Do you know me?

I write this blog. Some people read it. It’s intimate, self-disclosing, ruminative. I write about what I think and what I do. Inevitably, people who read the blog think they know me. And sometimes, even more oddly, imagine I know them.

This can be benign, positive even: I value this – I value this sense of being known, of exposing certain parts of my brain to light, to air, and having it be seen and understood. It’s a big part of why I write this blog.

Or it can be neutral to slightly annoying, as with a distant buddy for whom I play an outsized role, who comes to believe she knows me and starts responding, intensely, to a “me” that is more of her own creation than of mine.

Or it can be toxic, as with a troll who harasses me and those I love. (Yes, this has happened.)

But there are two constants throughout – one about me, and one about these people.

About me: I react strongly when others (presume to) define me, describe me. “No,” I almost invariably say. “You’ve got me wrong.” I’m old/wise/open enough to notice this is a trope, it keeps happening. Therefore, according to N’s world view, it’s worth entertaining the idea that maybe you/they don’t got me wrong, maybe my recoiling in reaction to being described is resistance to truth, and not accurate self-knowledge. (Maybe it isn’t, but it’s worth at least taking that possibility seriously. I hope to engage with it a bit more in the coming days.)

And about you/them: I’m continually surprised by how easily readers imagine you/they have a three-dimensional view of me, based on what I write, what I tweet, what I put on my Tumblr. Just to give you a sense of how (very) wrong this is, “My Dissolute Life” is one of five (or really, six) blogs I write. It’s the one on which I post most regularly, yes. But those other blogs? Each is on a different topic, and none relates to sex, except one,  very occasionally, and mostly incidentally.

If you read every word of this blog, you don’t know what I do, whom I love, how I love. You know what I choose to show you of what/how I think about the subjects about which I choose to post.

You know a subset of what I read, what I think about. You know little about how I spend my days. It takes me between twenty and sixty minutes to write my average blog post. And I spend maybe an hour or so a week in addition to that corresponding with readers, responding to comments, etc.

Honestly? That’s just not that much time…. Imagine all the time in my day about which you know nothing. Y’know what I’m saying?

This isn’t meant to be hostile, or standoffish. It’s really meant as a sort of corrective to the illusion that you might know me comprehensively, rather than (very) partially.

(As a tiny indication, one very good friend I met through blogging, who has formed a much more three-dimensional understanding of me, told me how lucky I am my readers don’t understand how completely uncool I am. And I suppose that’s true.)

I don’t want to sound ungrateful: I’m enormously grateful for every reader who reads even one of my posts. And for those of you who have come to know me a bit, I’m more grateful to you. It’s just that every so often, people forget just what it means to know someone in the way that you know me here, and for reasons that are obscure (even to me), I need to remind you/us all of that.


  1. This is a good post. I’ve been through similar situations. People who just assume they know me from the blog. Some have even fallen in love (so to speak) with me. I find it frustrating at the best of times. I’ve cut people off even. I too have had people try to define me by what I write. We project onto a screen, we project part of ourselves but not our whole selves and that confuses people. We self edit and embellish, even if we think we’re being straight up honest. And as you mentioned there’s the fact that what we write is just a fraction of what we do.

  2. I think it’s also ironic and funny that the people who know you in your uncool, regular life may have no clue how hot you are on your blog.

  3. Well said, N (or elocuted ha!). I don’t have 5 or 6 other blogs like you, but I certainly have much more going on in my life than sex and unrequited love.

  4. I have come to learn that people only know us in the context of our blogs. And so sometimes the criticism doesn’t matter, because they only know me through a single or a few blog posts.
    I recently wrote about the power imbalance of a blogger – when I meet blog readers who recognise me, they tell me so much about me, and I know nothing about them, and often they don’t want to reveal.
    You write so well by the way.

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