Codename Violet


i didn’t do anything for my dad for father’s day. i know it sounds like a jerk thing especially after i made my mom a gift but he’s been such an asshole lately i can’t take it. i just avoided him.
three hours ago | anordinaryjackal | 2 comments

Violet considers what to write in response. As usual, it’s not something she understands—not something she can personally relate to. It’s easier for her to respond to something like “burned my hand because i forgot to use a potholder… yeah i’m dumb” or “stepped on my cat’s tail. am officially a bad person.” It’s harder to say something reassuring in response to something dark.

Eventually, she decides on a simple “sorry… i’m there for you if you ever need it! good luck & don’t worry, it’ll get better xo.” In the next five minutes there will be at least two responses to her comment, and one of them will likely be asking her for a popularity boost.

codenameviolet has thousands of fans.

To be fair, she doesn’t know how many. The Confessional as a website is supposed to be anonymous, so it wouldn’t make sense to have a follower system. But she knows it’s not the norm to get hundreds of comments on any given post, and she doesn’t see anyone else hitting that level with their content. It’s pretty clear she’s famous now, if only online.

i totally faked turning in a paper the other day… i told the teacher i’d already turned it in & she completely believed she’d lost it! got an automatic A. i hope i’ll never have to do it again x)
now | codenameviolet | 0 comments
(one minute ago | codenameviolet | 10 comments)
(twenty minutes ago | codenameviolet | 57 comments)
(one hour ago | codenameviolet | 102 comments)

One advantage to being popular is that it snowballs quickly. In real life, she can never talk to anybody. Online, it’s so much easier: she posts every other day, and while other people pop on once to tell a dark story and leave, her fans can count on her to be honest about herself all the time—and be their beacon of positivity in the often depressing world of The Confessional.

She goes through every single post and comments, so people know they can come to her for help. In the time she’s been on The Confessional, she’s probably had twice as many things directly confessed to her as she’s seen posted on the site. And she can always count on people who stick around to talk with her as friends.

plainjane09: hey violet! you on?

codenameviolet: here i am x)

plainjane09: whatchu doin

codenameviolet: nm… leaving comments haha

plainjane09: how long do u spend here every day??

codenameviolet: hours? idk

codenameviolet: takes work to be the queen ;^)

plainjane09: omg….. dont even

codenameviolet: did you finish your redesign?

She talks to lots of people—ge0rgewashington (based on a poster on their wall), callalily (favorite plant—nobody knows she wants to be a botanist), and goldfinch07 (one of the few people who tries to be non-anonymous—her name is Eliza, she’s a year older than Violet, and she posts photos to Instagram to go with her confessions). She would just, you know, also like to have friends in real life.

Sometimes she’s not sure what’s stopping her. She has people she knows—acquaintances, exes, cousins, parents, etc.—but she’s never been happy talking to them face-to-face, or even through a screen, for that matter. There’s something to the name she has in real life that doesn’t fit her anymore. Something about the person they think she is feels like a shirt that she’s outgrown. Playing baseball, talking ‘guy talk’… she doesn’t get any of it at all anymore.

The sunlight streams over her screen. She grumbles and pulls the curtains over the window, then goes back to scrolling.

before my girlfriend was ‘my girlfriend,’ i totally read her diary. i know i shouldn’t have, but it was always just there in her room when we hung out, and whenever she left i would look at it and see if she wrote about me and what she liked… and now we’re dating and i can’t bring myself to tell her that i used what i found out in her diary as a way to get closer.
right now | thissitesucks | 0 comments

completely faking my college transcripts 😀 my parents have NO idea. it’s not like i’m flunking out of school but i’m definitely glad to have some of the pressure off lol
fifteen seconds ago | angelickarma | 0 comments

i’m a professional hacker. people hire me to find dirt on their partners and potential hires and the like. i can find pretty much anybody in the world, and i have a lot of friends in similar places. i’m not trying to brag… all i’m saying is that if anyone wants to know why codenameviolet hasn’t done a face reveal, i can figure it out.
one minute ago | throwawaymetal | 3 comments

Violet freezes, staring at her screen. She hits the post link to go look at the comments.

| i don’t think that’s a good idea… this is an anonymous site after all. leave people alone

dancewme | i agree. just because someone is popular doesn’t excuse treating them inhumanely.

jakeblwitz417 | there’s something kind of messed up about someone being famous on a site but nobody knowing who they are. she has too much power. do it

There have been close calls before. She’s seen posts by people at her school (set off the fire alarm after smoking in the bathroom. they raided everyone’s lockers for the type of cigarettes i left behind [hey, i was panicking] and i didn’t have any others in there… don’t think they’ll ever catch me), posts by her friends (once accidentally peed on my cat… swore my friends to secrecy. ama), posts about her (my [girl]friend is really sweet and nice but i’m not attracted to [her] at all… only with [her] because [she] does my homework…), but never this.

