Monday, 22 July 2013

Sue de Nim

     Shock Horror. Funnily enough, Lucy Benedict is not my real name. For some reason, I prefer to keep my lust for Ed Balls veiled behind the cloak of anonymity I have adopted for the purposes of this blog. Yes, weird, I know. Who amongst us doesn't wish to shout out loud and proud that they would totally do Ed Balls?

     So that's one reason for writing this anonymously.

     The internet is, as we know, a weird and wonderful place, where you can say what you like, indulge in your little whimsies, obsessively stalk and track people, adopt a whole new persona if you want, pretend to be a 14 year old boy, or a mother of twins with terminal cancer. People do create whole new personalities for themselves based on a whole world wide web of lies, sometimes for attention, sometimes for trolling, sometimes because they just can't help themselves. I've been taken in by a few, I'm sure most people have, it's just part of our online education that just because someone says they are something, doesn't mean they are. For the most part, we take people at face/screen value, until things begin to jar a little, and the doubts creep in.

     In my case, I have adopted the name Lucy Benedict because...well, because some of the things I'm posting about on here are fairly personal, and I don't necessarily want my real name to be attached to them, because not everyone in my every day life knows about them. Some people do. But not everyone, and I prefer to keep some things private. For example, I'm fairly sure that none of the parents I chat to at school know that the reason I'm a stay at home mum is because I tried to kill myself. If asked, sympathetically, and by the right person, I would most likely be honest. Or I might not. Depends on my mood. Equally, before I wrote Aftermath of a miscarriage, the only other person I had ever told (ironically, also in writing) was my ex, L. For the most part what I write is pretty true – I have had depression for years, I do have two young children, I'm not ever getting married, but I do sometimes put in a few details that aren't entirely 100% true. I don't, and never have had, a stepfather, especially not one called Hugo, nor have I ever had a friend called Helena. I put in these 'misdirections' (yes, ok, lies) to throw people off the scent. 1) so what I write about doesn't set alarm bells ringing and 2) if asked directly, I can claim it's all fictional, Lucy Benedict is just a character, haha, no, no, I wasn't writing about you, no, it was her thoughts, not mine, oh look over there, another drink?

     It's far, far easier to me to write all this crap under a different name, because then when I share things, it's not really me who's sharing it, if you see what I mean? I don't have to consider other peoples reactions, or feelings. This little corner of blogspot is mine to be as honest in as I choose to be, just like the diary I used to keep. I'd kept this blog a secret from most people, only mentioning it to a few friends. I absolutely had NOT told Alistair (another misdirection, his name ISN'T Alistair!), because... Jesus Christ, have you READ some of what I've written? And then...

     It was a Wednesday morning in June, and I was giddy with the adrenaline rush of Slipping through my fingers being chosen as Mumsnet Bloggers Network Blog of the Day (I am still quite revoltingly conceited about that, sorry) and the joy of going on holiday on Thursday. Alistair had taken the day off and was slightly taken aback by me being exceptionally garrulous and bouncy. In the pride-filled bubble I was inhabiting, I told him, actually no, I blabbed like a blabby blabber: 'I'VE GOT A BLOG AND I WRITE STUFF AND SOME PEOPLE LIKE IT WOO ME I AM SO HAPPY WOO HOLIDAY TOMORROW WOO.' He was touchingly, endearingly proud of me. So much so, that he didn't bother to read it himself or anything like that. No. He just told his mum. Who duly looked it up. And read everything.


And then he told my mum. And I know she's read it all too.

     *Waves to respective parents*

     So I have been struggling for the past ten days or so to apply fingertips to keyboard, because this is no longer the place where I wrote into the void, where I could allow thoughts to spill out onto the screen without worrying how it may come across, or that I may be causing offence or hurt to my nearest and dearest, or that I was unwittingly sharing secrets with people who know me. See, after we got back from holiday, I had planned to write a post about sex. I had a rough idea of it sketched out in my head. Then I had a quick look at my blog stats (if you didn't already know, know it now – blogs collect an awful lot of information about you when you read them) to see where readers had come from. And there were some highly specific locations ohfuckohfuckohfuck they'vereadTHATpost and I sat back on my hands and rocked and keened to myself for a few days seconds.

     And then I thought, right, that's it, no more blogging for me, this is not going to end well. Friendships, family relationships, this is going to go massively awry and cause all sorts of unpleasantness, chestthumping and browbeating angst that I don't want to face.

     But I missed it. I missed writing and clattering away at the keys (weirdly, I can only write this on a computer. Anything fictional has to be written by hand. Don't know why, but there it is). I got annoyed when I had a thought that I could have expanded upon here. I was narky and sniping at Alistair for telling people when he hadn't bothered to find out exactly what he was telling them (he is still blissfully unaware of the contents of this blog because he is Not A Reader). And then I woke up this morning and thought 'Fukkit. You've written about some of the worst experiences in your life already. So now they know, and you know they know. How much worse can it get? Also, Ed Balls.'

      So, real people in my real life, you may want to avert your eyes from here on in. Unfortunately, I am going to continue to mash away the desk and sometimes I will be writing about things you don't want to know, and I don't want you to know. And we may have to do that little conversational dance of 'I know you know' 'I know you know I know' I know you know I know you know' without a word being exchanged. I am waggling my eyebrows at you here as I repeat without a word being exchanged. In other words, if you know me, and you've read this without me providing the link directly to you, I don't want to know you know. You know? I know.


Tom said...

Loved this post. Could relate to all of it. I have managed to resist the urge to tell anyone close and also write anonymously so that i have that freedom to express myself :-)

Lucy Benedict said...

Thank you! The irony of this is that the day I wrote it, someone in real life read something on here that really upset them, which wasn't my intention at all, and aside from a horrible argument with them in October (it's very easy to spot when in October on here)we stopped speaking for six months. All sorted now.

It's incredibly liberating being anonymous. I'm much more me here and on twitter than I am in real life.