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Have any of you been “discovered” by someone in real life? If so, how did it play out? I know, I know, it’s not like I’ve exactly been very discreet (see my web address, which is actually going to change, but I’ll get to that in a minute). I haven’t tried to hide my identity. This blog was created almost a year ago, when I was mentally not in a place where I cared even one iota what others thought. Since that time, however, things have changed. I’ve changed. I care a little bit. Or maybe a lot.

The reason I’m asking is this: someone in real life found my blog. I wouldn’t mind so much if they just wanted to read along. But they found a post about a certain topic (and trust me, they had to read back a ways to find it), and then called a family member and passed along their (mis)interpretation. Which led to hurting the feelings of a person I would NEVER intentionally want to hurt. Which led to a distraught voice mail and apologies and awkwardness for who knows how long.

Here’s my thought, or maybe my question…

When you put something on the web, you’re making it accessible for everyone to view. But think about this analogy. I have a box with important, personal stuff in it. I, however, don’t lock it because I want others who have similar personal stuff to be able to access it so that we can help each other. I leave it open with an unspoken “honor system” – trusting that if someone from real life discovers my box, they won’t disrespect it.

Or here’s another analogy: you leave your diary on the coffee table and have a gathering. The diary’s in plain sight, and TECHNICALLY, all of your guests can read it. But SHOULD they? If they open it and realize that it’s a diary, should they close it because it’s the honorable thing to do? Or should they keep reading just because they can?

And if they do choose to keep reading the diary, or riffling through the box, is it ok if they use what they find as ammunition because technically, it was in plain view?

I’m upset with this person, and my first instinct is to contact them directly. But what does that accomplish? They’ve already exhibited a maliciousness, an intent to harm. Wouldn’t open confrontation just make it worse?

And ultimately, didn’t I set myself up for this? The fact is that there’s always going to be “that person” – the person who disrespects the “honor system,” who steals out of the unlocked box, or reads the entire diary and then giggles about it with all their friends in the girls bathroom. Those people are the ones who ruin it for the rest of us… they are the reason that we have to lock up our valuables and keep our blogs anonymous. The reason that the “honor system” has become a thing of the past. Because, sadly but realistically, there’s always going to be “that person.”

So I don’t even know what I’m trying to say. I guess, bottom line, I’m feeling disappointed and a little betrayed, but also a lot stupid because wasn’t it just a matter of time?

I’m thinking about two options at this point:

OPTION #1: The dreaded password-protection. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s the most simple, effective way to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Most of my blogger buddies are already “blogspot” users, so you’ll already be logged in, which would cut down on the aggravation.

But, and this is a HUGE “but,” there are new people clicking through this blog every day. Some have lost their mothers. Some have been touched (or crushed) by breast cancer. Some are/were struggling with infertility. Some know the pain of miscarriage. And some are long-lost friends from real life. I don’t want to shut these people out… if my journal can lend even the smallest ounce of comfort or information or just the knowledge that you’re NOT the only one, I want it to be available. I’ve “met” so many great people through this online journal, and password-protection would have prevented this from happening.

So that brings us to….

OPTION #2: Relocation. This is probably the more likely option. I’ve been meaning to shed the sarahrettew.com site for a while… don’t know about ya’ll, but that’s a little too much exposure. But if/when I do, I’m not sure how to make the actual transition. How do I transfer all my posts and all your comments? I don’t want to leave your comments behind – they mean a lot to me, and they’re part of the progression. And how do I make sure that I don’t leave anyone behind (assuming that you actually want to come along, that is).

This is so annoying. I’ve been feeling concerned about anonymity anyway, so I guess it’s good that this situation is serving as a catalyst. But why are people so mean? What do they gain by throwing me under the proverbial “bus” in real life? Does it make them feel better to make me feel worse? It makes me angry. But most of all, it makes me sad. Sad for them, sad for the person they hurt using my words, and, yep, sad for me too.