Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's My Life -- and I'll Do What I Want?

I have been thinking about anonymity. Not as in twelve step recovery, but as the political idea it was when Virginia Wolff made the point about women’s silence. She saw anonymity as the power women had to relinquish to be able to traverse this world safely. In some cases, anonymity was the only way we could participate.

We don’t need to protect ourselves as much as then. Or do we? As we struggle, you and I LJ, to find our way as writers, as women, to be free to stand on our own and live openly, as we please, we are still aware that we do need to be careful of revealing ourselves, of being naked. Sometimes our thoughts about revelation are for the sake of other’s feelings, but even in considering this, the concern for others, we find ourselves hamstrung; not free.

To have a life of one’s own is what we desire. What is it to be free to live one’s own life? For me, it is to be without that partnership that so many women feel absolutely needed to feel complete.

In my day, “a woman without a man was like a fish without a bicycle.” But even then, most women were not interested in the irony of the bicycles, but were interested in having a man. It seems no different now. Despite using partner rather than husband or wife, regardless of keeping one’s name, regardless of marrying just for the legalities that make living together easier and affordable, they clamor for the actual marriage. Weddings are again in style; they are again a rite of passage.

I know of women older than me, in their sixties, who lament that there aren’t enough eligible men, or who have learned to be way more technologically savvy than I am so that they can negotiate internet social networking. They mention online dating and chatting sites I have never heard of. But then I am not looking, or wishing or hoping.

It is fine with me; everyone can do what they want. I want to live free to live alone, never to commit, never to compromise. It does sound awfully self-indulgent, I fear. I fear the judgment, but I go on. Some will say that I have made my choice by default; I am a woman not chosen. But I don’t think I have to be alone if I don’t want to. I do want to. I want to live my life my way; so far it has been so wonderful.

I do get lonely. I got lonely when in a relationship. Perhaps I am a natural nostalgic, maybe I am melancholic. Many people have had that feeling, even in happy, growing relationships. Loneliness is not a sin, nor does it last forever. I love my life, and often hate living. It is my human condition. I feel most alive when writing, when sharing thoughts with intelligent, interesting, courageous people.

I fear that if I give my name to this blog, if I am accessible on the web, I will lose my freedom. I don’t want to share my life in that way, but I want to share my written thoughts and ideas.
We have talked about using our faces, putting video of our conversations here. I think in the end we must decide not to. I think this anonymity has given us a type power, a kind of strength in our writing that should be fully investigated, explored and experienced, before we jettison it. It may be that anonymous is not just a woman, but the seat of her power to choose freedom, and the key to a life of one’s own.