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Single autistic mother of three awesome autistic kids. These are my anonymous ramblings about life, love, parenting and the rest – emptying my head of the weird, the wonderful and the mundane. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Of anonymity and split personalities

I've been thinking a lot about anonymity the last few of days, mainly thanks to becoming a bit of a Twitter addict. Twitter is so public, and if you're used to Facebook, then you can forget that literally anyone in the world can see who you are and who you follow. I was already blurring the lines between Real Life me and online me by following some old friends on there from way back, but I figured that was okay - they had lots of followers so no reason to suspect I wasn't just jumping on their particular bandwagon. What really kicked off my thinking was when I had to unfollow Crush, as I suddenly realised if he decided to investigate his new follower, he'd probably be able to work out who I was pretty easily. Obviously for the embarrassment factor this would not be great, but more importantly there is a good reason why I blog anonymously: as much as I love Crush, he is not worth ruining my kids lives over.

Sounds dramatic, but DS1's dad is not the most stable of human beings, and if he found out what I really thought of him I'm not sure his ego would take it and we could well end up back in court. Long story, that I will share at some point, but suffice to say, I'm not putting either of the boys through that again. Also, I need to work to keep a roof over our heads, and quite frankly, if my RL name was linked to this blog, I'm not sure I'd carry on getting the work I do. (And I don't think the ATOmum book deal is on its way to take up the slack any time soon!!)

So why blog at all if there's a risk of losing your kids and your livelihood? Well, this is kind of for my kids too. I have to have an outlet. If you've been following this blog since I started - or if you've got a spare lifetime to check out the early posts - then you'll know there was a lot of yelling that went on. There is still quite a bit of yelling, but less than there was and I like to think this blog has been something to do with that. This is the place where I say the stuff that, for a whole host of reasons, I can't say in RL. Only two people in RL know that ATOmum and me are one and the same - one I see regularly and one who I only ever run into online now - but I do trust them both pretty much implicitly, so that feels okay. They are probably the only people in my life that I can be all of me with. Love you guys, if you're reading this - which I seriously doubt you are, both far too busy in real life to keep up with my endless musings.

When I was younger, I used to rail against the fact that I couldn't be all of myself with everyone. I used to be one of those really annoying hippy types that had the self-righteous attitude of: 'Well if I can't be everything I am with you, then there must be something wrong with you'. Now I just think that's bullshit - a selfish excuse for chucking all your crap at people and ignoring their feelings. Multiple personalities are a part of life, here are some of mine:

  • School Run Me: the slightly unusual single mum who swings between shy, sociable and militant
  • Work Me: professional, efficient, good with kids
  • At Home Me: tired, shouty, giggly, cuddly, usually attached to computer/guitar when not in kitchen
  • Facebook Me: friendly, sympathetic, supportive to everyone, rarely complains
  • ATOmum: self-obsessed and a bit ranty

Those are the main ones I'm inhabiting at the moment although I now have a RL Twitter account -well I have to follow Crush somewhere! It's strange as it's part Work Me and part Facebook Me. It has to be both those things as it's my name, which is all over the internet for work purposes, and Facebook reliably informs me that 'I'm the only person with my name on Facebook' - cool, but annoying if you want to pass off something as 'Oh no, that must have been another ATOmum'.  I'm therefore having to be very careful which twitter account I'm signed into before I retweet something that would shock the sensibilities of my RL followers - you guys, of course, know me better. So far the two accounts are quite amusing to compare - RL Twitter is the swan and ATOmum Twitter is the legs paddling furiously underneath. This morning all is cheery over on RL Twitter (not least because Crush retweeted one of my tweets!!). On @attemptingTO however, it is this:

"Haven't smoked in 10 years but if I did, I'd be lighting up around now #oneofthosemornings"

So, I'm off to put 'Work Me' personality hat on - how about you? Which of your many personalities will you mostly be exhibiting today?


  1. Totally know what you mean! My boss is attempting to follow me on twitter but I am avoiding this at all costs! My blog isn't annonnomous but I sometimes wish it was so I could moan more ;o) Your last tweet's made me follow you on twitter though, much prefer the people having a meltdown to the ones being supermums!

  2. Yep, I'm all about the meltdowns - about 8am this morning I was yelling into my weetabix 'Will you both please just shut up now!' - classy. Would love to know how you are avoiding your boss on Twitter - have you actually blocked him, or would that offend him? I'm intrigued!I'm so new to Twitter I'm sure there's loads of things I dont know yet - it's probably only a matter of time before I commit some major faux pas - or get the accounts mixed up, and that could definitely end in tears!

  3. I keep meaning to follow you on twitter - loved that tweet about the fags which popped up on my facebook btw - but I am crap on Twitter - have an account but I never go on so the few people who did misguidedly start following me have probably all abandoned me. Anyway, I'm enjoying knowing 'ATOmum'- meltdowns rule...

  4. Thanks Recipe - meltdowns definitely rule! I took a while to get into Twitter, but I'm really enjoying it now - tweet me when you're next on and I'll follow you :)

    1. Hi,

      I find it really wierd having so many personalities. But it is necessary and I don't really want work peers to be checking out my blog when I next apply for promotion!

      This world enables people to search for so much information on everyone on line.

      In a lot of ways though, there is a healthy separation, in much the same way I am different as a wife than I am as a daughter in law.

      It is not a new thing to have different personas, only now you need a password for each one!

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    3. Hi Yummy! (deleted your second post as it had posted twice by mistake!)I think you're definitely right about that. I suppose in RL though people are aware that you have these different roles, like wife and daughter-in-law even though they may not know what you're like in them. Whereas people in RL often don't even know about our online personalities elsewhere - probably a good thing! With so many anonymous blogs, I wonder if in the future people will start to assume that each of us has some secret online self squirreled away somewhere?!