In 2008, I had just begun my senior year of high school, when I created my blog “Africa Bound Chick”. This was long before the era of everyone and their grandmother being bloggers. I didn’t know what would come of it, I just knew that my life was very interesting and I wanted to journal my daily crazy mishaps so that I wouldn’t ever forget.
If you have followed me on social media since then, chances are you’ve been a first hand witness to the crazy ordeals I go through…from car fires and car crashes, to stalkers and pranks, detainment and interrogations, encounters with stars and criminals, and much, much more.
As time went on I began to see how each event was a little part of me, and slowly shaping my future.Thus I appropriately renamed the blog “Becoming Anna”. I journaled through my crazy life as a community college student in Oregon, on to moving to Oklahoma for university. Readers saw me through my years working in mental health, and traveling through the entire United States, and off to Africa, then Asia.
My life unfolded online as I built and achieved my goals and dreams, and I wrote often when wild things happened in between. But it all came to a sudden stop almost a year ago. It all ended almost as soon as the words were written, “I’m starting my new job as a child welfare worker!”
With those words I seemingly vanished. What happened you may wonder? Did my life suddenly become uneventful? H-E-Double hockey sticks no! The real reason is a crazy story in itself, and as I make my reappearance to the blogging world, I’m going to dedicate my first post to that story…
For a long time I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author. The last few years I’ve worked on building my following on social media in hopes of one day being a public figure type. When I began working for the state, I learned first hand what being a public figure can entail. The biggest part of it being, “Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you.”
You ever watch those Law&Order type shows where a witness gets in the stand and the attorney breaks out with some shocking facts about the witness to discredit them? Well, it really happens. In fact attorneys for parents in family court sometimes have an entire line of teens and college students on staff specifically to search out dirt online about the caseworkers in effort to muddy the water and discredit integrity of the caseworkers’ professional opinion on the best interest of the child.
Not only in court will ones words come to haunt them. Parents are always trying to find a reason they don’t have to follow their treatment plan, including looking caseworkers up online to find things to use against them.
“How dare you tell me that I have to attend AA when I saw pictures of you wasted just last weekend!”
“Don’t tell me that I have to work on my domestically violent relationship when I know you and your boyfriend fight like cats and dogs. You said so in that comment you made in that group last week.”
“Why are you telling me I need to have parenting classes when you just said last night that your three year old spilled flour all over the kitchen while you were in the other room?!”
Being a public figure means being under constant scrutiny. Even the tiniest slip up can turn into something huge when people find a way to use it against you.
It hasn’t happened to me personally yet, but I know people who’ve had it happen. And as I heard story after story I began to realize just how careful I had to be. Being a member of an online group rallying support for the legalization of marijuana could ruin my ability to work with a client at risk of losing their kid because of their marijuana use. I am for legalizing marijuana, yes…but that does not mean I am ok with you being high as a kite, throwing knives around the house and lighting stuff on fire, while you are the only adult in the house caring for small children. But once a client finds that small tid bit of information about me, there will be nothing I can say or do to convince them that they need to quit, “cause you said yourself it should be legal!”
So much has happened in the past year; some funny, some sad, some scary. But any and all of it could be used against me if anyone in the public ever found out.
And so, I had to vanish. No more blogging. A lot of the posts I had published, I went in and deleted. I completely locked down the privacy settings on Facebook, changed the name I went by, and listed myself as a waitress living in Oregon having never gone to college.
Why am I now back? Because I’m leaving the mad world of child welfare!
It’s been 4 &1/2 years since I’ve moved from Oregon to Oklahoma. That’s about 3 years too long I’ve lived here. Now I’m moving on. In 2015 I first visited New Hampshire and I knew then I’d have to come back some day. My 2nd time there I knew I had to live there someday. My 3rd time back was for a job interview. As I start this new adventure in my life, I return to sharing my wild adventures with you. Why 503 to 603? Well, I chose that simply because I thought it was funny that I come from the Oregon area code 503, and I’m headed for the New Hampshire area code 603. 3,000 miles apart and only a digit different. Here’s to all that’s ahead…cheers!
**please note that the all of scenarios I wrote of were fictional examples of what is a very true reality. No real cases or statements were used as to respect confidentiality laws.**