Who would you be if no one knew who you were?
There was never a question what I would name this blog. I knew I wanted a place where I and others could rant about the frustrations we deal with around our chronic health problems. And since I wanted to be anonymous, Ms. Rants seemed like an appropriate name to give myself. I have written almost 500 posts now (incredible!) and today I was thinking about the persona I project via “Ms. Rants” versus who I am in real life. And they’re actually not that different.
I follow a few blogs. In many spheres, bloggers take on larger-than-life personas. Sometimes it’s to get a bigger crowd. Sometimes it’s so they can experiment with being someone else. It’s sort of like putting on a superhero cape just to see what will happen.
For me, this blog was always about discussing the reality of my health situation, so there never seemed to be any point in being anything other than honest and straight-forward. Still, that’s easier said than done. I’ve noticed that hiding behind a fake name has allowed me the comfort of saying things I wouldn’t normally say. The funny thing is, after saying those things here, I’ve begun to say them in real life! I still usually limit discussion of bowel movements, pain that makes me scream, and insurance woes to chats with other friends who have chronic illnesses. Still, in that way, I’m becoming more like Ms. Rants, instead of the other way around.
Of course, readers also only see certain parts of my life through this blog. I’m not intentionally lying about who I am, I’m just trying to keep the topics relevant. I don’t talk too much about my other hobbies, how I spend every minute of the day, what books I read, or what music I listen to (currently this, but I listen to most genres.)
The funny thing is, you would think that I exaggerate a lot of my attitude on this blog, but you’d be wrong. After all, here I can hide behind a fake name, but in real life I wouldn’t really criticize doctors, post public requests for help on Facebook, tell off people who park illegally in handicapped parking spaces, tell strangers they’re asking things that are none of their business, tell friends the details of my problems, or generally say half the things I purport to say. But I do. I don’t do those things every time. It depends on my mood and on my energy levels. Sometimes I keep my mouth shut. But most of the time I speak up. That’s just who I am. It’s who I’ve become over the years. And I’m happy with that part of myself. It surprises a lot of acquaintances and new friends, but so far, they seem to appreciate my straight forward approach.
In the blogging world, though, you never know if that kind of attitude is real or not. In my case, it is.
So I’m not entirely Ms. Rants, and she’s not entirely me, but we’re pretty damn close to one another. I type exactly the way I speak. I usually don’t edit my posts, and when I do, it’s usually just to fix typos. No, the truth is, I write what comes to mind. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s not. Just like sometimes the things I say are good, and sometimes I put my foot right into my big fat mouth. But I’m willing to take that chance, because I like who I am and believe in what I say.
So to you other bloggers out there, do you put on an act in your blog, or do you write as yourself? And if you’re not a blogger, how do you think you’d write if you were?
I am so grateful for all of you who read these posts and to those who comment, so I wanted to just take a moment to be honest about all of this.
Next time I’ll go back to my regular, health-focused posts. I’ve got a long list of topics I want to write about, so maybe inspiration will strike and I’ll pick up one of those. Or maybe I’ll come up with something random, like today (this topic came to mind less than an hour ago.) You just never know.