Hello, my name is not Judy Black.

I know, shocking, right? Yes, I go by Judy Black online, and I do clearly state on my about me page that it is not my name. So what is my name? Well first, why in the world am I not using my real name?

Plain and simple: paranoia. I’ve had several frightening experiences with creepers on the web and am rather skittish about people knowing my name after these events. Nowadays it seems everyone has a ‘creepy person on the internet’ story so I’m not an anomaly, and there are people out there with stories much worse than mine. But to be honest, I’m still petrified of showing myself to this bare computer screen and the world inside it. I want to trust the strangers on the interweb but it’s not always safe and after a couple of bad experiences I actually totally retreated from online social media. I’ve only recently returned and then it was only with a name I could hide behind. Judy Black.

 

In high-school I had a friend that I knew liked me but I was never interested in. I came to find out this friend had an entire blog devoted to the things this person wanted to do to me if they ever got me alone. It was pages, and pages and pages dating back over a year.

In college I had strange men find me online after seeing a play I was in and sending me messages telling me I was the most beautiful creature they had ever seen and they wanted to collect me.

The incident that shook me the most and that made me retreat from social media was my junior year of college. I worked as an RA in college and suddenly received an e-mail from an incoming female student who just wanted some advice for adjusting to college life. I was excited to help her out but the more she and I e-mailed back and forth the stranger she seemed. Not that she seemed like an awkward person, but that the words didn’t match who she was claiming to be.

It was the first day of spring break when I opened my e-mail to see this incoming freshmen confess to being a man that had seen my profile online and he had decided we were soul-mates. He’d done some digging and found out my school and my job, with that he’d been able to get my e-mail (which contained my full name) as well as the building I worked and lived in and even my room number.

I spent the rest of that day curled up in a panic. I called my boss in tears, in a total panic. I spent most of the next day on the phone with campus police (I was off campus ‘enjoying’ spring break) trying to figure out what to do. The police wanted to move me, but for my job that was incredibly difficult. Eventually I e-mailed back and told him I had contacted the police and to never talk to me again. The police in his hometown found him and told him the same.

After that I stepped back from the internet. I got rid of almost all of my online profiles. I set my privacy so that no one could find me on sites like facebook. I don’t friend people I haven’t met in person. I don’t give out my phone number. I have  4 or 5 e-mail addresses that I send out e-mails from and I switch between them frequently. I’ll disappear from the online world for a few days every now and then when the panic gets too great.

Just writing about this, thinking about it again has me physically sick to my stomach. I’m shaking as I type this and I can’t escape feeling like I’m exposing myself and just waiting for the next betrayal.

The last man I wrote about hasn’t contacted me since then, but every time I send an e-mail I think about him. I wonder if the person I’m e-mailing is really who they say they are. How do I know? I don’t think I will ever be able to get past the way my heart stops and my body fills with aching panic every time I get an e-mail from a stranger, every time I send an e-mail, every single time someone on twitter says hello, every time someone sends me an instant message. Every single damn time my heart forgets everything but sheer panic and terror that someone I don’t know has found me.

But here I am, ready to put myself out there again. Am I an idiot? A masochist? Maybe. But I want to trust people again. I know there are many of you who read this who already know my name and I appreciate you keeping it to yourself. It’s not a deep dark secret but it is something I hold dear.

So, at long last dear blog readers, my name is Andrea Judy (though I mainly go by Andi) not Judy Black. Judy Black Cloud is a long running joke because I have such bad/odd luck that my friends believe a black cloud follows me around, the Judy black cloud. The name stuck and eventually made its way to becoming my blog.

Everything else is me. The writing is me, the words are mine, but now, my name is yours, please handle it with care.

 

 

 

 

And on that note, I have a new poem out (under my real name) published from Ascent Aspirations.

You can read it here

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16 Comments »

  1. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to face your fear and be seen as who you really are. And it takes wisdom and insight to know when to protect yourself.

    I admire you and wish the best for you, whatever name you choose to use. It’s all you. In many cultures, the name defines who you are and so is changed at various significant rites of passage in life, as they change.

    It seems relevant that as we shift, change, grow, become something new, we would then change the words we use to identify ourselves.

    I’ve not had the experiences you’ve had, but I am considering a name change. Who I was and who I am are now so different that it might become meaningful for me to have a new name for this new me. I don’t know yet.

