exhilarating. You lay it all on the line and hope like hell that people will get you:)

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    1. I just don't think I could toss away all the work I've put into this blog! I mean, I've been writing here for about four years now...I'd miss it! I really do crave the freedom of anonymity though. Who knows? I might start a second blog under an alias, and build a whole new community from scratch. We'll see!

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  7. I have this EXACT same problem. My friends and family read my blog and they live in California and I live here in Dallas and my life is not always peaches and cream happy sunshine days. I don't feel I'm able to be my authentic self either on my blog and I've begun to hate updating it. I've often thought about shutting it down altogether but I don't have Facebook so this is how everyone keeps up with my life. I've thought about starting a private blog to get my thoughts out but it's not easy for people to follow when you do that..... so I'm stuck. My blog bores me to DEATH. It's not me.

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    1. Bored to death is a good way to put it. And I know if I'm bored by my blog, other people MUST be, too. I think I just have to get over worrying about everyone else's opinions...but that's easier said than done! ;)

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  8. I can totally sympathize with you Carrie (and fellow bloggers). I find I am so blocked, knowing my friends and family read my blog, that I haven't blogged in months. I have tons of "drafts" saved, but what I really want to write about, are the everyday frustrations with the people who read my blog LOL SO there you have it, I too am feeling the pressure of worrying about everyone's opinions!

    Jen

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  9. i have written way too many posts where i state that i am rekindling my honesty and going to stop filtering myself just because people i know read my blog. it works for a while and then i find myself saving everything to drafts instead of hitting publish and choosing to facebook stalk people instead of writing posts in the first place, starting the whole thing over again. while i really love your germany posts, sometimes i do find myself missing the posts that were more personal, that had to do with you and not just what you were doing at the moment. i'd really miss reading your blog, though, so i hope it gets (possibly already got?) unboring and unflat for you soon.

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