Today, a good friend told me that I am nothing like my blog in real life. Which means that I am not all doom and gloom and sadness when I meet up with friends.
This doesn’t mean that I’m two-faced or fake. It simply means that I relate differently to real life people than I do to my computer screen. When I’m with friends, I am the social me. I participate in conversation, I share stories, I nod, I empathise. I don’t often talk about myself and very rarely about the ugly parts of my life. I save all that for you, dear internet. I’m not one to whinge to friends about how my kids are misbehaving, or how sad and lonely I’m feeling, I prefer to leave that here on the blog, or on my Facebook page.
I wonder why that is?
It’s not even that I consciously want to project a different image in real life. I simply don’t feel the need to tell others about the darkness, mostly because the darkness is not there when I’m with people. I function much better when I have regular social interactions, particularly when these are meaningful.
This is does not always mean that I need to be with my close friends, talking about our lives and making plans, although that is very nice. Work interactions, when meaningful, also give me that mental health fix.
I have recently been working with local businesses, mentoring them in social media and web content. I find this work very rewarding in terms of feeling useful and having that meaningful social contact, where I can connect with someone on a specific, common to us, topic.
The situation is very different when I have to attend networking events, conferences or seminars where I don’t really know anyone and where my purpose is more generic. Talking about myself for the sake of talking about myself is quite alien to me and always feels fake. Making small talk is exhausting and going to these events always leaves me “peopled out”, in need of solitude and quiet and often in a worse mood than I would be in had I stayed home alone.
The lesson from this story is that what you read here is the deeper, darker me, the me that lives in my head and on the computer screen. She is sad, lonely, depressed and often anxious. She worries constantly about the future and money and her parenting. She thinks she’s not good enough and doesn’t know how to live her life fully. She feels more comfortable talking to you than to her therapist. You probably wouldn’t meet her in real life, not even if you knew the social me really well.
I’ve always maintained that my blog has kept me sane. I guess it still does.
Do you have different personas for different situations?