The Ventriloquist

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend about the power of being anonymous. Of course, this being the internet, anonymity is often used to screw someone else’s day, but there were halcyon days when the freedom of speech was liberating. It made me think back to over a decade ago, when a fellow writer and I co-wrote a fiction blog. He went by the handle “The Vampire” and I was, obviously, “The Vampiress.” I can’t for the life of me remember what the plot was about, but it was (to the shock of no one, I’m sure) about vampires.

What was awesome about the whole endeavor was that the only people who knew who we were were us. To be clear, this wasn’t some kind of “Second Life” nonsense where we were living out some sort of fantasy. It was just really fun to collaborate, to find ways to each get our characters to overcome the obstacles the other threw at them. And it was satisfying to have a secret partner-in-crime, so to speak.

I’ve waxed poetic before about the good ol’ days of the internet, and I’ve made no effort to hide my hatred of social media for coming along and ruining the fun by connecting people to everyone they’ve ever shared oxygen with. I don’t like being a click away. You kids get your Facebook off my lawn.

I’ve recently been through some shit. It has always been my cathartic response to voice that shit on my blog, get it out, and move on. I’m in an interesting place right now that I can’t say I’ve ever really been–I’m under a “gag order.” I want to explain what is happening and talk about how it has changed my trajectory. I want to explain why I’ve made the moves I have. I want to have some closure, some peace. I want to be authentic and tell my truth and I can’t. The risk is just too great.

My friend has made a new, anonymous blog and I am envious. I considered following those footsteps to finally take some of the pressure off, to say the things I can’t, and to have a place where fear can’t follow me, but in the end, it’s not the right call for me. These aren’t the same times as they were back when I could be my purest self right out in the open.

I have to sit quietly with this. I know that the anger, frustration, and disappointment that I’m feeling are going to build a wall over time, but the only choice I have right now is to make my space inside the wall as beautiful and tranquil as possible. Rather than focus on the loss of freedom, I need to plant something new. I have to continue to grow. The garden that surrounds me will say the words I can’t.

Listen.

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