An alarmingly familiar feeling

Despite my best efforts to remain anonymous, Twitter seems to have figured out who I am. Suspiciously often, my ‘who to follow’ section is filled with people I know, in real life. I wonder: does Twitter also tell my real connections that they know Articulate Ana, and encourage them to follow me? And what if someone I know would actually, most probably accidentally, hit that follow-button, or even click through to my blog? As I have virtually no followers on Twitter, I shouldn’t be concerned really. But I am.

Being anonymous gave me a sense of freedom when I first started writing, but since recently it’s been troubling me. I wrote a piece on the issue of anonymity last week (in Dutch), trying to understand my clinging on to it, weighing its pro’s and con’s. As I was hoping, writing that piece greatly helped me finding answers to questions such as ‘what’s wrong?’ and ‘now what?’. It caused me to change my mind about being anonymous.

Anonymous writing clashes with almost everything I strive for. I want to be honest to the people I love. I want to end the silence surrounding sexual abuse. I try my best to be one person, like a tree that may look slightly different from another angle but still is one and the same tree. I have no reason to be ashamed of what happened to me, or of the consequences it had and still has. Psychiatric patients are people like you and me. I want to be brave, not fearful. And, you know, sharing-is-caring and such things. Yet, I’ve been writing anonymously. I’ve not been living up to my standards.

Yet, a second ‘what’s wrong?’ has been troubling me even more. Over the past few days, I came to realise that, unwillingly, my anonymous writing has reintroduced secrets into my life. I really enjoy writing but I won’t tell anyone, fearing that they’ll ask me what it is I write about. I won’t tell anyone I’m on Twitter either, nervous that my identity might be uncovered. I once again feel the burden of keeping these secrets, the blog and the abuse, all to myself; in fear of people finding out. It’s an alarmingly familiar feeling. I once fought really hard to get rid of that burden, and now I’ve let it back in. Remember how relieved I felt after telling my parents what had happened. Remember how it inspired positive change in my life. Remember how much I slept as I finally felt relief.

As from today, my blog is no longer a secret. The first person to ask me what I do in my free time will get an honest answer: I write, and yes, I’m willing to share the link. I’ll no longer back away from that conversation. Yes, it’s scary, but I’m also very brave. You may also expect to see more references to my real life appearing in my posts. I might write some bits and pieces about my current job (scientist), or about my recent move to another country (United Kingdom). It means a lot to me that I’ll now be able to share all aspects of my life with you, and show you some different angles on that one tree that’s me.

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12 thoughts on “An alarmingly familiar feeling

  1. Good luck. I find great freedom in anonymity. I can talk about anyone and anything without fear of hurting someone. I also have great admiration for those who use their real name but I know it would muzzle me.
    If you wanted to retain anonymity you could close the twitter account and open a new one without your real identity. (I think so anyway)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Grace. For me, breaking anonymity is about sharing this blog with the people that are close to me, and I don’t need to share my first and last name for that. I wish you all the best.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Josipa. I wish you all the best. PS. I just fell in love with the Chinese proverb on your blog: “In shallow water, shrimps make fools of dragons”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what I eventually want to accomplish. It’s so counterintuitive to healing though. I can’t get over how your bravery has caught me in this moment. You are 100% right about everything you have shared in my perspective. I want to say I’m proud of you…because I want someone to say that to me when I reach the courage to follow in your footsteps.

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    1. Thank you so much Secret Keeper, for taking time to respond and to encourage me! It means a lot to me. I wish for you to share your secret too, one day, when you feel it’s the right time. There’s no need for you to feel so lost and alone. All my best, Ana

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes the anonymity and honesty conflict. There are many reasons I too must write anonymously and given how therapeutic writing is for me it feels like a minor compromise to not use my real name. May you continue to find freedom through your writing and trust your process and your inner wisdom.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth-Anne for taking time to read my blog and sharing your experience. I hope you find it helpful and wish you all the best for the future. Warm wishes, Ana

      Liked by 1 person

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