Do you know that film scene where a young woman dressed in a pencil skirt storms out of her boss’ office steaming with anger, yelling “I quit!”? Well, I don’t think I would ever physically be able to do that, to be honest, so here’s my equivalent: dear readers, dear followers; I’ve decided to stop blogging. This is my final post.
When I started blogging, my most important goal was to break the silence surrounding sexual abuse and mental illnesses. I wanted to share my story because no-one should feel alone. I wanted to show how sexual abuse and mental illness happens to normal people; people like you and me. By remaining anonymous, however, I’m not getting any closer to that goal. I’ve told quite a few people around me about the blog, but it’s not the same as actually being open. People now know that I was abused, but that doesn’t mean we ever really talk about it. And many people don’t know about Articulate Ana. My family still doesn’t, for example, and I’m still terrified that they will find out.
I’ve pondered a lot on whether I shall or shall not remain anonymous. For me, the question boils down to this: do I want to be Articulate Ana? I mean, I am, of course; but is this the identity I want for myself? Do I want people to know me for the blogs I’ve written? The answer is a definite no. It’s a definite no for several reasons.
First, my blogs are pretty one-sided and sad. The abuse happened, but so many other things (happy things) happened in my life too. Sometimes my life is a struggle, but other times it’s not. Yet all I write about is the struggle and the painful memories. It makes sense, if you look at the goal of the blog. But writing about the hard bits only created an identity of suffering, of a victim. It’s an identity that I do not want for myself. If my abuse and my eating disorder define my identity, how should I ever let them go? My goal is to get unstuck, not to get stuck in the abuse even more.
Apart from the identity issue, there’s also the issue of ‘focus’. In order to feel better, I need to concentrate on things that make me happy; the abuse is not one of them. For example, I’ve been sewing a lot since recently, and it makes me so much happier compared to writing about my abuse! I’m making things, creating things, new things, beautiful things! Of course, writing is creating too, and I do enjoy writing. But when the content of my writing is misery, than certainly a big chunk of the reward gets cancelled out. I want to focus on things that make me happy, without feeling the pressure to write about the things that make me sad.
Finally, there’s the issue of privacy. I’m fine with people knowing the stories of Articulate Ana, but would I also be fine walking down the street knowing that anyone I run into may know I was sexually abused? No. Similarly, I wouldn’t want every stranger to know whom I slept with, or to know how many times a day I go to the toilet. It’s simply none of their business. And the same goes for the abuse. Privacy is not a matter of being ashamed, it’s a matter of respecting yourself. There are things that are private and that I will disclose only to the people who are worth it.
And therefore, I quit. Not quite as dramatically as that girl in the movie, but abruptly nonetheless. Thank you so much, all of you, for reading and commenting on my blog. It’s been a truly valuable experience to connect with you! I wish you all the best. May you be happy and healthy, and surrounded by people you love as well as by people who love you.