At some point this week, I'll be giving up the "juliewolf" moniker and switching all my blogging to my real name. I've honestly been wanting to do this for a few years now, but haven't primarily because of the long history I have here with this user account, user ID, etc. I'm worried that I'll lose touch with Kos members in doing so, but I think it's worth the risk of that, and I suspect I'll be able to rebuild the small readership I've had given the quality of my writing as of late.
I'm writing this fairly personal piece to talk about why I've decided to stop blogging under a fake name, what risks are involved and why, at least in my case, I don't see them as "added" risks of any sort.
When I first started participating in online discussions, it was the mid 1980's. The user names were assigned by the university and they were just numeric codes, assigned by year of assignment and then alphabetically, with three numbers between every ID so that there would be no problem if a transfer student came in (I actually still remember mine, which is kind of frightening).
Though some people used their e-mails academically, most did not and for most it was just a communication tool, and largely anonymous. You could choose whatever nickname you wanted and communicate with whomever you wanted. In my case, it was an opportunity to communicate with other people who were either out of the closet or struggling with coming out throughout the country and the anonymity involved had real power and freedom to it. This was a lifeline for me and one I desperately needed at the time. I did eventually come out on campus, and for that I received harassment and occasional death threats but even after being public about it, the networking allowed me to be more deeply personal without revealing too much about myself.
During those earlier internet years I made a few friends who are still friends today, around two decades later.
Over time, I've been at varying levels of anonymity, speaking openly about things I probably shouldn't have at some points in my life, and trying to conceal aspects of my life that were silly and fairly futile to conceal at others. Obviously, if anyone digs hard enough, they can find things out about me that I'd just as soon they don't, but at the same time, I just find it not worth concerning myself with too much any longer.
For years, I refused to put a picture of myself anywhere online. I've gone through a few incidents in my life of stalking, a couple in person and a few through cyberspace. Eventually, I decided that if I wanted work as a musician, I needed to have photos of myself online, as well as some videos of me playing. So... now it feels like using the "juliewolf" moniker is just kind of an anachronism.
I want to be clear: I'm not criticizing anyone who chooses to use a pseudonym for legitimate purposes, and I don't feel qualified to judge what is and is not a legitimate purpose for most anyone, though I don't think elected officials or other people in positions which should be transparent should be using them. As private citizens we do have the right to some privacy.
It's funny-- there are people who think of me as a very public person because I have no problem performing in front of people, posting videos of myself on line, etc. I would never run for public office, though, because I am an intensely private person about a great many things. I talk about a lot openly but I control how much I am willing to talk about and there are things about me which I will never discuss in public. There are even things about me which close friends do not know. I think of that as a good thing. I know my secrets and I guard them well and feel no need to pretend otherwise, though some of them are a reason I will never run for office: not because I am necessarily ashamed of them nor because I am scared of people finding them out, but simply because they are mine and the minute I run for public office, there will be others who feel the right (and justifiably so, to an extent) to dig deeply into them.
I have friends who only ever post under fake names for those very reasons; they don't want anyone connecting them with a real identity of any sort. We've even had some instances of people being fired for that discussed on Kos, so I don't blame anyone for being overly cautious with such matters. I just know that for me, it's at this point just too late to secure so much of what I've posted over the years so I might as well embrace my own name and identity and own it.
The new account is brand new-- I will link back to this one in the profile and start jumping in with comments on it soon enough so I can build up new mojo. For the next month or so, if I post a diary under the new account, I will post very short "not a diary" piece with this user name pointing to the new piece under the new account, but to avoid any risk of accusations of sock puppetry, I will try to only post future comments under my own name.
In the meantime, this is me: Julie Waters, formerly known as juliewolf I am a musician, and photographer. I teach part-time, I do part time web design. I do some work with databases. I am an avid bird watcher. I am, as most of you know, kind of a geek about a bunch of things. I do some computer programming and need to learn to do more.
I chase patterns, looking for connections and relationships that most people don't see. I used to have a fantastic memory, but once I got into patterns, the memory for raw data and information started to fall by the wayside and now I put all that into these loose and vivid strands of motion flickering between remote objects. I like to play with time, such as with these:
And I like to play with threads of connected sounds and patterns, such as with these:
And this is some of the photography I do:
I write here, sometimes in bursts and fits, and sometimes I go quiet for a time. Some of the best pieces I've written recently are about lack of recognition of racism, about falling, about the whitewashing of history, about the hard work of real politics, about Night Photography, Birdwatching in New Mexico and about Birdwatching in New England, Birdwatching at Plum Island, about the way we hurt ourselves by demeaning Ann Coulter's gender and about a wide variety of other topics.
I hope to be welcomed under my new/old identity as well as I've been welcomed under this one. I look forward to seeing you all on the flip side of this.