I blog here under the name stevedomino - this is an overhang from my days as a member of Derby's
(Incidentally, my previous band was called - for reasons too arcane to go into here - The Millers, so for that period I was sometimes legitimately referred to as stevemiller - the days were long, dark and seemingly endless round these parts...)
Anyway, you don't have to be Nancy Drew to find out my actual full real-life name - even if you don't listen to revealing radio interviews (where I also reveal the name of my employer), a quick glance at my Twitter profile will provide the key to my not-so secret identity...
|WARNING: this man may crack under questioning|
I have tried to be careful about protecting the identities of people in my life (mostly... when I remember...), particularly my wife. But I know that in the past I have given away such tidbits as this just through being a bit clumsy.
The first MS blog I read which didn't make me want to GOUGE MY OWN EYES OUT was Jackie Zimmerman's MSunderstood (no longer online, unfortunately) - here was a writer who didn't take anything lying down and wasn't ashamed to talk about the (often humiliating) symptoms her conditions threw at her - plus she continues to be a constant force for good in the universe.
The fact that Jackie (and her colleague Dana) used to write in their own names led me to do the same when I started a blog as a way to sift through thoughts in my head which were mostly to do with my health.
Plus I don't know anyone my age (or even in the same basic age-ly ball park) with MS in the Real World.
The idea that the blog would find an audience - however small - was genuinely the last thing on my mind - if it was otherwise, I'd have chosen a blog title without a MILD SWEAR in it.
Somewhere along the way, I became convinced that this was a form of activism - a way of presenting a different face of living with MS than the one which is traditionally in the media.
As such, my logic went, why do it in anything other than my own name? I'm certainly not ashamed of having MS, nor am I particularly shy about "coming out" in person.
Now I know that there are many MS bloggers - certainly more popular and entertaining than I - who write behind user names and avatars, which is entirely their prerogative.
And I don't judge in any way, nor do I assign my own potential paranoias or shames to them. God knows, I know that I'm my own unique mess.
Anyway, over Christmas I was talking to my brother and he said that he'd read something on this blog, and that he thought it was weird that I would put it out there in the public domain for strangers to read. Why didn't I just talk to people?
(He also totally doesn't get Twitter)
And for some unknown reason, the fact that he'd been reading the blog royally weirded me out and I didn't really know why.
Was it just because he's someone that I know intimately in real life?
It's not as if this blog is a no-holds-barred literal representation of every crappy symptom and/or humiliation, because (a) that would be dull and depressing, and (b) there are some things which I'm uncomfortable being "out there".
So, it turns out that in some ways, blogging under my own name / image actually prevents me from being as honest as I could be about my MS.
(Weirdly, this was not the conclusion I expected to come to when I started writing this post!)
Anyway, my brother said that he didn't want to appear on this blog. So apologies, dear brother...
... although I did say at the time that I would use the conversation we were having in a future post.