Public anonymity

ImageIt’s an odd experience, writing a public blog pseudonymously. Yes, in case you wondered, “Greg” is not my real name. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you can probably guess why I use a pseudonym: I’m out to my wife, but not to our kids, and not to anyone else in our circle of friends. I love my wife deeply. I’ve caused her profound pain, and we’re striving to find a way forward as a couple. Any step of my coming out won’t just be self-revelation, it will be revealing things about us, about her. And so she has to have a say in this too. And some day our kids will know some of this; but we want them to hear it from us, not from friends at school or from strangers. So for now, I’m “Greg.”

So why write a blog at all, you might ask? If it’s all so personal, why not keep it private? Well basically there are two reasons. First, writing is cathartic. One of my goals is to make sense of my life, to construct a coherent narrative that can help me understand and reconcile two profound but seemingly incompatible realities in my life: I genuinely love my wife and yet I am gay. I’m hoping to find clarity through transparency.

Second, by sharing my story, I hope to be an encouragement to others who may be struggling and who feel alone. I have known the fractured feeling of isolation that comes from hiding a secret that I considered shameful. I know what it is to be in a dark and hopeless place, and I have been buoyed by reading other people’s stories. An anonymous author at SafetyNet puts it this way:

When I was closeted at Westmont College and Fuller Theological Seminary, I remember feeling profoundly isolated.  I was unable to share my secret for fear of the consequences in my family, church, school, and professional life, even though I deeply longed for someone who could understand what I was going through, who could help me sort through my emotions and options, and who could help me carry the burden of not being truly welcome in most of my social world.

The most painful lie of the closet, whether it’s our sexuality, our gender identity, our political allegiance, or even the “guilty pleasure” we take from enjoying My Little Pony, is the belief that everyone will reject me, “if only they knew.”  This fear, formed through experiences of rejection combined with a cultural climate that all too often others, condemns, and demonizes those who are “different,” silences us when we choose to hide a part of ourselves in hopes of protecting ourselves from the reactions of others. (You Are Not Alone)

So I write publicly both for my own sake and for my readers. Still, it’s odd. On the one hand, I feel a freedom to share things so personal that I haven’t even shared them with close friends. So now complete strangers know things about me that friends and family do not. And yet they only know my story – not my name. Maybe this is just life at the closet door?

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One comment

  1. I hope you can find a balance between the private you and the blogging you. One thing that has helped me understand myself, is reading what other people are going through. Maybe your writings do help someone else who is struggling.

    Like

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