Wednesday, January 31, 2007

on being forced out of the blogger closet

Last week, one of my blog posts was found by a coworker and a link to the post was sent around the office. It was actually quite the traumatic experience and I’m just now comfortable talking about it. In fact, I haven’t even told Jesse and I normally tell him anything and everything (and usually in much detail). But now I feel the need to express myself and just let it all out.

When I saw the link to one of my posts in an email sent to the whole staff, my heart stopped. You hear those stories all the time about people who got fired from their jobs for having a blog. And although I don’t blog about work or even mention the organization I work for, I thought I’d be forced to kiss my great job goodbye. In all the months I’ve been blogging, I never gave much thought to the blog being discovered by a coworker. But now that it has been, I didn’t know how to deal.

After clicking on the link in the email, my coworkers figured out that it was indeed my blog. I had been outted as a blogger. Most of the responses from my coworkers were positive…some people thought it was pretty cool that I had a blog. Others thought it was great that I was writing about sexual health issues. And the president even made a joke about the ‘modified’ Kipling quote that follows the title of my blog (at the very top, under the beach). Phew, I thought. Looks like I’m going to get to keep my job.

But what happened next was unexpected. I checked my traffic counter and found that people in my office were looking around the blog, checking out old posts, reading my thoughts and my many stories. And I couldn’t handle it. My coworkers were reading my innermost thoughts and insecurities. They were beginning to find out who I really am. This was worse than the time my sister found my diary and read all the entries. I felt as violated as being poked and prodded during my annual well woman visit.

But I shouldn’t feel this way, right? After all, I’m the one who put myself out there. I’m the one who exposed myself for all the internet to see. I’m the one who is open, honest, and uncensored on my blog. I should’ve known that anyone can read me—my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions. I should’ve known that this could’ve happened.

Following the incident, my blog posts have been relatively reserved and ‘vanilla.” Blogging feels different to me. My feelings while writing these posts are held in check. But I’m not enjoying my self-restraint. I want to be me. I want to express myself with abandon. I want to speak my mind and not worry about what other people think. I was starting to think that perhaps, considering my new audience, I couldn’t do that any more. However, a couple of days ago I was inspired to write the Post About Porn in rebellion. In a short while, the frustration had been building and I didn’t want to restrain myself any more. So I thought about something inappropriate to write about and let my fingers do the rest.

What I say, how I express myself in this forum shouldn’t reflect on myself in the workplace. But my blog is me. It’s my outlet and my escape. The blog and my blog peeps have become my therapy and therapists. It has become one of my main forms of communication with friends. It has even introduced me to some new peeps that I totally adore. I’m hoping I can just write this out, this feeling that my blog is no longer mine, and it will soon go away...

Because I’m just not ready to give it up.


EJ Takes Life said...

Oh yikes. Knowing co-workers were reading your blog would be so unsettling, no matter how great they (and your blog) are. It sounds like you're feeling good about your choice to keep writing, though!

lizzie said...

There's two things I want to say. One, EJ, thanks for the encouragement. I'm just taking it one day at a time. And secondly, to those of you who have emailed me your support because comments weren't working, I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am. I appreciate your sharing your stories with me. I feel much better knowing that I'm not alone. You guys rock!

njc said...

I know exactly what you mean. I recently revamped my blog and started over with a new URL because too many people knew who I was and I shared the fear of losing my job.

Kris said...

This makes my heart ache. I've gone through a phase of having to stifle my voice on my blog, and it was ridiculously cumbersome and painful. Glad you pulled through with great aplomb. ;)

Michelle said...

I occasionally read your blog and want to encourage you to get through this and keep writing. I write a blog also and have to always "edit" and think about the the fact that ANYONE could read it. I don't think you have to write light, in "light" of that fact (no pun meant) but I think that it can force a person to go deeper and be a better writer. Don't give up! :) (I live in Ukraine and miss my home in Southern California sometimes too!)

lizzie said...

njc--i've thought about doing that but i think i'll just wait and see.

kris--thank you for the support. i'm anti-stifling so let's hope everything turns out ok eventually.

michelle--first off, thanks for being a blog peep! and secondly, wow, ukraine from So Cal...that's awesome! and one last thing...i'm not a quitter. the day i say good bye to this blog and all of my loyal blog peeps will be the day i run out of things to say.

i'm very opinionated so who knows when that will happen?

Michelle said...

Sometimes people make fun of me being from Southern California and that we are superficial and airheaded, yada yada yada, but I you go girl! I know different!

lizzie said...

michelle--we are so not like that. i'm glad there are chicks like us that break the stereotype!

someone's gotta represent the west side well and it might as well be us!