The anonymity provided by the internet is one of the technology's key aspects. So many of the dynamics that play out on the web are, in large part, fueled by the behaviors of people interacting under this cloak.
Unfortunately, those dynamics are often negative and unkind. Cyber bullying, stalking, outright fabrications and reputation trashing are all the result of the ability to hide.
But there are ways that anonymity is positively empowering. A recent Reddit thread illustrated one.
People came to the forum to spill their guts. They explained their deepest secrets that they just needed to get off their chests, but couldn't do so in the real, public-facing world.
Some of the contributions were embarrassing moments. Some were tragic personal tales. Whatever form they took, we hope the space offered healing and support by cultivating a safe environment in which to share.
Chessing asked, "What's a secret you can only share with online strangers?"
Still Love, Just a Blip
"Sometimes when my medical issues are acting up I can't even remember my husband's name. I know who he is but its like the data is corrupted and my brain is returning 'unknown error' instead of 'name'"
A Defining Lie
"Not much of a secret, but my dad lied about having a family to my mom. My dad is still in the picture, but we're like the 'secondary' family. It took 25 years for me to finally meet one of my brothers from my dad's side."
"He seems to be the only one who half-heartedly wanted to meet me. The rest don't seem to care too much about my existence."
So Much to Carry
"Never told my parents I had stage one cancer. Both were barely sober and would have jumped off the wagon head first. Bright side, doc got it all." -- pazuzusboss
"Glad you beat cancer! I know that must have been a hard decision to make, but it was probably for the better to not tell them." -- SaltyBaguettes
Acknowledging Emotions Honestly
"I kind of dislike my best friend. We've known each other a long time, and we're both in unfortunate circumstances, but I'm trying to change mine. He isn't trying to change his, he just rages about how unfair his life is."
"I've offered all the help I can, but he never takes me up on it, and being his shoulder to cry on can be exhausting. He can be a very negative person, and so can I, but I'm trying to be less so, but it's easy to slip back into negativity when I'm around him."
"It's all very frustrating sometimes."
An Acute Traumatic Experience
"My mother's last words, as she lay dying in our house were 'I'm scared.' This has f***ed me up, bad. And I can't tell anyone I know because I don't want to f*** them up too"
"It was a normal night. We said goodnight and I went off to bed. 5 minutes later I heard her scream help. I ran downstairs, she said she couldn't breathe. I thought she was having panic attack but called for the ambulance."
"Next thing I know she said that, then she's turning purple, then the noise and, boom. Gone."
"Turned out she had a pulmonary embolism. 20 minutes start to finish and I still have flash backs, can't hear those words without an anxiety attack and had nightmares every night for a year afterwards."
Doing What Had to Be Done
"Many years back my childhood cat got dementia. Some days he was perfectly fine other days he stood in corners and peed himself all day cause he didnt know where he was or how to get out of the corner."
"After a while we gave up on hoping hed get better and the day we scheduled the appointment he had a good day and my mother couldnt bare bringing him to the vet so she asked me."
"I drove him to the vet close by and the doctor didnt care about our cat. He had to inject more of whatever they use 6 times and half way through the cat started twitching and struggling. It took ages until it was all over and i couldnt drive home afterwards."
"When i came home i pretended everything was fine and have never told anyone because it would break my familys heart even more."
A Historic Poop Incident
"When I first started dating my boyfriend, I moved in with him in another state pretty quickly like after 3-4 months."
"So one night, he was in the shower in our one bedroom one bathroom apartment and I was chillin in the living room and suddenly I had to poop SO SO BAD. Like it was go time and he was in the shower and I absolutely did NOT feel comfortable going in there and blowing up the toilet at the same time he was in the shower."
"In hindsight, I should have just run to the corner store and gone poo and come back with snacks and acted like I just wanted some munchies, but I was panicking so what did I do?"
"I grabbed two plastic grocery bags, doubled them up, took them into our walk in closet (I think I figured if he popped out of the shower in the middle of my shame at least I would be behind another door and have a minute to compose myself) and I SQUATTED AND POOPED A HUGE LOAD OF TURD INTO THESE GROCERY BAGS IN OUR CLOSET."
"I wiped with paper towels and tied up the bag and immediately went down and took out the trash."
"He will never know. No one will never know. This is my shame."
Behind the Scenes
"I have friends that have paid me to record them having sex" -- Zodima
"where to fill the application to get this job?" -- ChillaX4NothinG
"Sounds like it's just a matter of time before you are ready with your portfolio. Then you can scale to filming professional porn." -- torpidtrotter
Tough to Acknowledge
"When I was with my host family it was honestly the only year of my life I've felt like a part of a family... I miss them so much." -- VanosKickedIn
"That's really touching. Sometimes we think our family lives are normal until we experience another way. Anyhow I'm sure they miss you, too." -- monkeyhind
"About 10 yrs ago, I stole my bully's phone and threw it off a building. He still doesn't know what happened to his phone." -- scottmichael1997
"This reminds me of when I was 12 and I hid a kids bike helmet so he couldn't bike home from school since the schools policy was that all kids were to wear a helmet if they were to ride to and from school."
"I ended up fessing up to it though sadly and gave him his helmet back after a week." -- 4thabeanz
Claims to Fame
"There is a video of me being interviewed by Tulsa Channel 9 news where I'm drunk wearing a beer soaked crop top tank top Okstate shirt being asked about my opinion on beer being sold in Boone Pickens Stadium....not my finest moment." -- Cheetodude625
"Similar story! I was like 14 or 15 though (so not drunk) but was interviewed by a local Little Rock News Channel in the airport about H1N1 and I misspelled my own name I was so nervous."
"And so they didn't give me a name title on screen, but they still aired my comment and omg I couldn't even brag to my friends in high school about my 15 seconds of local fame because I was so embarrassed about it." -- Icing_on_the_Trauma
"I'm inadvertently ruining my marriage because I'm terrified I'm going to ruin it" -- jamsesmaximus
"You should definitely bring this up with your partner and talk about therapy for you! I had a tendency to do this too. You are more than deserving of a good marriage and a happy life!!" -- Senator_smelly
"This is the most wholesome comment in this thread!" -- Motor_Mountain97
"I was on a local game show and the answers to the questions were written in the back of the card. I could read every answer." -- SylkoZakurra
"What did you win?" -- BallWeird4954
"An almanac, a dictionary, and encyclopedias." -- SylkoZakurra
"Now you have more answers." -- fuidiot
Some Nether Part Free Association
"I do kegels whenever I'm waiting at a stoplight." -- hypo-osmotic
"Fun fact: when I was a young gay I thought I would have to learn kegels to keep my butthole from being too loose. Turns out if you just don't stick coke cans up your booty you'll be fine." -- edgememeston
Expressing the Id
"I look at pictures of horrific crime scenes as a way to ground myself and be thankful that I don't have to see or experience of that dark side of humanity in person."
"I don't enjoy gore at all, in fact it puts a lump in my throat everytime I see these awful images, but it makes me realize how good I have it that that's not something I have to see irl. Puts everything into perspective yknow."
"It also reminds me of how fragile the human body is, how easy it is for any of us to just be a part of an accident and before you know it, a life is gone. All those years of memories and experiences and love and loss and pain and triumph just to end up as a lifeless crumpled bag of skin, meat and bone."
"I can't share this with anyone I actually know though because everyone would look at me like I was a serial killer lmao."
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