There is a certain solace in sharing my feelings, thoughts, and opinions anonymously. To a certain extent, I have a degree of comfortable semi-anonymity even on this blog because I get to choose what I share about myself and how I share it.
Yesterday I found myself participating in a social experiment about anonymity. I happened to see their stand display on the street by chance and got curious enough to stop to look. The premise of it, which is called The Strangers Project, is for people to write down on a blank piece of paper anything they want to share anonymously.
There was a wide range of interesting confessions hanging up on the stand. Some were shocking (a woman admitting she regularly fantasizes about having sex with her therapist), daring (a man moved to Korea on a whim after having a “vision” about it yet didn’t know how to speak a lick of Korean), amusing (someone wrote an argument, accompanied by a cute drawing, about why it’s better to be a shark), heartbreaking (a person came out as transgendered, lost all his/her friends, had to change schools and developed a very serious binge eating and purging disorder), poetic (a girl recalls how onions always make her cry because they remind her of her deceased father), etc. I was fascinated reading these true stories and having the realization that whatever feelings or perceptions I got from the stories might not be the reactions other people there had from reading the same words on each paper.
That’s what made me pick up one of the clipboards that had a release form for me to sign (which gives the project permission to repost my story anonymously) and then write out my own story on another paper.
The featured image of this blog post is indeed a screenshot of my story that I submitted for The Strangers Project. I was most struck by how different each story was in terms of life experiences but that in a number of them, people freely admitted to being unhappy or depressed. I too felt the pull to be that honest on my own paper knowing that long after I submitted everything in, my words would be read by complete strangers. Perhaps some would feel bad for me, pity or sympathize with me, or even find my confession to be stupid or dumb. Who knows. I think I like the mystery of not knowing.
My thoughts and ideas felt jumbled up once I started writing, almost as if I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. I opted to write each sentence as whatever came into my mind, so I feel for some sentences I didn’t pause to go into enough detail about certain things. There was also the problem of running out of the room as I got to the bottom of the page. In the end, I wrapped things up by penning my nickname: Justanervousgirl. I suppose I added that because I felt the tug of wanting to be anonymous yet also not wanting to be completely faceless and without some kind of name.
I am, as of yet, undecided if I want to publish a larger thumbnail of what I wrote to allow people to read the entire thing. Of the words that are viewable on the featured image, yes, the majority of what I wrote on the paper was about anxiety and social anxiety.