Going Public, Pt. II
Jul 14, 2011
Pretty soon here I’m going to slip up. I’m @stevegershom on twitter, I’m steve.gershom on gmail, but I’ve got “real” accounts on both of those places, too. This has been happening to me in meatspace, too, and not just since I started blogging here. I was at a party recently where a couple of gay guys were reminiscing about their coming-out experiences, and I almost jumped in with, “Yeah, when I told my family…” — forgetting, for the moment, that most of the people there might have been a little surprised.1
This is definitely a good sign. There was a time, not very long ago, when the thought that anybody might find out about me was more or less terrifying. Now I practically assume everybody knows. Not because it’s obvious, but because I’m much more comfortable with it.
I was talking with my friend Emily once — I was a heavy smoker at the time2, and she’s a social smoker, and we loved talking over coffee and cigarettes on Sunday afternoons — and something about “deep, dark secrets” came up. I said something to the effect that everybody’s got some deep dark secret. She said, quite simply, “I don’t.” And then peered at me in this way she has, like she was just about to start laughing.3
I was a little embarrassed, I think. I had said it as if it were an obvious truth. But she meant what she said: I don’t believe she has anything dreadful hidden away. It’s not that she goes around revealing everything on her mind all the time, but she doesn’t have the same instinct for concealment that I do.
I forget if this story had a point. Oh yes, I was going to ask you, readers, now that I have readers: what do you think about the question of anonymity? Is there any point to keeping hidden? Are there any drawbacks to letting it all hang out?4 I’d especially like to hear from people with personal experience in the matter.