Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The downside of self-introspection and pretending to be someone you’re not

Something I wrote is going to run on a certain website in the next few weeks. I’m psyched, but also disappointed. I submitted the piece under my nom de plume, Beth Brown. It’s hard to watch someone else who is really yourself get all the credit for something you did.

You, of course, know me as Frogmama. Until recently, I’d been using the pen name for pretty much everything. But it conjures up all kinds of weird images: a small human, for example, with an enormous amphibian head. A head so large that the poor frogwoman can’t stand up without falling over. That bothers me. One can’t parent if one can’t hold up one’s head.

You may also know me as Mrs. Mullet. That doesn’t quite ring true either. I used to live in Mulletville, but I fought hard against assimilation. I don’t have a mullet, therefore how can I be Mrs. Mullet? I should be Mrs. Anti-mullet.

So, I thought about it and settled on Beth Brown. Beth because it is my middle name, brown because it is my favorite color (unless it’s the color of a face mask). Also, you can’t get more functional/oatmeally/sturdy shoe-ish than a two syllable name like Beth Brown (no offense to anyone who might actually have this name—I bet you’re a hell kitten).

Some days, I love Beth Brown. She is what my life needs: a no-frills fall guy. She professes her parenting failures without regard for recourse. She admits she can’t breastfeed and that she doesn’t want to be supermom, all without shame. Her mousy hair is short and poker straight. She has a little pudge but she doesn’t care. She’s solid.

Beth Brown nails it.

Other days I resent her. Even though she affords me a safe little umbrella under which to write, the bitch gets all the credit for this blog. (By “credit” I mean the $40 a year I make from BlogHer and the trickling stream of traffic. Damn that Beth Brown!) She’s the one who has the guts to be out there alongside the bloggers who have put their real names and photos on their blogs.

If I wasn’t worried about getting dooced and losing my job because of my blog, I’d come clean with my true identity in a heartbeat. I’d love to just be out there, like red lacy underwear flapping on a clothesline. I’d love to out myself to my Facebook friends. To post a status update of “I AM BETH BROWN/FROGMAMA/MRS. MULLET!”

Then, of course, I’d have to deal with my sister-in-law learning how I really feel about her dick husband. Vag would know that I thought of him while getting vagged. Would my conservative Bob Villa-esque father really want to read about my water breaking at work? And the children. What about their privacy?

And let’s not forget about Mulletville Corp. Good God, they’d probably sue the pants (and red lacy underwear) right off me for outing the staff and their incompetencies. I’d be cast out into the parking lot and egged as I drove away. My name would be scum.

And where would Beth Brown be? Hmmm? I’ll tell you where! Smugly polishing her shoes and avoiding my phone calls, that’s where. She didn’t write “How to poop at work” now did she? She didn’t make an ass of the Marketing Head. She didn’t hate her babysitter for using too many dryer sheets. Oh, no, she’s above all that. I made her do it.

I enabled her.

It’s complicated I tell you, this relationship I have with my secret identity, which is also my public identity. Com-pleee-ca-ted. And I’ll just say this once: If Beth Brown starts sleeping with my husband Chuck, I’m going to clock her with one of her shoes.

Luckily for her, those red lacy underwear are well hidden.

(Sigh. I know Chuck, I know.)


Pricilla said...

At least your nom de plume is human.....

SmartBear said... leave me intrigued. And damn, I could talk about this topic all day with you. Because while I sue my first name and reference a state round about area I live in, I don't write under my actual identity. I needs my privacy and I want my kid and my family to have it to. Also? WHen you do what I do for a living, you sort of don't want the parents of clients finding a blog about your mischief and mayhem and sailor mouth. Sometimes I get jealous...sometimes I wish I could throw myself out there. But then I am a bit scared of what "out there" really means. Or I see blogs with kids and their pictures all over them and I think " what are those kids going to say when they have a voice to say something?"
Happy for you and your writing gig...if I find out where Beth Brown is hitting the publish button I will give a silent shout out to the gal behind the frog mask.

VandyJ said...

In my immediate circle, only my hubby knows about the blog. Turbo has heard us talk about it, but is not really aware of what it is. I have not told my mother or Nick's folks. As I need the blog to vent about their craziness, I doubt I'll ever tell them about it.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I've been there, done that, been bitch slapped for it.

I figure, if anyone REALLY wants to find out my details they'll be able to do it somehow. Everything is public nowadays. I did a better job of hiding my identity earlier, now I just have given up caring. ha ha then again, my kids can't fire me. They can get embarrassed but isn't that what a mom is supposed to do? ;)

Leanne said...

Pricillla made me LAUGH. I hear you. I was thinking about knocking tired mama up just to make the blog more interesting. But too many people know that it's me. Now I have another blog where I swear, bitch and am generally nasty. If anyone EVER puts the two together I will be dead. Seriously. Dead.

Man! There are a lot of holes in my neighborhood

Our young neighbors Bob and Claire are wonderful —which is a fricken relief because we basically share a yard. A flat, treeless yard. When ...