Soooo… I recently had a somewhat long-term blogging buddy-of sorts (who shall remain nameless) suggest to me that I get set up on Facebook… Well, that is a good idea, right? Should be relatively simple. Especially since I have used Facebook with my real name (that shall remain nameless for real) for years. Plus, I have created and maintained Facebook pages for others, so I know a little about this kind of thing – and really, if I have a public blog, why not a Facebook page, right? Makes perfect sense. Why didn’t’ I think of that?
Well, actually, I did. I set up camp there before to share my poetry, etc. You might have seen me on there around a year ago or so? No? Huh. Well, it was up and running for a whole 20 minutes or so before I chickened out and made the page private…
I guess I needed a new push, and I have to say I am quite humbled and flattered by my friend’s suggestion that I get myself out there more. Especially since he is an excellent writer/poetic genius (in a mad-man sort of way), who’s opinion (on writing, at least ;) I actually value. Not that others haven’t been encouraging (and you know who you are and I love you for it!), but, you know, sometimes you need that extra push from someone you weren’t expecting it from. His few comments made me question myself – Why not have a Facebook page? As well as feel like maybe some of my writing is worth sharing. I’m not sure I believe it, of course. After-all, he may have just been desperate to get his own Facebook Page’s “friend” count up. Still, in all sincerity, I do appreciate the push and he did get me thinking… (and, damn if that doesn’t hurt sometimes, eh?). The truth is, I have been trying to focus more on my writing lately… So, really, why not get it out there in other venues, right? My main problem (of the moment) seems to boil down to a sort of a life-long struggle with “being real”. Which, really comes down to me struggling with the decision to use a pen name vs. my real name.
Using a “pen name” (aka “fake” name) is nothing new to me. Oh, I have tried to break out of the invisibility cloak here and there and have blogged using my real name as well. It is OK for some things – I did the family blog that centered on my wonderful children (and they ARE wonderful), a hearing loss blog (because my one son has a hearing loss, and I found there wasn’t a lot of easily accessible information on it out there at the time), and I even had a poetry blog or two using my real name – but, those never lasted long. When I wrote using my real name, I never really felt free to be “me” completely, at least not when it came to any deeper issues. And, when I wrote as “Sam” it seemed I could be more myself than I ever was in “real life”. Ironic, yes? No, not really. Anonymity, in general, I’ve found is sort of like beer muscles. It sparks all kinds of false bravado that might very well be better off restrained or bounced on out of dodge. Luckily, I’m also a tad paranoid, and so I also always functioned under the premise that you’re never reeeeeeally guaranteed 100% anonymity. Not when you are on the WWW. So, that sort of puts that little bite of reality back in to keep things slightly on edge.
Part of what is really bothering me about this whole “pen name vs. real name” thing, is that for the first time ever in my life, I am actually more open and honest and willing to share more of myself than I ever was before. Believe it or not, I’ve been on a real honesty kick, both in “blog land” AND real life. Not always a popular thing to be, I’m learning – but, I can’t tell you how much better I feel. Not that I wasn’t honest before, but I seemed to do it in spurts. I would say what I thought about most things to anyone who really wanted to know… and sometimes, even if they didn’t. Often I was brutally honest. Still, I didn’t really tell everything, or showing all of me, to any one person. I sort of let each person see the parts of me I felt comfortable enough to expose to that person, at that time. I showed them as much as I thought they could handle, or what I thought they wanted to see. I guess I learned to be like this at an early age, I felt like I had to, like it was a matter of survival and it became the norm for me. But that’s a whole other story/blog.
One place I was 100% honest, at least with myself, was in my writing. I always wrote a lot – poems, and had a diary/journal for years. But, I didn’t ever share it all with anyone in my “real life”. I didn’t share most of what I wrote with anyone in my real life. Not really. Not until the last few years…
The last few years have sparked some pretty big changes in this are for me. The shit finally all hit the fan, so to speak, and I started jut throwing it all out there. Once I started, it all snowballed. I felt like, well? If I told THIS person, I might was well tell THAT person. And, if THAT person knows – well, screw it, I might as well tell THEM too! This included sharing my poems, and private blogs, and deep dark secrets, and current thoughts with my close friends, and family… not just to my journal, or to “strangers” on a blog using a pen name.
I finally came out of my shell, and started feeling like ONE person… and realized the obvious - that there really is only one life… one “me”. Yes, of course, we all have our different “sides” to us. Different moods, but, I think some of us take it to more of an extreme. I was one of them. But, now? Not so much. At the end of the day, I AM Sam… and vice versa… (if that makes any sense). I even started taking a writing class, and telling more and more people in “real life” about my poems, etc.. and, it feels great. Either they were genuinely interested and/or impressed, or they didn’t really care. I finally realized that the more “real” I was with people, the better off we all were/are.
And yet – I guess, I don’t completely buy into that just yet, because when I thought about sharing my blog completely, and linking it up to my “real name”… I just… couldn’t… do it. WTF? It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? I mean, it’s not like I write anything that earth shattering… Hell, it’s not like that many people are even reading my stuff or want to. And, it’s not like I have anything THAT big too hide. ? Oh.. I’ve got stuff!… plenty-O-STUFF, people! I admit that! But, I mean, I’m not an ax murderer or anything (sorry to disappoint any of you sicko’s out there lol).
There just happens to be people in my “real life” that I don’t really want to share everything with, ya know? People, who aren’t necessarily bad people, but who may really NOT like some of my opinions, or things that I’ve thrown out there. Maybe, I shouldn’t have told some of the memories I told (when I thought they’d never know)? I don’t want to hurt anyone… or tick off anyone… and I guess, it’s not worth it to me to get into it with them. There are some people I’m just not really comfortable sharing with either… some family members… some “friends”… some neighbors… some of my kid’s friend’s parents .. or my kids (yikes! that could be bad)… or some of my co-workers. Yeah… co-workers… or potential co-workers. That’s a big one! I envy all you lucky self-employed bastards out there for this factor alone! And, I also suppose, some of these “some people” may already know about this blog… but, I’ll be damned if I’ll make it easy for them to bring it up to me at the next social gathering.
Oh, I know.. I’m probably being stupid… but, in the end, I guess I still just don’t want to be judged by some people. I’d like to not care at all what anyone, including these people think… and, usually, I’m fairly good at conveying and having conviction to that attitude, but, I guess when it comes down to it… in some cases… I still do care.
So – all this to say… if you want to find me (sort of) on Facebook,
I now have a Page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/SamanthaMariahJanePage
and, I have a profile at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/SamanthaMariahJane
Well, that and to ask what everyone/anyone else thinks about using pen names… ?? Seriously, inquiring minds need to know…
Oh, here’s a short vid on the subject (below). I thought this guy had some good points… none of which helped me much with my inner turmoil/psycho babble… but, still, maybe worth taking into consideration….
and a better vid:
The Real Me, The Who (from Quadrophenia: The Movie)