We need to talk…

Dearly beloved,

I gather you here today to address some issues that I would (not) like to bring to light.

I’m going to try to pull some courage here from so many other women. I’m going to fight the urge to close shop and run away from the internets. I’m going to tell you about my fears and troubles in the hope that bringing them out with help me face them.

I’m having a really hard time lately expressing myself on my blog.  I guess there are a few things going on that are inhibiting my ability to write. But o, blog, writing right now. Pouring out my words. It feels so good. I’ve missed you.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say (of course), it’s just that…well…(shame)(guilt)…I…(deep breath)… I have been writing under a pseudonym. My name is the only part of my blog that I haven’t been transparent and honest about.

Jackson is my maiden name so I guess that’s only a truth stretch. but Lyla isn’t my legal name. It’s a name I fell in love with in high school and scrawled all over my notebooks practicing my new signature. I actually dreamed of changing my name to Lyla Jackson. I always wanted to name my daughter Lyla but when it came time, it didn’t feel right.

So when I decided to start blogging under a pseudonym, Lyla Jackson felt right.

Why didn’t I write under my ‘real’ name? It started for a few basic reasons (protecting my kids and husband from being googled) but as my life took some nosedives (swandives?), I have been very happy to have a safe space where I can express myself without sharing with my mother, people I used to know or risking my career.

As Lyla, I have found amazing friends online and built social circles. I never could have found this level of honesty if I knew that my words could be googled by every person I went to high school with.

Lyla has represented my strong, honest persona. And she really is me. I am her.

When I order Starbucks and they ask my name, I always say Lyla. I actually looking into getting her a library card, health card, credit card…. just in case I needed an extra passport. (#possiblymanic) But that’s another story…

Over the years, I’ve slowly introduced my alter-ego and my blog to a few very close friends who I felt safe sharing with and who I knew I could trust. I know that they follow my blog and I feel okay with that because I chose to invite them.

But, a few weeks ago, I realized that my walls had been breached. My security had a leak. I know that my brother was told about my blog (without my consent) and read every page I’d ever written.

You know in those old spy movies where they spend the whole movie building up this complicated secret infrastructure and then, as soon as the secret trust is compromised, the guy pushes a red button and the whole compound self destructs and he jettisons out of the building as it explodes.

This is how I felt when I realized that he had been given (and read) my blog. I still feel the urge to initiate a scorched earth campaign. I feel like I need to ‘kill’ Lyla, dissociate from her, unpublish this entire blog that I’ve been pouring my heart into for 4 years.

But I DON’T WANT TO! I love Lyla. I love reading the words she wrote that I don’t remember writing. She is my memory and she dreams about my future. She does not exist in a vacuum. Through Lyla, I am social, I have deep relationships with my readers and many have become amazing new friends.

I don’t want to be bullied out of something amazing that I’ve created for myself. I hate hate hate that I was put in this situation. I know that my brother may read this. He should know that his actions have consequences.

I know that my blog is a public space but the fact that Lyla Jackson is me… that’s my secret. That’s my way of protecting my family (husband and children).

Writing honestly and without too much self consciousness is critical to the way I write my blog. But, lately, it is too hard writing about myself. I can’t feel free and honest, when I know that at any moment, my brother or someone else who I have not invited into my life, might think that they are being helpful by sharing my blog (and my secret identity) with my mother, a cousin, a friend, my boss, my children’s school, or anyone else.

I feel like my boundaries have been violated. I feel like my trust has been betrayed. I feel like someone thinks that I am not entitled to privacy in my private space. But I know that I am.

I have worked really really hard over the past days, months, years to protect my kids from my crazy. If my privacy in this space is violated, if my words are used against me, they will get hurt. I can’t let that happen.

So, I’m not sure what to do. I love this space. It tears me up that I might have to destroy my work, that I might have to leave people I love.  But if this is not a space of freedom, than I would be lying to us all and this would serve no purpose anyway.

Friends, what do you think?

Please don’t be mad that I lied about my name. I hope you understand now why I do that.

I don’t know what to do now.

Advice? Thank you.

painting of the words 'we negotiate with chaos'

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6 thoughts on “We need to talk…

  1. I think that you need to stay. What you write is so important. I know how it feels to be “found” by someone that you’re close with. It makes you feel like you need to censor yourself. My parents don’t know about my blog and I never want them to. They can’t turn on a computer anyways.
    No worries on the fake name. I totally get that. I don’t use my son’s real name for that reason…although I’m sure that they can figure shit out because weird people…Lyla, Beatrice, Snot licker….these words are you…you are them…makes no difference. xoxo

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    1. Oh Lyla, I knew you as Willow. What’s in a name really? a whole lot of meaning…? Why yes along with remembrance and either familiarity or unfamiliarity. I strongly believe your writing is who you are and the name is not! Your expressions are thorough, honest, riveting and important – they help make changes happen. You are a gem as I’ve said before, I mention this because you have guts to form into something so sparkling when all the elements (which could be “some” family members) are against you or just wouldn’t do things quite your way. Lyla, Willow… River in the night with the glistening moon… I think you will have started a movement for we all need honesty as much as food to survive. I love you. Keep your pen behind your ear and steer your ship clear of primitive fears. You’ve got this. xo. Stephanie.

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  2. You could change your account *and* your pseudonym… and invite only those you choose to have access to it. Carry over all your articles to said new account. Delete the old one. Kind of like putting on a new costume, I guess? But never stop writing here. You need it, and your readers need it, too.

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