Eugene Uttley is dead. Long live Eugene Uttley.
At the very beginning of this year, I decided to undertake establishing a new web presence. Under my own name. Eugene Uttley, you see, is a pen name.
It has been humbling and gratifying and fun starting over, social media wise, as myself.
I began afresh on Twitter (with zero followers instead of Uttley’s 4k or whatevs).
I put together a new blog… another free WordPress site like this one at first and then, just recently, a self-hosted WordPress. Upgrading to a dot com has been a worthwhile move if only in sparing my readers from annoying advertisements. lol. Also I am now afforded access to new themes and plug-ins and stuff, which is all good fun. And have more control. I recommend this step to anyone. Upon considering what level of engagement I was interested in, as well as my budget, I went for this deal, in case you’re interested.
So why the big sea-change of ‘coming out’ as myself online?
The answer to that question involves why I put on the Uttley mask in the first place.
The reasons I became Uttley online and in publication are many and complex, I think I can fairly say, but these are the big two straightforward ones:
- To prevent current and future prospective employers from catching wind of my diagnosis and deciding (due to stigma) not to risk keeping me on or hiring me…
- To protect my family by keeping word of my mental illness from getting around on the grapevine of my small hometown…
Neither of these concerns has gone away. I’m still ‘in the closet’ about sz at work, and still worry that my employers might find a way to get rid of me if they knew. I’m still stressed about the impact on my family if word gets out around town that I have this disease.
This is why in my new online incarnation (i.e. my own name), I don’t talk about sz.
It’s kind of a sad development, don’t you think? After reinventing myself as something of a fierce fighter against stigma, I’m now silencing my warcry… essentially out of fear.
But hey, c’est la vie. I’ve taken my turn at the podium with the blaring activist bullhorn, and now, though the marches and rallies go on, I’m… not there.
Well, I guess I’m overstating the case. This website is still up and running after all, as is @uttleysz on Twitter. The books I wrote as Uttley (and as Arthur Thomas Morton) are out there in circulation. My whole anti-stigma ship is still under some steam, it’s just that I’m largely absent from its wheelhouse. I’m busy piloting a new vessel – the S.S. Word-Florilegium Dot Com.
Yeah, I’ve decided to go ahead and light a little signal fire here on WeeDitty, if only in this one message, which shows the way to my new location. I reckon maybe, just maybe, there’s a small readership here made up of people who may care to come visit me there.
What’s the worst that can happen? Some malicious toad or mere misguided soul comes to my new blog and outs me as sz? That minimal fear in me is slaked by the common-sense knowledge that no toad would go to the trouble to do so, or even take the time to actually find and read this post. And as for the misguided soul, well, comments on my new blog have to be approved before they appear. Heh.
So by all means, if at all inclined, please do pop on over and see what I’m up to.
I’ll close by saying that I’m doing fairly well. Well. My life is no smashing success by most standards… in fact, it’s a hot mess by most people’s standards… but then, each of us kind of has to forge our own understanding of what success means, don’t we? I’m stable. Just that one word means successful to me.
I’m inexpressibly grateful for current mental stability. I wish it for you, too… for all. Meanwhile, for those experiencing less balmy mental and emotional weather, I have this (somewhat ironically) to offer: talking about it really does help. When we alienate and isolate, mental illness spirals in and down, feeding on itself. When we commune with fellow-sufferers and others who care, the spiraling slows, stops, even reverses.
Alrighty, I’m going to go. Thanks for reading. ‘Twould be good to see you ’round.