(She broke up with the girl in question. Didn’t really feel comfortable dating anybody to begin with, and was kind of glad for an excuse… and yes, she confessed that later.)

So, she comments:

codenameviolet | op, this site is about privacy. please respect mine. i’m a person just like you! thank you 

throwawaymetal | yeah, and it’s also a site about confessions… a lot of people are curious as to why you don’t show your face, especially because you talk to a lot of us and we don’t know who you are. you have to admit that’s dangerous.

codenameviolet | the messaging system on this site was designed for support; if you don’t want to talk to someone there’s also a block function. i’m sorry people don’t like me but there’s nothing i can do about that

throwawaymetal | you seriously don’t get the problem… you’re a TOTAL STRANGER, but you have influence over all these people. ESPECIALLY kids on this site… some people are uncomfortable with that. just reveal your age at least it’s not like that’s going to pin you down. nobody knows if you’re even really a girl.

“Really a girl.” There it is. There’s what Violet’s been waiting for. She leans back in her chair and puts her hands over her eyes.

“Really a girl.”

Violet doesn’t—she doesn’t know. There’s a reason she goes by her birth name in real life, why she pretends to be the guy people want her to be in real life, a reason the name Violet is only supposed to apply to her online persona. Well, was, because things are getting complicated now.

What is ‘really a girl’? What is it? All she knows is that she spends so much time online now, breathing into the other her, trying to become the Violet that she has been for so long online. She scrolls through girls’ posts on The Confessional, watching for how they type and what they say. Her confessions are all true, but the language she sends them out in is changing.

She doesn’t know if that’s a problem. She really doesn’t know. She likes having people instant-message her with links to Instagram pages where they’ve posted drawings of her, drawings that may draw her with long hair or short hair or dark skin or light skin, but always a girl. Always a girl, and it’s so obvious to her that she doesn’t know how she can keep hiding it from everyone.

She has drafted so many confessions, and left them all in her Docs. Confessions about how she never pictures herself doing things outside the house, since she always feels funny about how she looks, and how the ‘her’ in her fantasies always turns fuzzy and fades without revealing who she wants to be. There are confessions about wanting to buy a wig, confessions about wanting to try this outfit or that one, and so many more that she’s never posted.

i’ve never actually worn a skirt lol! i know this one is silly but i think it’s a bit weird xo
three weeks ago | codenameviolet | 135 comments

(me neither i’m such a tomboy lol, neither have i… but i’m a dude, just commenting to say i love your weird funky style!!, as long as you don’t go out naked who cares what you wear, violet naked?! where??, ew…)

i have NO IDEA how to wear makeup… >u< i don’t even know the difference between concealer and highlighter!
one month ago | codenameviolet | 90 comments

(concealer is meant to hide things like acne and freckles you don’t want to show, and highlighter makes the place where light naturally hits your face brighter!! crash course XO, violet you’re so cute!! i’ll teach you anytime, omg i should totally stop wearing makeup i would save sooooo much money…)

this one’s a bit personal… i don’t shave my legs! i know lots of girls don’t, but i always feel weird about it because girls will talk about how long it takes and how hard it is, and i just don’t relate!
one year ago | codenameviolet | 99 comments

(you’re so brave violet! i don’t either but i’m scared even saying it in a comment lol, ew gross, do you not take baths either???, i wish i didn’t shave my legs :/, ughhh whenever i don’t shave i feel so gross!!, violet you’re so weird and cool <3)

On some level Violet knows she could post about it. Violet knows she could’ve opened her account with hi, i’m violet, i’m a trans girl, and people would have taken sides right then, would’ve supported her or disliked her from the start. Maybe if she’d said it to begin with—if she’d known it to begin with—it wouldn’t feel like she’s been lying all this time. But she didn’t, she didn’t, and so it does. That’s the trouble, isn’t it? That maybe it is all a lie. Maybe she only thinks she’s a girl because she’s been doing this so long.

