Hi guys! I’m Helena.
When Shell asked me to be her BFF today, I got up and did a happy dance.
I’ve been a follower of Shell for forever (approximately), and she is so supportive. I’d say the only flaw in our relationship is the fact that I hate her.
Hate her? What?
Well, I guess the correct term for it would be “crippling jealousy.”
It’s not because she is fabulous (she is fabulous), or because she is nicer than I am (she is nicer than I am). Our relationship could handle that.
It’s because she is anonymous.
No one in real life knows about her blog, and just thinking about that freedom is enough to make me want to smack her in the face.
…See? She is a much nicer person than I am.
I guess I’m really not mad at her. I’m mad at myself.
The benefits of blogging anonymously are obvious. You have freedom to write about anything. Your job. Your friends. Your mother in law. Change a few names, and you can say whatever you want, without censoring yourself.
Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
But I didn’t start anonymously. And at this point, I just can’t give up my very-much-public blog. So in an attempt to get over my crazy jealous rage (and maybe save our friendship?), I am going to come up with a list of good things about blogging as yourself.
Ok, there have to be a few. Hang on, I’ll think of something….
….Ok I think I’ve got some.
This last one is my favorite. And also the scariest.
I like to blog about everything. From the time I peed on my best friends floor, to what I think about when I’m in bed with my husband.
Not really things I want my mother in law to read.
(but she does, and she does not approve)
It’s hard not to censor yourself when you know that people at church are reading what you write.
But if you find your voice, and write from your heart, the honesty will shine through. And honesty is attractive. It will reach out to people that you know, and those you don’t know, and when they learn more about you, they will learn about themselves.
Sometimes I cringe before hitting the publish button. Sometimes I think “there go all my followers,” or maybe “there go all my friends.”
But I do it anyway.
And those posts? The raw and honest ones, the embarrassingly funny ones, the ones that give some not-so-pleasant insights into my character flaws, and the way things work inside my head?
Those are my best posts.
They are the ones that people relate to more.
They are the ones that get noticed, and shared, and talked about.
And they are the ones that make your real-life friends (and old schoolmates, and church leaders, and everybody else who has been secretly reading your blog) look at you, and see you.
They stop seeing you on your best behavior. They stop seeing you when you are trying to be nice. They stop seeing you as that awkward teenager, or that quiet co-worker (not that you should let your coworkers read your blog. Ever), or that crazy, messy co-ed that you used to be. Instead, they see who you really are.
Maybe they will like you. Maybe they will hate you.
But they will see you.
And chances are, they will also see themselves.
My husband Kurt has had friends, classmates, and even old roommates tell him “My wife reads Helena’s blog all the time.” Sometimes they will tease him about posts that they’ve read themselves.
“So, Andrew, huh?”
He’s getting used to it.
But I’m not.
#3 on my list really happens. It’s intimidating meeting someone for the first time, and hearing them say “Oh my gosh, I read your blog!”
My smile freezes, and all I can think is “….Well shit. Now they’re going to expect me to be funny in real life.” (and I’m not. I’m mostly just awkward.)
But in the end, I am happy with my decision to blog publicly. Or rather, my decision to stick with it, even after I realized my mistake.
I chose to be real in spite of it. To be me. To let me flaws shine through, no matter how much I would rather play up the virtues.
Not to censor my voice, or pretend to be someone I’m not just because I’ll have to look my friends (and mother in law) in the eye after they read what I write.
It’s the best decision I have ever made.
(besides, you know, that whole getting married to Kurt thing)
I’m not saying that anonymous blogging isn’t amazing, and freeing, and something you should totally do if you can (if I could do it over, I probably would). But I am saying that if you have a public blog, and you can’t let go of it, embrace it and be you.
Don’t let other people stifle your voice.