posted by meowser
Recently, my dad was interviewed for a Big Deal National Publication, for a story they were doing on real estate in the area where he lives. He emailed me to tell me the exciting news, and right then and there I could have told him my great news, about FatFu (the blog) getting mentioned in a BDNP also. Not that that was my doing at all, of course, they were merely referencing the brilliant work of my brilliant coblogger (OK, Fu, I’ll stop now, I promise), and I was merely along for the ride. But at least they didn’t say, “Except for the work of Meowser, which is completely inane and should be ignored at all costs,” so I’ll take it. Yet I could not bring myself to tell him. The words got stuck in my throat. Fingers. Something.
My father does not know I blog about fat. Neither does my mother. Or my brother. In fact, a lot of people I know in meatspace don’t know. My boyfriend and my ex-husband know. That’s about it.
Just what kind of idiot blogger am I, not even telling my own family and friends what I’m doing? Valerie Plame probably wasn’t this secretive about her calling, at least not with people who were close to her. I mean, it’s not as if they don’t know I hold what most people consider unorthodox views about fat (i.e. that it’s not some kind of full-body malignant tumor, which is evidently a “radical” POV, go fig). I started doing this as a lark, really, I did not set out to become a fat blogger. I posted some stuff. People liked it. Fu asked me to join up with her. I did. Now it’s gotten to the point where I have to ask myself: what am I so fucking afraid of? And I suppose my answer is this: An argument.
Yes, an argument. Let me tell you something about my dad. He LOVES an argument — he and my stepmom will thrust-and-parry happily for hours over the most piddling shit you can imagine, like what color toilet to put in the guest bathroom — and he is crazy about Weight Watchers. He is 67 and male, and therefore the weight he lost with them (he claims about 50 pounds) is likely to stay off for good unless he goes on prednisone. As those of you who watch this space are well aware, we at FatFu (and elsewhere in the Fatosphere) give WW, if you’ll pardon the expression, a very wide berth. I do not love an argument. I do not love people I love being angry with me. I really don’t love it, a lot. A lot of people dread conflicts with loved ones, but for me it’s beyond dread, it’s like…well, discovering a full-body malignant tumor, actually.
But I also feel that the diet culture is toxic and destructive. And Weight Watchers is a DIET DIET DIET. Yes, it is, Dad, sorry. Marilyn Wann Rule Number 3 (or is it 4?): “If you have to count what you put in your mouth, it’s a diet.” And I want, someday, maybe very soon, to do more than just preach to the choir about it. The world desperately needs healing and liberation on the subject of fat, it’s gasping and choking for it, and I’m starting to feel more and more like just doing my stupid little job and hiding behind my furry avatar to express myself periodically just isn’t enough for me. If I want more than that, if I want my words to reach the general public and the unconverted, I have to take the risk of going public with my true identity and my true, still rather controversial point of view. This may also mean making my real name public knowledge. (No magazine or newspaper is going to publish me with the byline “Meowser,” after all.)
Another reason this scares the crap off my cracker is that I still have to work for a living. Not being eligible for private insurance, I am umbilically attached to my employer for this. As you might recall, I’ve revealed some rather intimate details about my life under this pseudonym of mine, stuff I might not necessarily want to tell the world with my real name attached to it, stuff that could cause an employer to be rather suspicious of me. (I have the kind of job where I got hired remotely and they do not know what I look like, but a Google search can bring up more than they want to know.)
Once I make it a known fact that Meowser=insertrealnamehere, I take a very real risk of being blackballed, which might actually be a lot worse than having an argument with my dad over Weight Watchers stupidity. (My mother wouldn’t argue with me; she just wouldn’t get it. And my brother might not argue with me too strenuously — he doesn’t like butting heads any more than I do — but his knowing heightens the risk of my dad finding out.)
And yeah, the Kathy Sierra shit scares me too. Call me a giant pussy, but when she got the noose pictures and Liss and Amanda had menacing people knocking on their doors in the wake of the John Edwards controversy, I told myself, “I will NEVER reveal my true identity online, ever. It’s not worth it.” Yes, I know that THE WOMANHATE TERRORISTS TOTALLY WIN if all women bloggers adopt that attitude. Blogging is not for giant pussies. But I AM a giant pussy! And in some ways it’s comfortable, in a devil-you-know sort of way. Being terminally inconsequential is always an option. But it’s one I keep eating out the lining of my stomach over day by day. Which is NOT comfortable.
So what would you do?