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Essay: Using a Pseudonym – the Brand behind the Name

Posted by on September 13, 2017

Using a Pseudonym

– the brand behind the name

I was asked recently why do I write under a pseudonym. Why allow myself to be represented by “Wonderwhiterabbit”, and not the real person? We had had a few glasses of wine during this conversation, so we started off laughing about the pseudonym. The story behind it is so close to who I really am, that it doesn’t seem like any wonder as to why I would use it. If people knew me, there would be no difference between who they see represented in it, and who they see represented in me. But then I was asked, “So what if Wonder got famous? Wouldn’t you want people to know that it was really you?”

And that got me thinking. Why do I blog? Why do I write these things down to share with others when I never allow the people closest to me to share in my thoughts too? It makes me think of JK Rowling, when she decided to write her detective books under a different name. What drove her to do that? Obviously, it was a branding decision – the brand of Harry Potter will always and forever be connected to her name, and this makes it very difficult to read anything else written by her without comparison. In my case, I use a pseudonym for the same reason – the brand who I am as Wonder, which comes out in my writing, is different to the brand who I am in real life. Not drastically so – not worthy of “another personality”. But enough that the severity of my words on paper do not drift into the severity of my actions as a human.

In real life, there are so many politics to navigate through and around, that it becomes difficult to be able to say what one would naturally want to say. Wonder is the braver version of me, in that she can state those things more formally without fear. Or perhaps Wonder is the scardy-cat between us: she can hide behind a façade, behind a screen, and rely on the same mental tricks of cyber-bullies to support her actions. She is not particularly courageous – unlike the real-life version who is willing to speak up, interact on a personal basis, and engage despite the coursing fear of potential rejection hiding behind every possible fake smile and pretentious hello.

So why not let my people know what I do? Why not let them know of this other side of me? Of this Wonder that I’ve created? Because Wonder is a quiet place in my head that I can let out to those who are willing to meet her. She does not pretend to dumb-down her words; she does not pretend to be a goody-goody; she just says what she wants to say based on a platform that allows it to be said. Too many times have I, in real life, been forced to suppress ideas, suppress actions, because of the human limitations surrounding me. And unfortunately, a lot of those are based on the mere fact that it is me, in all my female-ness, in all my young-ness, in all my experienceless-ness, in all my classless-ness. So, to have a platform where none of that matters, is exactly what allows Wonder to be what she is. She writes about serious topics, about her professional views, about corporate experiences – and then she also writes about fanfiction and stories of horror and lust and love, and she throws in poetry that only those who actually use cognition in their reading would be able to appreciate beyond the words on the page.

If Wonder gets famous or a lot of recognition or appreciation or notice from any source, I will of course be very happy. But not because of the idea of any of those wonderful words – because actually, that means that, without the discrimination of who I am outside, people were able to overcome that obstacle by seeing only what is in the inside. And then, should they meet me, we would all share in a silent unspoken moment – the vulnerable truth that they took the time to read, and I took the time to write, something that joined us in that moment of like-mindedness with no coercion and no expectation. The true sharing of minds.

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Wonderwhiterabbit hopping off…

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