Violet brushes her hair out of her eyes—hair getting “too long.” according to her parents, but would it kill them to let her try growing it out?—and looks back at her screen. Okay. This is happening. Finally, she is in one of those situations where she “needs to tell an adult.” She rubs her hands over her face; which adult does she tell? Who is going to understand what’s going on? Who will be able to get past the username and the face she shows to the Internet?

She breathes out a long, deep sigh. Don’t cry. Don’t cry over this. Don’t let them get to you. She’s given herself much the same speech hundreds of times before, over comments, over other threats, over the weird crap people post all over this site. 

plainjane09’s last message still shows in the bottom corner of her screen: a link to Imgur, where Violet can see a layout of a site filled with text and clean corners. Redesigning The Confessional has been a tradition since the start of the site, when even in 2010 people knew the font was ugly. There’ve been a few updates, but not many. Violet always tells people to send their ideas to her.

The screen plainjane09 wants is cleared of extra text and images. The center is just a line of confessions, with what appears to be an infinite scroll function. A line of links up top to bring up instant-messages, go to the help page, find the rules, contact the mods, make a new post, etc. Everything easy, clean, a nice layout. The only image is a red velvet curtain, edged in gold, stretching across the top of the page to drop down across the sides of the top links. plainjane09 does have a passion for including red/white/gold in her redesigns. Which makes Violet wonder:

codenameviolet: where’s the white? xo

plainjane09: oh that’s the best part lol

plainjane09: you can change it from night to day mode

codenameviolet: I LOVE IT. you have to tell the mods

Violet knows she sounds kind of silly telling anyone to speak to the mods. They’re notorious for their slow responses and complete ignorance of any request to change the site. But Violet’s been their go-to on a couple occasions for new ideas, and in the past she even got onto some teeny-tiny news site over the site’s niche success… alongside the original creators of the site, who are said to post their own confessions from time to time.

So Violet chooses the mods as her adults to talk to. She flicks open the help page, scrolls to the haven’t found your answer? contact us slot, and enters her query.

Hi, I’m Violet—you guys know I’ve garnered some attention over the years, and unfortunately right now someone is threatening to reveal some of my information. Here’s the link to the post—obviously I don’t know who’s behind it, but maybe there’s still something that can be done.

Then, she leaves her computer and goes to do something else. She reads, cleans her room, tosses a small rubber ball against the wall… The computer falls asleep behind her, left inactive for too long, and by the time she comes back to it, feeling brave enough to slide her cursor back to the tab, it’s all over.

Hello Violet,

As you know, we take privacy and safety very seriously on our site. The user’s IP address has been banned and we have removed the post. We will keep watching to see if anything else happens.

Thank you for contacting us,
The team here at The Confessional

Violet sighs and leans back in her chair. So, that’s that. She pushes away the meddling thoughts that tell her the person responsible can just make a new account at a library computer, or use their phone, or try a million other things to get through. She tries to forget about the people who have already seen the post—and the comments on it—the people who are already wondering.

She gets up from her chair and spins it so it’s facing away from her.

She doesn’t owe these people anything, right? This is the Internet. She can do what she wants—she can close this all down and go make some real friends outside.

Violet looks out her window, where some of the kids in the neighborhood are kicking a ball around. Oh, hi, I’m a girl! I just don’t look like what you think a girl looks like. Let’s all play a game of entirely nonpolitical catch!

She groans and turns back to the computer. 

Okay, so she doesn’t owe these people anything. That much is true. She’s never shown her face, never revealed her age, never told anyone where she lives. Even now, she doesn’t really plan to. There are some secrets that stay secrets, no matter what.

But there are other secrets that shouldn’t. Violet wipes her eyes and sits back down. She navigates back to her draft Doc, but doesn’t change anything. She just looks at it for a while. Then she goes back to The Confessional, hits the new post button, and starts to type.

hi, guys. so… you all know me as violet. people who talk to me on IMs know i like to play monopoly, i’m on my school’s baseball team, and i love flowers (see my username). but i have another secret…

About the author…

yves. is bisexual, attractive, non-human, confused, and brown-haired, in that order. after that, yves. is a prolific writer and an avid cat-owner, again in that order, and after that, yves. is pronounced ‘yves dot’ and consistently written in lowercase. if you’re still here after all that, they’ve also written one book: Something’s Not Right

Medium: @yvesdot
Twitter: @yvesdot