Coming Out & Owning it.

After reading City Girl‘s recent post about her experiences “coming out” as a blogger and “owning it“, I told her I was going to to write my own blogger “coming out” story so, here it is!


I should start off by saying that this blog has never been anonymous. I don’t advertise to everyone that I write it but, I also don’t go to great lengths to hide it.
A few weeks ago I was at a conference for my work. I was in a suit & heels, talking to a prospective candidate who was interested in the professional degree program I was there representing. I’m in the middle of giving him my sales pitch when he stops me and says:
“I know you from somewhere”
{The funny thing is that he looked really familiar too. Is it possible that he and I made out in the early 2000’s? Is one of my nights at Element bar finally coming back to bite me in the ass? No, wait. He’s blonde. Not my type. We totally didn’t make out}
me: “Maybe we know each from U of T”
{That’s when he tells me that he has a degree in Math}
me: “Oh I know a few people who did Math at U of T. Do you know _________ or _________?”
him: “No, I’m sorry I don’t”
{Ok, well that’s good. At least I haven’t slept with his friends. What? I like guys who are good with numbers}
him: That’s weird. You just look so familiar.
{That’s when the bells started to go off and I started to sweat in my Aritzia pant suit. Oh god…he knows me from the blog! He follows me on Twitter and recognizes me from my tiny avatar photo. He’s probably read that post about Vagazzling. Oh god. What do I say now?}
Me: I don’t know how we know each other then. {smile. shrug}
him: You know what it is? It’s that you look like Cate Blanchett. Yes that’s totally it!
Me: Um?
{Even he didn’t look convinced}
him: I mean, if she was a brunette or you were a blonde.
Me: ?
him: Don’t worry. It’s a good thing.
Me: “OK THEN….. Let’s talk about that Math degree…or more, specifically your GPA”
***
I never figured out where we knew each other from. The point is I’ve realized that these are the kinds of situations that can potentially happen when you straddle the territory between
anonymous and fully public online.
When I started this blog in 2009 my main audience was my friends. I wanted a place where I could write & tell stories, and hoped that if people liked what I had to say it would grow into something much bigger.
I’ve been blogging since 2001 but, this is my first public blog. I was nervous. It took me six months to post my first photo of myself (!) But, as the blog grew so did my confidence. I decided “What’s the point of writing a blog called Skinny Dip if I am too afraid to even show my face?!”. The number of photos grew and I went from posting THIS:
(me hiding behind a martini glass)
……to THIS (heyoo!)
When this blog helped me score my first professional writing gig for an online Women’s magazine, I had this long back and forth email conversation with Sandy about whether I should use my real name in my articles because after all I would be writing about stuff like sex. Her response was “If writing is what you really want to do, you should be proud and own it” So, I did. I used my real name and proudly placed my blog URL in my contributor’s bio.
I was officially “out” as a blogger…sort of.
Aside from one or two people that I’ve become friends with, no one at work knows about the blog and I’d like to keep it that way. I sit on the editorial board for our staff newsletter and I’m part of the social media committee so, I actually find it kind of amusing that no one has ever bothered to ask me why I seem to know so much about blogging, twitter & other social media.
Some of the people at work know that I do some freelance writing on the side. I kind of regret mentioning this. In the fall I was at a cocktail party for work and my co-worker (who knows I write) brought up the magazine I write for, right in front of my boss. To which my boss replied “That’s exciting Simone. I’m going to have to take a look at it later!” I downed my vodka cran in one gulp and moments later I was in the bathroom with my iPhone frantically emailing my editor with the subject heading MUST EDIT BIO PLEASE URGENT. I had this whole nightmare happening in my head where my boss goes home, finds my bio, follows my link and ends up seeing a post about SEX TOYS or COCAINE or WEIRD SHAPED PENISES (actually, I do have a story that involves all three of those things but, I’ll save it for another day) which is then followed by the world’s most awkward conversation ever the next day.

(Eventually I’d like to get to the point where what I do to pay my rent is somehow linked to my creative pursuits so I can stop replaying this nightmare in my head. But, I’m not quite there yet)

My full name is no longer attached to this blog but, if you Google me hard enough (no, that’s not a euphemism for something) you will find me. I tested this out after I received a few emails from exes who told me they’ve been reading the blog (hi guys. I’m not sure what you get out of this but, carry on?) – another scenario that pops up when you write a not-so-anonymous blog.
My family on the other hand know about the blog but don’t have the URL and therefore, don’t read it. I told my mom about the kind of stuff that I write about and she said, “Maybe you could email me the posts that aren’t about sex and I’ll read those“. My Dad knows I do freelance writing but I have never mentioned the B-L-O-G word to him. He’s recently become kind of google savvy but, from what I can tell from the browser history on my Mom’s computer he mostly googles weird stuff like photos of boats, art galleries in Sweden or all things soccer related…not his kids. However, if there is one person I’m terrified of finding my blog its my Dad – not because he would disapprove of the content but because HE’S MY DAD. I’m pretty sure he still thinks I am twelve and to shatter that bubble would just be cruel.
My younger sister on the other hand, knows about the blog but doesn’t read it. She runs a really successful fashion, art and design blog that keeps her busy. I don’t really think this blog is her kind of blog. Her comments: “There’s too much writing. I can’t handle it“. She’s an image person. I’m a word person. We both do our thing & don’t really talk about it. That is until this Christmas when my sister says to me:
“So…you write a Sex Blog or something…right?”
“Well, it’s not really a Sex Blog…I only talk about Sex sometimes”
{shyly} “Um, well – could you recommend a good brand of condoms to buy?”
“YES! YES I CAN”
After I gave my sister my recommendation, I told her that if she ever had any other questions she could always ask me. She smiled and said “Thanks Simone!” This made me think: If having this blog means I can actually help people in some way then, maybe people knowing about it isn’t such a bad thing. (As long as those people aren’t my Dad)
By writing about my life online, I leave open the possibility that people may find this space.
Whenever I start to think about this too much I tell myself: If someone stumbled across this blog the worst thing that could happen? They would discover that I am a girl who likes to write & enjoys talking about sex & has dated people & has made mistakes & still sometimes struggles with anxious feelings but tries to see the humor in most situations & maybe is actually kind of funny. In other words, they would see me for who I really am instead of whatever preconceived notion they had of me.
& If that happens, I’ll own it.
Are you “out” as a blogger or do you write completely anonymously? How do you handle the people in your life knowing/not knowing about your blog?

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