TL;DR? A Quiz told me I'm Kotori Minami so that's who I am now
This post is entirely about me.
There’s your warning.
I’ve never really been one to pretend I’m someone that I am not. I might tailor the topics I talk about to keep it relevant to who I’m interacting with, but other than that I don’t make my likes and dislikes a big secret. I do, however, keep a lot of my personal details as far away from my social media accounts as possible. The reasons for this are twofold.
One rule is that the less people know about me, the less they can use against me. It’s certainly not a healthy outlook to have on life, to treat others as potential threats, to go around with the expectation that you are not safe, but the internet can be a scary place. In my time I’ve been; harassed, bullied, stalked, quote mined, psychoanalyzed, DDoS-ed, betrayed, sent not-so-pleasant pictures, manipulated…there’s a long list…
Simply put; I do have good reason to be cautious. I hide things about myself because I don’t want people with malicious intent to be one simple click away from my private information. Everything from my name, age, location, appearance, ethnicity, voice, sexuality, religious beliefs and more can – and often has – been used against me. So my underlying logic has been about risk aversion; about isolating and reducing the hazards.
The second rule is tame by comparison but has still been a major factor. That is, the idea of people projecting expectations on me because of my identity. It might sound silly if you haven’t had first hand experience with it, but it is something that can easily make me uncomfortable. I’ve noticed it before when I have decided to be open about myself, which has led to being held up on a pedestal for some things while getting outcast for others. It does admittedly depend on what communities you’re a part of but that applies to anything.
Lets take for example that you chose to disclose the fact that you’re gay in a predominantly hetero community. This can get you held up to some impossibly high standards. In this example they assume you are constantly willing to share your opinion or LGBT related topics solely because you are gay, making conversations always about your sexuality in a way that heterosexual people are never expected to do because they are majority. You can see how exhausting that would be, making the alternative of keeping it a secret the more enticing option. Likewise the reverse is also true. Being honest about your identity can make people distance themselves from you because, without changing anything about your personality, they suddenly feel like they relate to you less.
As someone who has a long history of suffering with social anxiety disorder, body issues and panic attacks to name a few, it’s easy to see why dealing with the minefield that is the internet wouldn’t be my top priority. Having more worries to think about would just compile on top of the aforementioned, hence why I avoid it entirely.
That covers most of the reasons why I have been a fairly private person online, so now we can get to meat of why I’m even making this post. Because as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve tried being a lot more open as of late. I did a temporary face reveal earlier this month that later developed into a full time profile picture. I’ve posted about topics I was certain no one would care about to a mixed response. I just publicly admitted to three insecurities I have in the above paragraph. I’ve also stopped downplaying my eccentricity as much, which I still don’t know if people can handle…
This has come about largely because I have been rethinking the ‘rules’ I have and how constricting they are. I don’t necessarily think I’m wrong to have them in place, but with nothing ventured there is nothing gained, and I believe I can afford to step out the safety zone from time to time. I’ll use some examples to illustrate what I mean.
I used to go around by a more gender-neutral username. This meant that when I went on forums other users would assume things about me and react accordingly. This led to an array of awkward “one of the bro’s” routines from guys, where they would seemingly include me in very boyish conversations, giving each other virtual slaps on the back for their bad jokes. This isn’t meant to be an “eww boys” kind of deal, I just think being open means there is no room for people to assume ‘you are X so I’ll treat you like Y’.
Another thing I have to mention is that the more you keep to yourself, the less opportunities you leave for people to connect with you. When I’ve just been this vague online presence I can still talk to people, but others don’t feel as comfortable talking back, because everything they know about me can be summed up in 140 characters. They know I’m a real person- but that is about it. There’s no understanding in that. Which is why I’m not just ‘Haruhi’ anymore. I’m Haruhi; the girl who just got a job as a croupier, who @s you with dumb jokes, who will debate you on the perfection of an anime characters looks, who will cheer you on with imaginary pom-poms, who you can actually describe with more than just general interests!
I definitely prefer being close to people. Distance just isn’t my style. Yes, forsaking your anonymity makes you vulnerable…but isn’t that what everyone looks for in their friends, family and significant others? Doesn’t trust itself require exposing yourself to some kind of risk? Yet we place trust in people so easily. Vulnerability can be a bad thing, but I think the community I’m a part of deserves a little more trust than I’ve given it in the past. If these last few months have been anything to go by, then I can safely say, with authority, that you guys are amazing and beautiful human beings.
I want to be involved in all the amazing things you collectively accomplish. So I’m going to continue to edge open the door in comforting little ways. I’m not ready to be completely out there, if I ever will be, but I understand the importance of unfurling myself. Like a fox. A cute fox.
Hi, I’m Haruhi. Nice to meet you!