One of my favorite parts of travel is the privilege and luxury of anonymity. I’ve been in a different city every day and in each one I am presented with the opportunity to reinvent myself or to disappear into the fold. No one know who I am and the ‘me’ I am in the city can be completely different regardless. It’s exciting and intriguing, albeit a bit lonely at times. You do sometimes miss the genuine connection with someone who has known you for a long time when you are constantly surrounded by strangers.
Anonymity is something that eludes us nowadays with all of our options of connecting to others.I maintain a relatively small digital footprint in the world and really am not that active on social media or anything aside from this blog and the Twitter account linked to it. Sometimes I wonder what I would say if I were to strike a conversation with someone during my travels. Who would I be. What would I do for a living. What kind of things would I care about. What would my priorities be. I’m more sociable when I travel for work on my own. For some reason I’m more inclined to smile and nod at the person next to me at the bar and maybe even start a conversation. I’ve met people and exchanged food stories. Hell I talk to my cab drivers more.
The most interesting secret identity I’ve maintained however…has been this one. I have very purposefully and deliberately maintained a separation between who I am in the real world and who I am here. That’s why I’m Man. Why my photos are all blocked. I wanted to write and investigate these feelings and attitudes towards relationships and not have any sort of…outside interference or influence. I wanted real honest interactions to be able to write about and reflect on.
Take my friends for example. They have no idea I have this blog. They have no idea how much this exercise has helped me get over the breakup and move on with a new purpose. To them I am still the same me, but they see a stronger version who has been able to handle himself and move on with relative ease. They don’t walk on eggshells around me and they don’t feel I need to be consoled or shielded from the reality of the situation. I like that I am able to be an example of strength and fortitude to them. They’ve seen me through breakups and some I have handled less than well. Some recklessly. They see me now, moving forward, entertaining, living, working, and perhaps they can begin to sense how I have moved beyond that seeking, craving, relationships.
My family and relatives definitely have no idea. What is notable about everyone in general is how they view me. I remember when my cousin was staying over last week, my mother very non-jokingly asked her if she had any friends in the Philippines who I might be able to date when I visited. My grandmother is visiting this week and she wants to know all about my love life. My other cousin who already lives in the city was shocked that I wasn’t in a relationship or not out seeking one. It seems my romantic escapades have been a hot topic of discussion back in the Philippines! Most people who know me, define me by my relationships. I have always been that person. This journey of reflection and maybe eventual transformation is mine and mine alone to have. So I made the decision to not let anyone personal know about what it is I am doing. It makes the act so much more natural and more rewarding. Every person who finds themselves here, every word read by others, something I wrote or speak to or try to express speaks to them on a very real level, not one of obligation or familiarity.
I do plan however at the end of this experiment to let everyone know what I have been up to. I would explain to them that a year ago someone broke my heart almost entirely and forced me to realize I needed to shift my entire priority and work on myself and ask questions I had been avoiding or didn’t even realize needed to be answered before I could seriously handle a relationship of the level I wanted. And that through a year of reflection and introspection I would catalog and capture all of the observations, insecurities, victories, and defeats of a year of being single and alone.
For now I enjoy the anonymity. I enjoy knowing that every experience I have now is able to be captured and that I afford myself the time and a space to actually reflect and grow. It is a little secret I keep in my back pocket, and keeping secrets is just so much fun sometimes. I don’t feel any weight or responsibility, and I get to write openly and honestly without fear of outing anyone or offending them. And no one can read my blog out of some vain pursuit to see how often I might or might not mention them, as I know many people who know bloggers are wont to do. And I can write about people like Beautiful and Bird and, though it might not be directly to them, it is out there and it is in some physical form so that I might relieve myself of the burden of those thoughts weighing down on me forever.
For now I remain, blissfully, Man.
Man: 24 Loneliness: 7