I was active on forums long before I even learned of blogging. It was there that I learned the art of creating an internet persona, who was me, but the me I wanted to present. I loved it. I am a private person, and the idea of controlling my image so completely was incredibly appealing. And so, as teenagers often do these days, I found a place in the world, or at least the internet, that I wanted to be part of. The wonderful forum, and later the blogging community.
What's cool about the internet is that you can live by two lives. On the forum, I was known as Ashes (which sounds a little depressing, until I explain that the main character in the book series the forum was about was Ash, and every other variation was taken). On my blog, after learning so much in schools and by parents about the dangers of sharing internet information, I kept my initials, P.E.. It's something I still have.
I didn't realize how weird it was until a teacher said, a little shocked, "You have a blog? Why don't I know about this!" (She's a great teacher, BTW). She was friendly and we often had conversations. She said this so loud and the entire class looked over. And I felt so upset, because maybe some people don't understand, but it was like I was in two worlds.
There was the me in real life, who had a decent life and there was online me, and I was always me no matter what I did, but it was different parts of me. If I had a bad day blogging, well, who cares, go hang out with a friend. If I had a bad day in real life, who cares, I was someone on the internet.
One of the questions I hated most of all was being asked for my blog URL. I think I point blank refused a lot of people. This was partly to ensure my separation between online me and real person me, but also because I wanted to be a successful blogger. I wanted to be productive, and have an impact. In some ways I'm a trusting person, but in others, I'm not. I wanted my blog to be successful because of my hard work and talent (if it indeed existed). I wanted to make a name for myself. Every bit of success that I had was something I wanted to have not because of who I was, but what I could do.
So in general, I hid blogging for a long time, and then I transitioned into "not really going to talk about it". Seriously, do you realize how stressed out I was over making a twitter account? I was terrified. Twitter would mean joining real person me and online me. Of course, I didn't really tell too many people about my Twitter either.
I don't know how it happened, or what happened, and maybe it's a part of growing up, but eventually I become more comfortable with sharing online me and real me. And this is what I believe has made my writing stronger: I can write emotionally and have confidence in my place in the world. This confidence came from seeing Tantalizing Illusions do reasonably well. It also came from people I trusted, who told me they thought I could write well, and somehow they made me believe it a little.
I'm a perfectionist. I'm always in competition with myself to be better. I generally have extremely high expectations of myself and my life, and I'm still reconciling them. Even now, when I'm so very open about being a blogger, which I'm sure has a lot to do with Mari telling me my writing doesn't suck, and helping manage TSC to look good, I still am uncomfortable with the idea of the real people I know seeing my blog.
I'm trying not to be. It's just that writing is so personal to me. I wrote so emotionally, and I don't know how much of that I'm comfortable sharing.
I don't know if this is the case for everyone. I had a twitter conversation the other day with someone, and she told me she never saw blogging the way I did, and that's completely possible. Not everyone feels the compulsive need to be good at everything. I guess the way I see it is if I'm going to do something, I need to do it well. I either do it or don't. There's no middle ground.
I'm even uncomfortable sharing this post because it's again, incredibly personal, and I don't know if I want people to see it. But at the same time, this isn't something people talk about a lot.
Often, to get people interested in Twitter, I describe tweets as talking in a room of shouting people. Maybe someone will hear you, maybe no one will. There is that sense of anonymity on the internet that seems to be shamed, or despised, and I don't see why that needs to be the case.
When I needed it, I was in my anonymous bubble, watching, learning, and it made me feel safe. And now I'm starting to exit that bubble and explore the person that is me on the internet, and off the internet. And maybe I think she has some potential.