Anonymity, Invulnerability, and Myth: Why I Refuse To Identify Myself
As long as there have been humans, they’ve formed, changed, and shed their identities. A host of metaphors from the plant and animal kingdom are frequently employed to describe these processes; a snake shedding its skin, a tree shedding its leaves, a butterfly larva cocooning, a dragonfly molting until it reaches its final form. In humans, this process is less connected to our corporeal form and more to ideas. Specifically, to names.
In the wake of the revolutionary war and trying to shape a burgeoning new country, John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton used the alias “Publius” to publish the federalist papers, a seminal series of essays arguing for the ratification of the United States constitution. While they were three individuals, they forged one shared identity for that publication, completely removing themselves from the equation so that the arguments in the papers would stand on their merit.
In 1946 a still-unidentified woman calling herself Anonyma published the eponymous novel “Anonyma — A Woman In Berlin” describing the heinous sexual violence at the hands of the occupiers that ran rampant in the streets of Berlin after the end of WWII. She chose to stay known only as Anonyma because she feared being punished for speaking the truth. After all, her harrowing story did not fit well with the tale of the occupying force of instant unification.
In September 2013, a woman in Ciudad Juarez stepped into a bus full of young women waiting to go to their factory jobs on the outskirts of town. For years, bus drivers had assaulted lone female passengers. She pulled out a revolver and shot the bus driver between the eyes. She then calmly walked away from the crime scene. Today all that remains of her is a police sketch and an anonymous email she sent some weeks later, detailing the indignities suffered by the factory workers and the inaction of corrupt police. She signed off only as “Diana, the huntress of bus drivers”. 8 years later, she has turned into a legend. Diana’s myth has grown above and beyond who she could ever become.
Three vignettes encapsulate the detriments of identity and the benefits of shifting or shedding one’s own. It’s for these reasons that I’ve chosen to write anonymously. So no one can pressure me into shutting up, just like no one could pressure Anonyma. So no one can dismiss the ideas and accusations I present on the grounds of some quality about me that is inadequate or not to their liking. And finally, yes, to strike fear in the hearts of bullies who are used to getting away with everything, I adopted a patron saint as my nom de plume, just like Diana the Huntress. In the past days, I’ve been mistaken for a young girl, a wise teacher, and a literal demon. I am none of those things and I am all of them.
Good luck, you’ll need it.