I had only been blogging for a few months when I started saying, “blogging changes lives,” and now that it has been four years, I can only think, “I don’t even know what my life would look like right now if I had never started blogging.” In the beginning, I had the lines drawn clearly between my real life and my blogging life, but over the years, the lines became so blurred that finally the only thing left to do was attach my full name to this place.
I perhaps deluded myself into thinking this was a bigger deal for me than it would be for other people. I am shy, and even friends who know me through this blog and also talk to me all the time think that I am mysterious. Sometimes I point to 750 posts about my feelings, and ask, “really?” But, I get it. I have a way of articulating things that almost seems too careful.
I was sitting in a class on existentialism just over a year ago when my professor raised the question of whether the internet just gives us another place to be inauthentic. We craft these profiles in an effort to connect with each other, but only end up further alienating ourselves. I thought to myself, “only if you’re doing it wrong.” Because this is the place where I was accidentally myself all along. I talked about the things I struggle with and what I care about the most and all the things that make me weird. And I found people who were accepting of all of that.
At a certain point, I felt so authentically myself here that the anonymity started to feel limiting. Confronted with all of these academic questions about authenticity, a thing I have struggled with all of my life because of an unfortunate impostor complex, I decided somewhat recklessly to destroy my anonymity. I gave myself time to change my mind, even knowing that I almost never change my mind after I have made a big decision. But I finally did it.
This is where it would make sense to talk about what I gained from attaching my name to this place and learning to be honest in front of a larger audience, but instead I want to talk about what I gained from those three years of anonymity, because they are really important to the person I am now. I have only become more convinced lately that no matter your circumstances, you have work to do figuring out who you are and dealing with your feelings and reconciling all the many parts of yourself.
When I started this blog, I had a lot of work to do. I seemed put together from the outside, but I felt like a complete mess most of the time. I was hiding from a lot of things. I didn’t think I was smart or talented enough to do what I really wanted to do. I wasn’t very engaged in my life, and I had few people to confide in. I was in complete crisis about what I was going to do next. Writing all of these words over the last four years, it didn’t always feel like I was really getting anywhere. But now I see that I am a much better and happier person for being that girl with a blog, sharing her feelings all over the internet.
I did the work. I am still doing the work. And I don’t think that would be true without this place. Blogging has changed a lot over the last four years, but I still love it, and I just don’t think I can ever stop. So thank you, if you have been reading for four years or two years or a week. It means everything to me that you even let me take this anniversary to be entirely too weird and serious. Love your faces!