CBC News, Here I Come

There was a time when I ferociously guarded my anonymity online. From 2003 until quite recently, I routinely googled my real name, tracked down rogue mentions of it, and worked to wipe all connections between my offline and online identities off the face of the internet.

When I was interviewed about online anonymity for the Globe & Mail in 2009, though, a switch was flipped, and I started feeling the itch to move away from my security blanket.

Somehow, this has culminated in me being the focus of a CBC News segment which is to air tomorrow night. Or, at least, it should be tomorrow night. I have yet to have this confirmed.*

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all photos courtesy of the Palinode

At any rate, since the summer of 2009, I have wanted to come out.

Coming out has become a hobby of mine, it seems. I have come out as queer both sexually and gender-wise, I have come out as an alcoholic, and now I have come out of the closet of anonymity.

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I used to have a thing for closets, but I don't so much anymore, which is how I ended up being interviewed by Costa Maragos of CBC News about quitting both smoking and drinking and living a healthier, happier life.

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It seems that I need to tell all of Saskatchewan that I was an alcoholic, because apparently it wasn't enough to tell the internet.

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Despite my lifting of my anonymity, though, I have not actually ever told my family directly about my online identity. I've mentioned conferences and even went so far as to tell them that I spoke at Blissdom Canada in October, but I have not yet dropped the bomb of the extent to which I am involved on the internet.

This should make my television debut really special.

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Unlike my CBC radio appearances in which my weblog url and my real name were never tied to one another, this television appearance has my weblog written all over it, or rather it has me typing in 72-point arial beneath my weblog masthead for the television audience.

I suppose this might be my big wave hello to my parents and friends and family across this grande province of Saskatchewan.


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What I didn't realize when I agreed to shoot the interview at Atlantis Coffee is that we would be shooting it right out in the open where real people were sitting around having coffee and watching us do the interview. Costa Maragos is well-known and camera guys are real attention-getters. I felt rather exposed, and by "exposed" I mean "stark naked under a flood light in room full of looky-loos."

My inner monologue ran like this: Omigod omigod omigod omigod. Locate the exits. Where are the exits? We're not trapped. Can we still run? I betcha I can make it halfway across the street before Costa and the Palinode know I'm running.

I imagined myself flailing across the intersection to freedom.

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I didn't run, though. I didn't call the whole thing off, even though I was thinking better of my decision to take my story even more public. I didn't, even though I thought I looked puffy and can't stand the way I look and sound on film.

I stayed, because I have disallowed shame in my life, and I have disallowed the resulting fear that shame grows, which fear has no eye to my best interests.

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I'm not allowed to say no anymore just because my anxiety makes me want to hide under all the bedding in the back of the closet. I spent six months like that when I had an undocumented breakdown more than a couple of years ago, and I'm not letting fear and shame take me there again, not if I can help it.

That kind of behaviour only begets more of itself, and then it brings along its friends Poor Hygiene, Persistent Insomnia, and Secret Drinking to liven up the party.

Things get very unsexy very fast.

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I wasn't going to talk about all that, though. I was just going to talk about how I'm going to be on television. I'm going to be on television!

I've cast off anonymity, embraced living honestly, and put myself on tomorrow night's CBC News in Saskatchewan. It feels completely insane to have come from such heavily guarded privacy to this place where I've thrown the doors wide open.

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It feels fantastic.


* Aaaaand I just received a phone call from Costa Maragos telling me that my segment will not be airing tomorrow. It will be airing next week, which means that I can revisit this whole thing again then. Aren't you lucky!


Also, PS. I didn't score this interview all on my own. There was my friend, Jordan, who put Costa in touch with me. Thanks, Jordan!

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