The Thing About my Identity

In September, I’ll be attending a college for the visually impaired. I’ve made no secret of that on my blog but to be honest, there are very few in this country and just under 150 people attend each at any given time. That means everyone will know each other but also that it possibly wouldn’t be difficult to figure out my ‘real’ identity.

Before, when the question of my identity came up, I reacted a little differently. I was much more defensive and worried about people finding it because I went to a school where, I felt, people would judge you or just didn’t care. Now I’m out – and even as I drew to the end of my secondary school years – I started to relax a bit more. Saying that, now, I’m starting to become quite paranoid about things. It seems silly but I’m eternally afraid that people are going to have this preconception of me that they transfer from blogging to ‘real life’, or vice versa. Does that make any sense?

I’m not so worried about blogging people finding out my real identity. It fills me with fear, of course, but there’s less chance of damaging consequences happening. Unless someone decides to unearth things about me from years ago that exist on the Internet, the blogging world won’t be my problem. I doubt I’ll reveal my identity soon but if it happens, that wouldn’t be as bad.

It’s the other way around that could be a problem. People at the college could, and probably will, find my blog. I don’t exactly do the best job at hiding it and trying to now would take far too long and would go against the openness and honesty that I want on my blog. However, the thought of people potentially discovering it and taking the piss out of me for it really worries me. It’s unlikely that they’d be so cruel but you never know: some people can be immature and laugh first before understanding.

If they do find me and only read a small amount of my posts, they could get varying opinions of me. They could look at my emotional posts and jump to conclusions about my personal life, seeming as some of the people I mention on this blog are VI (visually impaired) and might be known by them. They could find my old posts and think that’s still a representation of me. In short, they could do all sorts of things and sometimes, I’m scared about how I could react. People could really hurt me by using this blog against me and they wouldn’t even know it.

The truth is that I could react very badly. If I’m confronted with people knowing who Elm is, offline, I’d most likely freak out and if someone didn’t understand how important this blog is to me, they could trivialise it. Would that cause me to shut down? Would I then stop posting? I don’t know: I’d hope that I was mature enough to react as calmly as possible but who knows? I’m scared that if someone really drags up old memories, I won’t be able to handle trying to defend myself.

I’m afraid of becoming someone else that I don’t recognise. I’m scared that I’ll be leaving myself behind, almost, and that all my identities will be taken from me by people discovering previously unseen parts of myself. Isn’t this just life, though? I suppose it happens all the time; this is just a big change and I don’t know how to feel about it.

Don’t lose yourself in the mayhem of new beginnings but at the same time, don’t be afraid to change what you define as ‘yourself’. Your identity is fluid and doesn’t always have to be tied down by people and experiences. It’s okay if it changes.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Some Thoughts About My Identity

I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks. Though that’s never a good thing, because me thinking usually results in a catastrophe, this time it’s been about my identity. Along of bemusement and a heavy dose of yelling to my friends about how confused I am, I might have started to piece together a bit more of who I think I am.

Because my thoughts are quite jumbled, I’m going to try and organise them into sections. They’ll overlap, but that’s the beauty of life, right? (I honestly have no idea how this post is going to go, so bare with my strange ramblings).

Sexual Attraction

In terms of who I’m sexually attracted to, I know it could be any gender. I know that I can get incredibly strong sexual and physical attraction to people. It’s happened many times before, even if I don’t necessarily know them. However, the sexual attraction becomes stronger the more I know somebody. Saying that, I am honestly afraid of intimacy with anyone I don’t know very well and even when I do know somebody very well, I still can become really nervous. I think this is because I was emotionally damaged from situations before that I become wary of people that I trust, in case they do something similar. In addiN to that, I am afraid of losing control in a situation where I might embarrass myself. The attraction, as well as the fear, builds up over time but I’ve found that attempting to repress this attraction can make it a lot worse.

Romantic Attraction

This one’s a bit more tricky. A lot of the time, I get romantic and sexual attraction confused. However, I know that I do experience strong romantic feelings for people; I’ve “fallen in love” three times as far as I’m aware. This attraction is normally only strong when I know somebody really well. To people I don’t know so well, I can get attracted but it’s only often a surface attraction that easily fades. Like physical attraction, I also get scared of my feelings most of the time. This causes me to run away from them, or try, which can then block me from feeling anything.

