Struggling With My Online Identity

Ever since I started blogging, many moons ago, I’ve really struggled with completely letting go online.

Don’t get me wrong, I really want to but every time I go to do there is this niggling feeling at the back on my mind. It tells me my employer might find my blog, that a parent might see it (or worse a child) or that it might jeopardise my entire career, something I would never want to lose.

The thing is, there are 100% of teachers out there that blog. Some blog about teaching, some about the books they read, some even blog about sex and have never once worried that it might ruin their job. So, why do I always worry?

In real life, I’m the kinda gal that say what she wants to say and does what she wants to do without really worrying what other people think. I’m open about my battle with my mental health – to the point I once told the man in Tesco how teaching saved my life and he looked at me with large amounts of distain – I laugh and cry and just live the life that I want to live.

So, why is online so much tricker? Control.

I may live my life how I’ve described it above, but I have the control of who I say what to and who I share my darkest secrets with. But if I share them online? Anyone, anywhere could read it and I wouldn’t even know. I would have no control over what eyes read it and what they did with it. What if it ends up getting back to someone I wouldn’t want to talk to in real life? What if it rocked the boat where I work?

More than anything, I want to be as authentic as I am in person, online. I want this to be a place where I can share my battles or my feelings, giving me a sense of relief and maybe even help someone. But for some strange reason, I just can’t get over that niggling feeling that it might end up in the wrong hands and inadvertently end up ruing my life – however dramatic that sounds.

It’s why I have such a small social media presence. I worry that the more I type away and post online, the more likely it is to be seen by that ever fateful person that could have my life in their hands. And, do you want to know the most ridiculous thing about it? The kids I teach aren’t even of an age where they should be on social media (though I know many of them are!) which means the chances of them finding out are even similar. Nonetheless, the guilt and worry is always there.

Maybe I’ll be able to overcome it. Maybe I’ll be able to deal with these feelings and let them subside. Maybe I’ll even get to a point where I don’t feel guilty every time I type how I’m feeling onto the electronic piece of paper. Maybe.

Instead, for now, I will continue to write and post the things I want to write, trying not to sensor myself too much and always being as honest as I possible can. I only hope that one day I can press publish on my darkest, deepest feelings because I know it will help me feel better and I hope it will make someone feel less alone.

How do you deal with the battle between your online and personal self?