Something that came up in a recent comment section got me thinking about how much we show of ourselves on our blogs. I try to be honest about what I’m feeling because I blog for personal enjoyment and socializing. All of us only reveal a slice of who we are which we gradually shape into a certain persona. There’s only so much time in a day so we have to limit the details we share. Depending on our selection, we reveal more or less in the same amount of words as someone else.
Imagine a dark room. We can go around with a flashlight and shine it on this chair or that table, and all you’ll see is the chair or the table. But both of them coexist in the same larger room. And there’s other stuff in the room. Embarrassing stuff. Or worse: creepy stuff. A blogger who wants people to get to know them will choose the piece of furniture that is most representative of who they are, or at least who they want you to see.
When I say, for example, that I blog to socialize, I might tell you that I do this because I’m lonely and have no friends in order to paint a picture in your head of a certain sort of individual. But it’s really only a half-truth; I’m not completely alone, I have a fiance, and family, and even people from work that I talk to on the–gasp–phone. But am I a big social butterfly in real life? No. Do I want to be? No. I can be both depressed at the general loneliness of life that all of us go through, because at a certain level, we’re all of us alone, and yet at the same time not want to be an extrovert even if given the opportunity. There’s no either/or in this case.
So depending on my mood, I might try to convince you I’m just a lonely retail worker dork holed up in her room with her stuffed animals, or an embittered ex-graduate student who’s given up on playing the game of life because she’s gotten burned by the shallowness of most people she’s encountered in real life. But they’re both true, in a sense. Right after I’m done bemoaning the meaningless of life and how I’m ready to end it all if only I had the courage, I’ll get dressed and go to church and hang out afterwards with a recovering drug addict because I believe that while there’s life there’s hope. I’m a devout Catholic who owns every one of Nietzsche’s works.
Why waste so much time introspecting when I could be, I dunno, trying to get a career and $$$ instead of languishing in a department store office taking it up the ass from my boss all day long? Because first of all, I selfishly enjoy it. (The introspection, not the other part.) I love the working of the mind; and maybe I ought not to call it selfish because I enjoy reading the same sort of thing from other people as well. I love when commenters tell me something about themselves, just as though we were all hanging out, eating Doritos and bitching about our lives. I try to stave off the impression that I’m attempting to elicit sympathy because I’m not. That of course is not to say that I don’t appreciate every sincere, kind word I receive. Indeed, those comments have buoyed me up on many a crappy day. I have been blessed with so much encouragement. But my primary purpose is not to collect sympathy cards.
While of course I was a straight-A student in college (ego demands I say so, just for the hilarious contrast between that and what I am now), I never wrote better papers than when I studied existentialism. I thought, this is the life I want, to sit and think and write about the living of life itself. Why get involved in the rat-race when I could be pondering the meaning of life all day? I can be authentic–I can be real–I can make myself and my life whatever I want it to be. Oh, how I looked down on those business majors. Well, looking at my student loan balance, I don’t feel so superior now. And yet, I still don’t wish I studied business. I’d rather do the bare minimum and save the rest of my time to do what I want, aka nothing.
Blogging on the Internet, while impersonal in many ways, can yet be intensely personal because we can skip all the formalities we must pass through in real life. I can’t tell my coworkers I was a bully in school and I hate myself every day even now for it, but I can tell you with little build up to it.
And half the time–no, almost all of it–in real life, people don’t get it. Or they don’t get me, at least. If they’re smart enough to grasp anything about me at all, they’re merely amused by my mixture of airheaded sweetness dripping with bitter sarcasm. The rarest, most astute ones see the real me, which makes me feel a little helpless, but I’ll leave that identity open for interpretation.
I am insecure.
I am arrogant.
I make no sense.
I am nuts.