Thursday, February 08, 2007

To the Anonymous



I remember, not long ago, I was leaving the Ohel - getting a ride back with a group of girls, only one of which I knew.

One of the girls asked me my name.

Upon my response, she said, "Yoooou're Mimi Notik?"

"Ah hah, that's me."

"You're the one that wrote that thing...?"

"Yup, that was me."

"Wow, you're so normal!"

After her explanation, I understood that this Crown Heights girl was not accustomed to writers giving their real name. She had thought that since I gave my real name on my pieces, I must be one of those real whackos. After all, the average person in close-knit Jewish communities like to keep their real identity far away from the web-world's written content. So who is this strange person putting her name on her writing?!

I see from people who comment on my pieces, remaining anonymous is quite the trend. But why is it that everyone thinks that by giving your real name, you're abnormal?

If anything, a person with normalcy understands that written expression, in whatever form, is a serious thing. A person with something to say and stands by it, will give their identity. They hold no insecurities and invite personally directed reactions to what they have yielded.

You will never see something I wrote without my name. Furthermore, if you love or hate what I wrote, I have an e-mail address that invites you to personally praise or complain. A reader should always know from whom the work is from. Then, the communication is healthy. You can understand the context. The bigger picture comes free, and the world is less afraid.

I recently got an e-mail of complaint from a person with a created anonymous e-mail. She actually wanted me to engage in dialogue about a very personal matter. I was baffled. Entering a discourse with a anonymous person didn't strike me as being all too fair. So that's how I responded, and I have yet to hear back from her. Apparently, the fact that I may know her is a little scary for her, because, well, quite frankly, she wasn't so nice. So, remaining anonymous gave her the excuse.

If you have reasons for being anonymous, that's really fine. Really. Spark my curiosity. Comment anonymously! I appreciate all comments, no matter who they are or aren't from. Furthermore, I recognize the desire, comfort, and even the ease in being anonymous.

However, remaining anonymous oftentimes gives people the excuse to say things that they don't have to stand up for, represent, or explain.

So, if you're going to choose the anonymous route, use it responsibly.

How much more unified we would all be if the writing we produce - even small comments - were able to be seen as a part in parcel of our true identity.

Few of us will make our mark on this world while giving in to the non-demands of anonymity..

Fully identified and never incognito,

Mimi Notik

22 comments:

Avi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mendel said...

Hmmmmmmm. Alittle upsetting. I just found your blog yesterday, and loved it. I read through most of the archive and was hoping for something new. You wrote something new, but not really. Well, it's never too late!

Mimi said...

Mendel, I know, you're right. Stay in touch, more "real pieces" coming soon.

Chana said...

I agree that people should put their name on things, to show they stand by what they say, but sometimes people like to remain anonymous so that their point will be accepted, without strings attached. Unfortunately, people come along with all sorts of labels. By signing a comment anonymously, you're just getting the message itself, without any "baggage" from the commenter.

Mendel....again said...

Oops. I'm such a klutz. I totally forgot to mention that a lot of your writing is very inspiring, and that it's extremely refreshing to find such deep toichen on such an empty internet. Thanks a lot, and keep it up!

Just one more thing (srry-Mendel again) said...

FOR ALL YOU PEOPLE READING THIS STUFF, I DON'T THINK COMMENTS ARE NECESSARY ON THIS PEICE. IT'S VERY SIMPLE. IF YOU'RE ANONYMOUS, YOU'RE A WUSS. STOP IT. IF YOU'RE NOT, GOOD JOB.

Now life can go on, and we will all wait patiently for the next article. Thank you all for reading me.

Mimi said...

The previous commenter's decision to use the title "wuss" in labeling anonymous folk in no way reflects the viewpoint of the author of this blog. :)

Mendel, thanks for your (other) kind words.

Dovid said...

Hey, Mimi. I couldn't agree more about the anonymous commenting.

But you can surely understand the desire for an author to remain anonymous. I mean, heck, you write all these beautiful things about shlichus and mitzvos and innocence, so yeah, anonymity wouldn't make sense. But most great literature is about pain and suffering and is very real and raw, and very revealing. In the wider world you can reveal yourself and hope that you'll still be understood and accepted by at least one other person on earth. But in a narrow and small community like ours, it's either you retain your anonymity, or you cut yourself out of the mainstream and are rejected for feeling and thinking and suffering. The pressure is strong to conform. The feelings are prescribed in the books, as are the thoughts and tastes, etc.
Who you??!!

Dovid said...

Oh, and another thing. When my blog was still up I was really putting it all out there in hope of some type of resolution.

Anyways, I get this email, from an elderly woman, in which she writes that if I need anyone to speak to, she's there for me. I shouldn't be afraid to pour out my heart to her. What was really my problem? Etc.
ANONYMOUSLY! I couldn't believe it. Where do these people come from??

an old sabra said...

well dovid that's nice of her and mimi, i like ur post.

surprised, aren't you?

sabra kida said...

o gosh that was so anonymous of me. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hold on, im lookin for my social security card...

Annoying grammar dude said...

Mimi-
I thought we agreed it's "...only one of whom I knew..." Check the agreement...

plain annoying dude said...

Oh, and I agree wholeheartedly with you.

Attention all readers, writers and creepy snoopers: I am not embarassed to say "I am A. N. Onymous."

Phew, feels good to finally come clean!

(Mimi, thanx for the "p" on phew. It's changed my life!)

Avi said...

I love the post. I looooove the graphic.

Anonymous said...

If i'm not mistaken, that's why the Rebbe was so against "Pashkvilin" - anonymous letters to the community generally carrying a negative message

Chaya said...

Mimi, it's me, Chaya - who actually said that to you at the Ohel! Nice blog. To tell you the truth, I've been waiting for when you would write something about that! Right after that conversation I had a feeling you would write a piece about it, it's so typically your musings - in a good way - but I thought by now you for sure forgot about that encounter and conversation! How surprised I was when I saw this come up! Well, I guess you have good memory! But I do want to say, that although technically I agree with you, yet it is a little frightening in our community -especially the Parsha we're in- to write your name. People tend to right away judge, label etc. and as someone else said, if you want to get your message across, but not get harassed by every person you know who read it...you just go the anonymous route. That's why I was so surprised to discover that you're so normal, regular etc. and not some airy, interesting character.
Anyway, nice writing. Keep it up. I actually check out your site every little while. Your thoughts and comments are so incredible -so many times I feel as though your writing exactly what I think and feel - I have never met someone else like that...
It's a pleasure to read every time something new comes up.

Joseph said...

try judging people favourably.
like david, perhaps the old lady was a noted psychologist and it would not be proper to identify herself, perhaps you would not have felt comfortable...
whatever anyone chooses to do is good.

Mimi said...

Erin,

I recieved your comment, and tried e-mailing you. But it keeps getting delivered back to me, so I guess that e-mail is no longer working?

Just wanted to let you know that there's a reason you found discrepancies in the anonymous reference. It's because it wasn't about you.

Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

on the other hand writing your real name also means, that your adding another real part of you, to your real life, which many people already have. so why add this internet life to your real self, even though you might waste time on it? ultimately you end up being addicted, responsibly?!

-jabotinsky-

Anonymous said...

Kol Hakavod for be willing to give out your real name but I think you also should somewhat understand the reasons behind those that choose not to...

With that in mind, may I suggest a new blog by an anonymous writer...

dailyderher.blogspot.com

Ms. Nechama Marcus said...

Oh, shoot. Now everyone knows we are friends.

wholovesubaby said...

Too much hiding. The game of hide and go seek is over!!! Lets reveal the light. Thanks for illuminating the blogashpere Mim !!!