Hiding in Plain Sight: Writing a Blog Anonymously
In case you haven't figured it out, Her Royal Fabulousness is not the name on my birth certificate. Confession: I am still living in the blogging closet. Although I desperately want to come out of the shadows, I am still grappling with the idea of blogging publicly, under my real name. As a member of the blogging community (specifically infertility blogging), I see my fellow bloggers split into three camps. There are those who are completely open about their identities, those who blog with real first names but no other identifiable information, and those who use assumed identities, like mine. We all have reasons for choosing our preferred level of privacy, but my decision has left me unsettled.
When I initially started my blog, it was invite only, and non Google-able. I felt very private about my writing, and needed my blog to only be read by the eyes of those who love and support me. Then, after a little time finding my writing feet, my confidence grew. I began to feel a connection to other women blogging about infertility and loss, and decided to take a risk. Soon, I switched it to a public URL, but did not make it Internet searchable. Now, with some encouragement (positive feedback on posts does a lot for your ego) and growing relationships with my online friends, I decided to make it searchable. However, my blog still has no identifiable information. I write under an alias, have a separate email address for most blog-related correspondence, and use a shadowed picture of myself. Even as I created my BlogHer account, feeling so proud of myself to have my first freelance writing gig, I sat and stared at the profile page, trying to decide whether to use my real name or not. Why shouldn't I be forthright and take full credit for my own writing? Why shouldn't I promote myself personally and professionally?
The reason is very simple: I blog about a topic that makes people uncomfortable. When the subject of infertility is raised, people who have never experienced infertility don't know what to say, because it is a topic that traditionally is only spoken about while wearing a white paper gown, feet in stirrups. So, once people know that someone close to them is infertile, what ensues is an awkward, and sometimes hurtful, conversation. For me, it feels easier to avoid the issue than deal with the “what ifs.”
What if more people in their day-to-day lives knew about the nitty gritty details of my treatment? Would I be subjected to uncomfortable silences or uncomfortable glances? Would inappropriate comments be made? Would it threaten my credibility at work? These questions are the ones swirling around my head as I frantically make sure I am signed into the right Google account before posting. I can only imagine those who blog about cancer, mental illness, AIDS, and other personal health issues also grapple with these feelings.
Ironically, my husband and I have been relatively open with those close to us about our struggles with PCOS, miscarriage, infertility, and our upcoming IVF treatment. Our immediate family, close friends, and even our bosses know. However, when I think about my extended family, colleagues, and any random stranger knowing the status of my ovaries, I feel uneasy. It doesn't seem logical to have these fears. I didn't cause my medical issues, I know that I am one of many women dealing with something similar, and being confident and outspoken are two of the qualities I like most about myself. So, why is it so hard to see my condition as a badge of honor, instead of something to keep concealed?
Interestingly, His Royal Fabulousness started a craft beer blog the other night. In addition to feeling really proud of him, I also began to turn green with jealousy. For him, it was as simple as putting the template together, writing his introductory post, and putting a link to it on Facebook for all to see. Of course he did, because it is easy to be public with his blog. The subject is so innocuous. There are lots of other beer geeks out there who want to read about porters, IPAs, and rare stouts that only a handful of people have tasted. He has no reason to worry about what his friends, family, and co-workers might think when they find out he is a craft beer fanatic. There is no perceived shame in it.
But blogging about infertility? That’s a whole other bowl of wax. I desperately want to get to a place where I can put my picture and name on my blog. I want to pursue writing about infertility on a professional level. I want to take credit for my work. I'm just not there yet.
But, I will be.
Her Royal Fabulousness is feeling her way through infertility, PCOS and IVF with a cocktail in one hand and a Gonal-F pen in the other. Her blog, Waiting For Little Feet details her antics.
Photo Credit: Hiding via Shutterstock.