How They Interact

This is where all the confusion starts. When doing anything intimate, if there isn’t any kind of romantic subtext, I can feel a little sick afterwards. This “sick” feeling also happens if I’m only romantically, and not sexually, attracted to a person. I will never feel entirely invested in someone if I’m just physically attracted to them but nothing else; this doesn’t stop me from being involved with them but it can cause me to panic somewhere down the line. As well as that, if I’m involved with someone in one way, it can progress to the other way as well: for example, if I just had romantic feelings for someone, I could then develop physical feelings and vice versa, the latter having occurred more than once.

I DO NOT HAVE A CLUE

All of this comes from experience, where I can relate every single thing I’ve said in this post to a situation that has happened. This means I don’t know if the same patterns will continue in the future. I know I’m scared of things and that to some extent, I’ve always been way, way more attracted to people who I know but recent experiences that have happened mean that I don’t fully understand how to commit to even those people who I adore with all my heart.

There isn’t much clarity here but I knew that, even as I began to write this post. I’m still extremely confused and there isn’t one way of saying, “Oh! This is me then.” I’m hesitant about committing to anything, just in case my indecisive brain decides to do a U-turn. However, as I said earlier, I’m very sick of having to pretend to not feel things.

All I know is that my thoughts on feelings and sexuality are complicated and can’t ever be fully explained with a simple few words. Part of it’s always been there but part of it’s to do with past experiences that have shaped my personal thoughts on what I’m comfortable with. Finding the different parts that fit into those two – or more – categories is going to be tricky and I may never fully figure out which might be which. Isn’t that what life is, though? Not always being sure of how things fit together?

I’m not going to attach a label to it right now, or maybe not ever. It might change – in fact, it probably will. If I commit to a label now, I might have further panic if that then changes again.

I want to live and fall in love again but I also need to work through a bunch of identity troubles first. Or rather, I want this to be a slow process because I’ve rushed things before and that is vastly unpleasant, to say the least.

Have you ever had confusion about your identity? What did you do to help yourself figure it out?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

I Am Not

Writing a post whilst upset and hurt is never a good idea but perhaps it can be as I need to let these emotions out. Excuse any confusing sentences or strong language.

I am not a slut if I do things that other people find “questionable”. My body is my own and if I feel comfortable doing something, I’ll do it: the consequences may be difficult to deal with but that’s okay. I don’t need people who don’t even know me questioning my decisions and thinking that I have no morals, just because I did something I wanted to do a while ago.

Conversely, I’m not a prude if I don’t want to talk about things. Sometimes I feel fine discussing everything, sometimes I don’t; with some people I’m okay with it and with others, I’m not. One day I may be perfectly fine talking about everything that happened and another I’ll feel unpleasant about it and just not want to. If someone asks me a question and I don’t want to answer, that’s alright because I still have boundaries.

I’m not oversensitive if I get upset because of a situation. I may portray that I’m not bothered by anything but that’s a complete fucking lie; I’m still human and still have feelings. I don’t know how I feel the majority of the time so if I stop talking, it’s usually because I just don’t want to talk; it’s nothing against the person, it’s just because I want to get out.

I am not disgusting for being a liar. I think that about myself every single day and so others thinking that of me just reaffirms it. There are many reasons why I might lie: I don’t know what other people know, I don’t know if I’m about to be made fun of, I don’t trust the person or I don’t want to talk or think about it. Lying is not a good thing but sometimes it’s necessary, except when you get caught out and want to scream because you’re panicking too much to breathe.

I am not pathetic for being paranoid that information is going to get out to everyone. It makes me feel ill because I’ve told different people different things and yes, that’s awful, but some things I really need to stay private because everyone will know what goes on in my life, including people who just could not understand and who have never spoken to me. I’m not in the slightest okay with that so I shut myself off to everything.

I’m not over-reacting if I feel dirty, disgusting or sick. Occasionally, I want to wash all of it away; I stood there shaking earlier because I didn’t want to face the reality of everything. I felt horrible, like things were crawling on my skin, like I was something to be despised and someone to be disgusted at. In my head, the thoughts were screaming and I couldn’t catch my breath but I just. Felt. Awful. Some people would say that’s blowing things out of proportion but when you feel that creeping dread, you know that you can’t shake it.

