Fossil record

The internet is a place of permanence as much as it is a place of innovation and continual change. Almost everything ever put on the internet is still out there somewhere, squirrelled away in a server backup or hidden in or just cached by Google’s indexing engine. In that way, it’s not unlike a fossil record – remnants of the past left behind for future archaeologists to uncover.

As such, while the internet can be a place of anonymity, it is also the exact opposite. Once anonymity is breached, once the cracks start to show, it can never be regained.

This is one of the reasons I have been reluctant to put photos of myself on the internet attached to this identity. Because once I do, the internet will start to realise who I am, and the safety of anonymity will crumble away.

It is not as if I have always intended to remain anonymous. But it is a lot to ask of someone to come out when they don’t know if they’re ready. I am realising more and more the trials and hardships that my friends who have come out in various ways have faced. How those identities I saw as easily probably only came about after a lot of wrestling with their own thoughts and feelings.

I have long felt barred from certain arenas because of not being enough, of not being sure. Curiosity and questioning dismissed as trying to be cool or edgy or just not being able to make up my mind. I realise now that many of the people who gave me that impression are assholes and that they make up the minority. But as ever, the vocal minority does more damage and has a greater impact than the quiet majority ever will.

I am terrified of admitting who I am to the world. I don’t even like admitting that to myself. I don’t even know who I am and that terrifies me more – because when I tell the world “hi, this is me” I expect a lot of questions. I want to be prepared for those questions, I want to have the answers. Not having the answers frightens me because it makes me feel that I haven’t found the right path yet.

When I started writing this, I thought I might be ready to tell the world. Through writing this, I’m finding I’m not there yet – that my fear is making me hesitate. I am sure some people would tell me to rip off the plaster, but I don’t know that I can – I don’t know that everything the mask won’t fall apart the moment it’s removed.

I asked for questions the other day on Facebook. An AMA on any subject. I have found that answering questions honestly helps me figure out the answer for myself in a way that trying to figure things out on my own does not. I’ll ask again, both on this blog and on Facebook for questions. I would like constructive questions (but I will also take silly ones) and I will do my best to answer each.