I am probably the most naive person on the Internet. For years, I have been quietly typing away, spewing out articles, stories, and goofy commentaries on a few websites—happily going about my business, making tons of friends, and hoping that I was perhaps the best kept secret. I have actively guarded that secret and kept it from my family. Why? Privacy of course ... okay, insecurity. How about privacy AND insecurity?
Have any of you ever “Googled” your name or alias? It never occurred to me because I apparently live under a rock, but tonight my husband asked me if anyone had ever asked permission to forward any of my articles or stories. Of course this has happened a few times and I will freely admit that it stroked my ego ... oh yeah ... it felt GOOD. I have made it a habit of asking permission from an author when I have reposted something wonderful that simply had to be shared. I always carefully made sure the original author was given credit and gave links to the original source. Everyone has been great about it. Authors love sharing stories because that is what it is about!
Well, my IT guru husband and I “Googled” my alias which I have used since the dawn time—perhaps since the conception of the Internet: “Cheekyredhead”. I found some really remarkable things: a nice lady that is “all about yarn and weaving" seems to share my alias, as well as a few porn stars. Aside from that shock, I sat back and viewed the vastness of the Internet and saw that my little articles, stories, and general goofiness has been forwarded, book-marked, and reposted “to infinity and beyond” now making me feel a bit silly about my perception that I was maybe a tiny treasure here on this site.
I suppose the bigger irony is that I have been so careful to keep my stories from my family, as if I were a child guarding a secret box of chocolates. It has made me consider why I kept them so close to me, failing to share them with the people I care deeply about. Writing can be a deeply personal thing. My stories and articles are often based on fact and well embellished with a healthy dose of imagination so that they connect to everyone on different levels. My writing is my dreams and wistfulness, insight and blind absurdity. They are the essence of me, while also both fiction and folly. Was I afraid of some haunting great big critical red pen to be wielded against my little stories? No. Pretty sure it was insecurity.
What if it is insecurity? The opinions of those close to me are highly valued and I may have been a little hesitant to be given that brutal honesty that I am sometimes so famous for. Does anyone want to be told that the little stories they feel so guilty about hiding are in fact possibly pure rubbish? Wow, I guess I do not give those I love enough credit—where is the trust—where is the love? I know that is what you were thinking. It is hysterically funny, actually. I never realized I was so insecure. The evidence of my insecurity is astounding and overwhelming. Heck, it is all over the Internet. I am a NET WIT.
Well, today I made a great big-girl step into that realm of honesty I value so much. Yes, this Cheekyredhead is coming out of the closet for all to see. I am walking out into the open for the sun to shine on my smiling face as I announce proudly that I am THE original Cheekyredhead! What the heck does that mean anyway? I guess it means that I am ready to actually to take the credit for my writing, goofy banter, and silliness. I will confess that I was bewildered, shocked, and very pleased that people have thought enough of my writing to forward it and share with others. That means so much to me!
One of my favorite people in the whole world once said, “You love me, YOU really LOVE me!” and that of course was Sally Fields. While I have never accomplished what she has, I know that feeling now and it is real and it is sweet and also scary. I would settle, of course, for “You like me, YOU really LIKE me!”—but I will not be picky. The bottom line here is that phrase has new meaning to me. Thank you—I REALLY THANK YOU! I am so excited, I am screaming. Please forgive me. This is all so new to me. Am I famous?
My first public appearance was a very nervous experience. I was terrified that nobody would be there—that all my friends online would evaporate and suddenly not exist. All the skills I had honed and worked on in our local Toastmasters club went out the window. With sweaty palms and a ball of nerves, I contemplated whether an empty room would be as mortifying as a full room full of expectations. I took a deep breath and I ran out yelling, “You like me … YOU really like ME!” and then the laughter began. I felt so loved, liked, and needed. What more could anyone ask for? I never thought anything would ever be as good as chocolate (except my husband of course) but nothing—yes, nothing—can match someone asking for your autograph! I don’t care if it was a seven-year-old! These are my fans!
Then my husband convinced me to finally come back in the house. He insists the Internet is not the vastness of the evening sky in my front yard and apparently I was just hustled by a Brownie scout for three dozen cookies … I do remember signing something. I suppose announcing my success to the neighbors as they pulled out their trashcans does not equal a press conference. It was a great little piece of heaven for five minutes and perhaps a lifetime of embarrassment in the future. Darn. Was that my five minutes of fame?
My neighbors now know me as that crazy redhead lady at the end of the cul-de-sac. Online people know me as THE “Cheekyredhead” and a few publishers know me as Cheeky ... But I suppose that if someone really wanted to find my real name, they would of course find me here. Yep ... that is the real me, but I have always been real. Really… I am seriously all real—no plastic inter-changeable parts. Meanwhile, my superhero costume is being made. My laptop eagerly awaits its next punishment and somewhere there are three dozen Girl Scout cookies with my name on them. They deliver right? Of course, all my adoring fans can have an autograph … but they will have to find me first. There is no scheduled repeat performance in my front yard—but if you wait a couple of months, I will have plenty cookies to share.