    So thank you Andrea Judy Black Cloud. Your name is safe with me.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thank you Kimberly. I love the culture of changing your names to symbolize a new birth, I think it’s incredibly powerful. Ironically for me, it has turned into a reclaiming of my own name to signify my own new beginning. I think that it’s all about what feels right for you, new name or not, knowing you’re a new person is a wonderful feeling.

      And thanks for commenting. I often read your blog but I rarely comment (a bad habit I’m trying to break) and it makes me happy to see your name over on my own blog. Thanks for being such an awesome, strong woman and sharing your own trials. ❤

      • Laura Said:

        How different cultures look at names is interesting. My friend does summer work w/ kids at a Native American reservation and she was talking about how they would tell her a different name for themselves every day until they got to know her. It was also a cultural thing not to show emotion to strangers, but again once they got to know her they were more open.

      • I too have a bad habit of reading blogs (yours included) and not leaving comments. We can break this together 😉 And thank you for following my work, that means a lot to me!

  2. Wow… just… wow.

    I don’t know where to start. I was wondering about the announcement you were going to make today when you mentioned it on Twitter, but this was definitely not what I expected.

    I know quite a few people who use pen names to avoid “creepy persons on the internet”, but usually as a precaution. Having a fully-fledged stalker is quite another thing indeed, and I completely understand you being a little paranoid after that. I’m glad it’s over to say the least.

    That said, whether or not your name was your real name was never an issue for me. I have enjoyed reading this blog without knowing it, and knowing it won’t change that.

    And I swear, I’m totally not one of those “creepy persons on the internet”. I’m just a fellow writer who likes to drop by and sometimes comments on funny situations regarding office attire.

    So, Andi, Judy, whichever you prefer, keep on blogging, and I’ll keep on reading.

    • Judy Black Said:

      I’m glad to know that my name was never an issue for you. I never thought it was, but since I do publish under my real name I felt so seperated and distant from this blog still. I wanted to be able to share my name and open myself up a little more. I enjoy your comments and am glad that you’re going to keep on reading! ❤

  3. Eric Said:

    I’ll stick with Judy. 🙂

    Don’t let the creepy ones dissuade you from being you.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Aw thanks! I’m not going to let the creepers keep me down anymore!

  4. thegreatgonzo26 Said:

    You gets a like and a five start rating for being awesome. ❤

  5. Kate Said:

    Egad, how terrifying a set of experiences!

    Personally, I’m still a little scared that my very own, very real name is becoming more public. I’ve always jealously guarded my privacy, online and off, and I’ve been told that it’s more than a little hard to track me down online…or at least it was, before I opened the company. Now, my name is very much out there and attached to what I do, and my contact information is much more public. Yes, I still keep 3-4 personal emails that are not attached to my real name, but there are now ways to find and contact me. Easily. I”m not sure I like that.

    But it’s what has to be done for the company, I guess, so I’d best get used to it.

    Goodonyer for reconciling the urge for privacy and containment with getting your name and your work out there.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Yeah it is a challenge to want/need your name to be known for writing or business and still maintaining your own privacy. It seems harder and harder to do that nowadays.

  6. randallweiss Said:

    That’s a difficult situation that my gender doesn’t have to face nearly as much. I’ve had a few ex-girlfriends try to persuade me, via Facebook, to leave my wife, but that pales in comparison to what you’ve been through. I appreciate that you’ve reached a point of renewed courage and a chance for rebirth. May the wind be always at your back.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Yeah, I think men don’t get it nearl as much (though it does happen). I hope the wind is always (or at least mostly) at my back and that things continue going forward and doing well.

  7. Laura Said:

    I’ve never had internet stalkers, probably thanks to my dad’s paranoia about my family’s internet usage, but I’ve had a few creepers creep on/stalk me in real life. :/ I’m sorry that you had to go through all that. Have you ever tried taking self-defense classes? My friend seems to attract stalkers, internet and otherwise, but she has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do so I guess it doesn’t really scare her, lol….

    • Judy Black Said:

      Oh yeah, I’ve taken self-defense and am somewhat confident that I could (maybe) defend myself. I’ve had several real-life no internet related creepers as well which I try to forget about.


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