I'm an extrovert. This probably isn't that big of a surprise to most of you. I love people. I love talking to them, listening to their stories, spending time with them. And yes, I do get horribly awkward when I meet new people, but it doesn't mean I don't like doing it. I'm just awkward about it.
I did this reading on Friday night with my friend Holly. It was actually a lot of fun and because the space wasn't huge, I was less nervous and didn't feel as shaky as the time I did it for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And I met new people and was awkward but it was still really fun.
Surprisingly, a high school friend I hadn't seen in almost twenty years (eep) showed up. I got the update on his life and he said to me, "I guess I don't really need your update because I feel like I know everything about you because of your blog and Facebook."
Which was sort of weird to hear. Can the past twenty years of my life really be encapsulated by what I've blogged or status updated in the past 18 months? Or does all that growth not matter and what he was really trying to say is that he knows the person that I am now because of these things? Is how I got to this space even relevant? And more importantly, am I one of THOSE people who overshare and plaster the minutiae of my life online?
I've had a really positive experience with blogging and meeting other writers online. And I think that whether it is said directly to us or not, as writers, we are now RESPONSIBLE for building an online platform. Which gets me to the juggling act of what exactly to put online. Sometimes I read posts that are so thoughtful and heartfelt and important that I think it is good to be true and vulnerable online. It is helpful to other writers and honestly, sometimes it is what gets me through hard spots in the process. This is demonstrated beautifully time and again by Nova Ren Suma and Sara Zarr.
But is being truthful and having an online identity sometimes pushing us into the world of oversharing? Are we allowed to talk about embarrassing moments, foibles, vulnerabilities, etc? And are those the things we're being judged on in real life?
I'm an extrovert. And somehow, I ended up working in an industry that is very isolating. I write. I edit. These things don't involve a lot of human interaction. So much of my interaction these days is online.
Add to that the fact that I mostly don't write from a "happy place." It's why all my teenage journals were so depressing. Yes, I was a depressed teen, but also, it's not like I spent a lot of time journaling when I was having the best time ever hanging out with my friends at Six Flags. This still holds true. I write at 5am every day when it's quiet and I have time to think and when all the hard things are crawling around in my head after failing to work themselves out in my dreams.
So can the last twenty years of my life be summed up by 18 months of blogging and status updates? Not anymore than my teen years can be summed up in the books that I write. These are pieces of me. True and real pieces of me, but still pieces all the same.