I am not a coward for wanting to run away from everything. Avoiding your problems won’t solve anything but I want to try sometimes. I’m tired of potentially getting judged and of feeling like that people believe I’m nothing but a slut. I’m tired of refusing to defend my actions and I’m exhausted at the possibility of conflict.

If people call me these things, I’ll tell them that I’ve already called myself them more times than they can count. People’s opinions and actions towards you should never influence your self-worth. No matter how many times people twist it, your thoughts are yours.

Thinking positively about yourself is so hard, I know, especially is you believe people are making assumptions about you. If you’ve been in a situation which makes you hate yourself, remember this: you can always learn and if people judge you on one thing you did, it’s them that can’t understand you. Only you truly know what you’re thinking and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

When things start to get too much, tell yourself this: I’m strong. I am not a terrible person.

I’m not what they say I am.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Knowing the Complex Behind the Blog

I think that we forget – very much including me – that bloggers are, above all, humans with emotions, feelings, thoughts and most importantly? Flaws and “imperfections”.

Perhaps it’s not about forgetting but sometimes, it’s overlooked until you really get to know people. Maybe you’re not like me, but I find that I’m always scared of becoming close with bloggers or having them become close to me, just in case we’re different to how we write or act in the blogging world. The reality is that we are, most times, simply because we act diffedently around different people, but there’s always the worry that people are so different that they’re almost unrecognisable from their blog “persona”. That’s not a bad thing but like with anything, it could turn into one, though 9 times out of 10 bloggers are amazing people and understand me far better than a lot of those in real life. That’s just because they listen and really take the time to get to know me but I wonder: do people know me as a blogger or as a human being? Would people like me if they really knew all parts of me?

Upon realising at one point that I had feelings for a blogger, I utterly freaked out and beat myself up for it. I said, “Elm, you’re an idiot; stop this right now because keeping everyone happy and keeping things less complicated is what you need to do!” Why do I, though? This isn’t some utterly separate world; it’s tied in real life as closely as threads can be woven together: we, as friends, have just as much validity as those we meet in school, so why shouldn’t I take that same attitude with love? Bloggers aren’t superhuman and we’re capable of feeling because we bloody write about it!

No one can get on with everyone here; I’d be impressed if someone could go their entire blogging life without having been annoyed with at least someone: I have been, though I went about a year and a half without becoming angry at anything anyone did. As you become more involved in the community, it’s more likely that “drama” will crop up. Yes, it makes me feel uncomfortable and irritated because I just want people to get on but that can’t happen all the time. See above: we aren’t robots and we will upset at least one person, one time. People won’t like us, we won’t like them but that’s okay because it’s life.

I just need to remember that bloggers are people, not just words on a screen. We have issues, same as anyone you walk by in the street; we aren’t perfect, we’ll fuck up and mess up and not know when to shut up; we’re unique as pousonalities. I don’t ever want to disappear into the cascade of frantic blogging where I only do it for views: I do this for the people who need help.

I blog for the same reason I live: to meet new people and to understand what they go through. However, with people comes personality; with personality sometimes comes pain. Blogging won’t all be roses and sunshine but it’s one of the reasons I keep going. The bloggers, with all our faults and mixed feelings, are the reason I remember my heart’s still beating. I’m a person, too. So are you and so are the bloggers we talk to: we have to remember that accidental words can hurt.

Don’t forget that we’re all as human as each other. We cry, laugh and feel happy and we’ll do that forever. If blogging turns into a poisonous place for anyone, you have every right to speak up, the same as if it was in real life. You aren’t a machine, destined to churn out words to please readers; you have your own identity. I need to be reminded, too, because I often get scared I’m losing myself.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

The Identity Tag!

Oooh I haven’t done a tag in so long, and I wasn’t even nominated for this one but I’m doing it because I’m a rebel and nothing can stop me. (Never saying that again I’m just going to back away…)

I saw this over on Lizzie’s blog – a new blogger I found recently – and thought it was a fabulous idea! Also I haven’t done a tag in so long that I felt bad and I missed doing it.

What you have to do is simple: answer the questions below. I’ll be nominating 5 bloggers, which will be so hard because there are loads of you!

