Anonymous Writing and A New Name

It’s no secret that I blog anonymously. That decision is not one that I’ve made lightly. I’ve given it a great deal of thought and I believe that, for now, I will continue being anonymous here.

In order to better facilitate my online interactions and remain anonymous, I’ve come up with a pen name that fits my perception of myself. You may call me Aria Sky on this blog ❤ I have always loved the name “Aria” and its musical connotations. Also, you might have noticed this, I absolutely love photos of the sky. I like to capture beautiful moments above, even though my camera is not very good. I’ve always enjoyed cloud-watching too.

So, Aria Sky it is 🙂

I’ve written a bit about blogging anonymously on my About page, but it’s been several months since I wrote that page and it doesn’t really get into my reasons. While talking to a friend today, I realized that it’s time to revisit this issue of being anonymous and also to explore the various thoughts I have had regarding the disclosure of my autistic status to people.

They’re two different issues so I think I’m going to have a separate blog post about disclosure vs blogging anonymously. Blogging anonymously is the issue I’m more settled about personally so that’s the first topic I’ll tackle!

Privacy

My biggest concern with blogging publicly about my life is that my children’s privacy needs to be respected and protected.

On the one hand, I’m not planning to blog much about my children specifically. Even posts that are almost completely about my parenting experience are and will be as vague as I can manage – with my children’s permission given for anything more specific than that.

Their privacy will be respected regardless of whether I’m anonymous or not.

So why does this factor in as the first reason I’m writing about today?

Simply put, my life hasn’t been simple. Some of the experiences I would like to blog about aren’t things that are considered compatible with successful parenting. Those things largely happened before I ever had children, but they could still be pointed to by someone who wanted to paint me as potentially unfit. I don’t know why anyone would do that, but I tend towards being over-trusting, which has hurt me in the past, and I can’t afford to take chances where my children’s wellbeing is concerned.

Until my children are older and less dependent on me, I think it’s in their best interests that I blog anonymously using a pen name.

My own privacy is also a concern, although less of one since, unlike my children, I’m a consenting adult who’s willingly putting my business out here publicly. Oversharing with strangers is not something I usually hesitate to do, but the internet is a large place with a lot of strangers all at once and I’d rather they not be able to find me in real life unless I want them to.

Politics

I live in the USA and the political climate here right now is pretty brutal. I’m not wanting to write primarily (or even very much) about politics, but autism advocacy is a political issue and that’s going to come up sometimes.

Most of what I believe to be beneficial for autistic people is the opposite of what the current administration seems to be all about and I (again) have young children who rely on me. I don’t need to be getting on anyone’s radar.

I personally know people local to me who have been targeted by supporters of the current administration because they’ve spoken out publicly and with their real names. Under different circumstances (not having young children who rely on me), I’d be right there with them! But I really can’t justify doing that under my real name right now.

Nothing permanent to lose by waiting

In talking with others (on twitter) about blogging anonymously vs openly, I realized that the primary downside to being anonymous is publicity, which is something I did need to consider, as a writer.

Basically, I cannot connect my writing here with my real name as long as I want to stay anonymous. I can’t share writings from my non-anonymous blog here and vice versa, which can be frustrating sometimes. Splitting my writing is not easy for me to do.

But, practically, there’s not much lost there. I’m not a professional writer at the moment and I could, at any time, decide to not be anonymous here, which would alleviate that particular disadvantage.

And that brings us to my final big reason:

I’m just not ready

It’s very possible that I’ll come back and read this post in a year or two and wonder what on earth I was so worried about. As I’m reading through it now, I could easily see that being my reaction in the future.

But future-me has information that present-me doesn’t have. Also, future-me has more time since being diagnosed than I have now and future-me’s children are older than mine are.

Future-me might feel completely comfortable being open and honest and out there all the way! And that’s fine. But present-me is not ready for that right now. Present-me has valid concerns and young children to think about.

Present-me is still getting used to being openly autistic with people who know me well. Let alone publicly and openly writing about the experiences I’ve had of being autistic during some very difficult times.

So, I need to respect present-me’s wishes for now.

After all, it’s easy to put information out there, but nearly impossible to retract it once it’s public. I don’t want to be too open and connected to my real life self and then regret it afterwards.

I need to wait until I’m ready and feel comfortable with it before writing non-anonymously here.

So, those are my reasons and my pen name. (I love the name Aria Sky so much!)

I do want to write openly and I suspect that someday I will. It’s difficult to keep one online presence separate from another because it’s the same me and I don’t do secrets well at all.

But, for now, this is what I’m comfortable with and able to manage.

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3 thoughts on “Anonymous Writing and A New Name

  1. Those strike me as perfectly reasonable concerns. I provided the platform for other people to blog years before I started one myself, though I’ve commented on other blogs (and before that on Usenet) and on mailing lists for many years. At times, I would do so semi-anonymously (not associating my full distinctive name with the comment) so it would be slightly harder to find in a search engine.

    I was always rigorous about protecting my children’s privacy. When I spoke about them, I exclusively used terms like ‘youngest daughter” and avoided details or personal information. I still do, mostly, but will sometimes share pictures now that they are all adults.

    As an older, reasonably well-to-do, straight white male, I also sit near the pinnacle of privilege in our society. Especially since I can act the part of a “quirky” neurotypical (which most people will attribute to being a “tech guy” anyway) pretty well, my level of risk is about as small as it can get. Even so, I’m careful about the things I choose to reveal.

    Anyway, I look forward to everything you share, Aria!

    Liked by 2 people

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