Sunday, November 23, 2008

Am I Anonymous?

My name is Yosra. I am not anonymous.

When I started my writing on the internet, I didn't put my name on my posts. I had a pseudonym and I was scared I could be find out. I wrote about things that upset me and hurt me. I was trying to find the joy, but haram was ruining my life.

That was then.

When I closed down that blog, I knew that I could never be that person on the internet again. Things in motion stay in motion. If I allowed my blog to be about all the upset and all the hurt and all the haram, then my life would be comprised first and foremost of this. I would cease to be happy in real life if my cyber existence was the ugly underbelly.

I made a bold move that day. I put my name on my product. Is it a product? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it feels like I'm an artist putting my signature on the canvas. Whatever it is that you are experiencing through this site, I need to feel that I'm proud of it. If ever you see that I deleted some post or some words within a post, then know that I no longer felt like those things represented who I want to be.

I want to be me.

I want to be proud of who I am.

I do not want to live in fear.

Last week, I got a well-meaning DO NOT POST comment from a Muslimah who thinks that she knows my identity. She warned me to be careful.

"Yosra, I'm not sure if you go by this name in real life and I didn't want to investigate any further to see if it was you because this would be a violation of your privacy and immoral. If I had an anonymous blog and someone could potentially figure out who I was I would want to know. I love you for the sake of Allah and would never want people to know your identity so that they could go around gossiping about you. Please try to hide your identity a bit more to protect yourself, sister."

She means well. I understand what she is saying. If I had an anonymous blog, that would make sense.

I feel, however, that I have made the switch slowly from being an anonymous blogger to being a blogger who is comfortable with being known. The process was gradual: first, I stopped writing every day about the nuances in my ups and downs (which guarantee a roller coaster ride for both writer and reader), then I stopped telling so much personal information about myself and others, and finally I am only telling that which I am comfortable speaking out about to the general public.

I'm no longer hiding. When we hide we aren't living fully. We are living in the half-life. Nothing half is worth having. It brings about feelings of secrecy and shame. Maybe I had to feel that way before, but I don't now.

This doesn't mean that I want to be found. There was a fellow Muslimah blogger who tracked down Vena from Thoughts of a First Wife. Vena had mentioned going somewhere. The fellow Muslimah blogger figured out (with help from some previous information) which town she must be in and looked her up. She called. That's creepy. Really. People, don't do that.

There was a turning point in my blogging life when I went for a charity walk organized by Matt Logelin. I had been commenting on his site for months. Would I actually be able to face other commentators in person? I was very nervous but I went. I was me. Many loving people met me that day. They met someone I was proud of being. Alhumdulillah.

So, this blog is written by me, Yosra, and at this point I'm now proud of both me and this blog.


Anonymous said...

"If ever you see that I deleted some post or some words within a post, then know that I no longer felt like those things represented who I want to be."
Masha Allah, I have so much respect for you. It can be really hard to let go of "stuff" especially stuff we have "produced." Alas we commenters don't have such an opportunity--there are definetly some things out there I would rather delete!
Love and Peace,

Safa said...

I've always blogged by my name as well. If I get found out, well then I do. Although I prefer not to.

I've met a few of my blogging friends now.....and when you actually get to hug them, and talk to them face to's a joy. It's like saying....yes I have a blog, but I'm not hiding behind it.

We all have our reasons for putting our experiences out there....for putting our little bit of knowledge out there.....and hopefully....the persons who read it will benefit from it.

And perhaps do better than we have.....