1. If they made a song about your life, what genre would it be?
Probably something quiet with pianos and maybe strings, crescendoing to include drums at some points, and then quietening down again. That’s not a genre but shhh I’m trying to be inventive!

2. What is your sole purpose in life?
Oh god here we go. I’m not even joking when I say that my sole purpose is to help people, thereby making them as happy as possible, which makes me happy. That’s three, but they all stem from each other so the root is just one: I want to help and be kind to people.

3. What do you regret doing?
I’ve always held the policy that you shouldn’t regret doing things, because the things you do always teach you about yourself and others. However, if I had to pick, it’d be that I took so long to get my act together in the summer and realise what I wanted. Interpret that how you wish.

4. What are your strengths?
Ohhh noo. My strengths? Argh! I’d say I’m creative, I’m a good friend, I know when to shut up, I can be kind to people even if I don’t like them… Oh and I try to reach out as much as I can.

5. What are your weaknesses?
I spread stuff around that I shouldn’t, I think too negatively of myself, I find it hard to think positively in relation to me, I can’t get over things very easily, I run away with my feelings too often and I sometimes don’t think about things before I do them. It’s actually how sad how I found that easier to do than strengths, but the phrase “You’re your own worst enemy” is true.

6. What’s one thing that not many people know about you?
When I get angry, I get really really angry, and only the people that have seen me like that will believe it. On a more positive note, a lot of people don’t know that I’m prone to creating stories and characters in my head, making entire worlds when I want to, and I’m not just talking about a vague outline.

7. What has been the best decision of your life?
Making this blog. Yes, there are other decisions like cutting out toxic people from my life, but this blog has brought me so much confidence and love. I genuinely don’t know where I’d be without it.

8. What are you afraid of and why?
I’m scared of bees and anything that buzzes, and also the fear of falling. The more pressing one is that I’m absolutely terrified of people leaving me, thinking I’m worth nothing, or ignoring me for no good reason. That’s because of all the shit that’s gone on recently, which has magnified that fear to unpresidented heights.

9. Where are you going in life?
I don’t know. Hopefully I’m going to get better with mental health, and be happy, and not be so miserable; only time will tell. And so, I’ll give it time, and smile along the way to the best of my ability.

AAAND I nominate:
1. Flawed Silence

2. Wishy Washy Teenager

3. My Life Online

4. Light Up the Shining Night Stars

5. Hollie

I hope you have fun with this!

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s Time to Talk about my ‘Real’ Identity

Hi, guys. I think now is the time to address something that most annonymous teen (or any age really) bloggers know and understand.

The dreaded “WHO THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU REALLY?” question. Thank you to Be Different Buddy for letting me think about this – go check out their blog; they are great.

Right. So as many of you who have read my blog know, I go by a LOT of different names – check out the list to really understand what I’m talking about.

The main ones I go by are my RL name, Gemma, and of course Elm.

Some bloggers reveal their real name on here. Some don’t. I’m one of the ones who don’t, but if you do email me requesting to know what it is, I’ll tell you. Probably.

No, honestly – I would, because the majority of you don’t know me in real life.

But there’s a very good reason, at least to me, why I don’t reveal my real name on here.

It’s not because I’m scared – or not really. It’s because of real life people.

Put it this way: my name isn’t unusual. But if someone who knew me stumbled upon this blog, when my real name was being used – they’d be able to tell it was me.

Like I said, my name’s not unusual. But I’m blind, I’m 15, and I live in England. Those that know me would be able to tell, straight away, that it was me by those factors, and also the situations I’ve described. The main one who comes to mind would be Ash.

He’d know it was him for sure. And then, he would hate me. This is not just some “OMFG my crush hates me WHYYY” it is a “One of the best friends I’ve ever had, who I trust implicitly, hates me and will never, ever speak to me again.”

Perhaps if I hadn’t revealed other things about me, I would have used my real name. But as it is, I won’t.

If you do email me, asking me what it is, I have no reason to lie to you unless I suspected that you were someone who knew me in real life. And even so, I’d just say that I wasn’t comfortable revealing it YET, and that I would once we’d talked.

Thank you for reading, everyone. I hope that you guys can understand my position on this and I’m sorry for not being able to reveal my real name yet. It seems almost selfish of me, but there is no way I’m risking someone finding out who could very well hurt me beyond repair.

From Elm