Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I'd been reading blogs for a few years when I decided to start one of my own. And so, one morning, the first post went up. It was a strange sensation to write, and then click on that orange button that said, "Publish Post". With that click, I was putting my thoughts out to the world. I was giving permission for people to peek into my brain and read my diary. I had no particular desire for anyone to know it was coming from me, and why should they care, anyway? I'm I'm not a writer. I'm not well known. I'm just a woman who likes getting stuff off her chest.

I checked my blog later in the day, and noticed that three people had commented. I sat there, utterly amazed. Three people read my blog! The next day, there were a few more. It was a good feeling.

We've all been there, us bloggers. We know that feeling of watching a blog grow and how good it feels to have someone pay attention.

I think most people who maintain blogs are doing it for some of the same reasons I do. They like the idea of a place where a record of our existence is kept - a house with an always open door, where people can check on you, compare notes with you and tell you what they think. Sometimes that house is messy. In real life, we wouldn't invite any passing strangers into these situations, but the remove of the Internet makes it seem ok.

There are no deep secrets revealed in my blog. But because the house is sometimes messy, I'm not comfortable with a real-life person coming inside. Being a nameless mystery feels safe...there is a security to being anonymous, and I did not want to give that up.

Apparently, I wasn't as anonymous as I believed.

I broke what is probably the number one rule of anonymous blogging - change the details. There are a wealth of details you can modify in a story without losing the essence of it, and I probably should have taken those liberties. I didn't. Someone read a post, and guessed who I am.

For one fleeting moment, I thought about closing my blog. I won't do that. But something does change when you become a real person, rather than an anonymous web site. In my real life, I choose which parts of me I want to put on display. I make sure the house is neat and clean before I invite anyone in. I worry about what people think.

As long as my blog was anonymous, I didn't have to do that. I didn't worry that people's perceptions will change based on something they read. I didn't worry about being judged based on my beliefs, my style, my perspectives, or any of a hundred other things that people judge.

I now have a couple of options. Stop caring about what other people think or discontinue the unfiltered honesty.

I won't do either. I'm going to keep blogging. Anonymously. And it may be more difficult to be as open as I'd like, but I still want the freedom to share my have a place where I am always allowed to write about how I feel without sweeping up first.

To my identifier: Thank you for respecting my privacy. Thank you for not judging me based on things you read on my blog...for not predicating your opinion of me on my messy house.

To everyone else, I will remain,

Yours always,

Mystery Woman



  1. MS, we (of the interweb using persuasion) are continuing to look forward to getting to hear from you for a long time.

  2. I'm sorry MW. I offered to stop reading your blog if that would make you more comfortable...
    You can still take me up on it.

    But I will say this: I still think very highly of you and that's because of what I've read. I do understand though, that it's uncomfortable to know that someone who knows your name is reading your personal feelings. I wish I could somehow remedy that :-).

  3. I had this happen to me as well. It does make things weirder, especially when you write in such an open, thoughtful, emotional way as you do.

    As Yehuda wrote, from a selfish standpoint, I'm glad you're still blogging. Hopefully you'll find a way to use this for the positive.

  4. Well... sorry you were unmasked. I can see how it hinders your sense of freedom, your ability to convey your thoughts with unfiltered honesty. But I join the chorus of those who are glad you are still blogging. Your blog is refreshing, and unique. I check it religiously, as I find that it is unpredictable. No one theme, every post is fresh and "real".

    As consolation, I just checked all your posts going back, and viewed it from the perspective of it being someone who I know. Someone that is no "Mystery". Rest assured, it's all perfectly admirable, not a "messy house" at all! So, to the "identifier", respect her privacy, and realize that you are the one privileged person to whom she is no mystery, and yet she doesn't seem to have much to hide...

  5. Blogging is dangerous. It's risky. That's one of the reasons I stopped. I understand why you want to continue, and I hope it adds meaning to your life. Good point about changing identifying details ... now I'm even happier that I deleted my blog entirely :)

  6. I remember the feeling all too well... when I suddenly realized that people I knew were reading my blog. I hated those people at the time, angry that they took away my anonymity. But now, looking back, I am glad they found it. It has made me a more responsible blogger. I now think three times before putting up an anecdote, but those that are rejected don't portray heimishe yidden in the best light, or else they are negative and cast a gloomy feeling on the reader...etc.

    It's a whole different world, blogging for the non-anonymous. But it's a lovely world nonetheless.

  7. Yehuda...

    Thank you!


    That's really sweet. Thank you.

    Staying Afloat...

    That's what it is. It's not that I'm revealing anything so private. It's just so...personal. That makes things weird. But..thank you.


    Thank you!
    I did the same thing. I went back and looked at all my old posts, but I didn't come to the same conclusion you did. Some of them made me pretty uncomfortable. But I'm lucky. The person who identified me could have been someone judgmental or indiscreet. She is neither of those. That makes this a lot easier.


    It's risky, but I don't know that I'd describe it as dangerous. I guess that depends what you write. The thought of someone finding me out makes me very uncomfortable, but it doesn't terrify me.


    It's good to hear that non-anonymous blogging can still be enjoyable and good. But, for now, I'll still continue blogging anonymously.

  8. I can see the appeal of anonymous blogging. When I started my first blog (gosh, that was already four years ago), it was so that friends and family could keep in touch with me while I was in Israel, so I never experienced the freedom of anonymity.

    Like SD, I have found that knowing that my identity is out there (both personally and as a frum woman), I try to think about what I'm saying before I post.

    It's definitely enjoyable and good, but definitely a different creature altogether. I'm looking forward to visiting your "house" on a regular basis.

  9. I'm glad you're still blogging.

    And you can rest assured that you are completely anonymous to me.

  10. Rivki...
    I also think about what I'm saying before I post. Not because my readers know who I am, but because that's the kind of blog I want to have. It's still a reflection of me even if no one knows who "me" is.

    Soul Comfort...

    Thank you.
    You and, hopefully, everyone else!
    (And if not...if anyone figures me out...I'd want to know!)

  11. I'd be more disturbed if it were the other way around...if someone from real life ripped off the mask of my anonymity and revealed to the world that I'm not even a person...but a blogger...