The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Are You?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

This is the first of a series of post in which I am diving into some deep. personal stuff. So, if you don't want to read my whinning and bitching, move along.

I have been quite grouchy for the past couple of days. I finally pinpointed what is the reason for my state of cranks. I think it can be summed up in just a life crisis of crapola. I don't want to call it a "mid life" crisis, because I think regardless of one's age, one deals with many of these things. I also find the term rather cliche; an excuse to do strange and/or stupid things in a quest to relive the past.

No, my issues are not like that.

So, here is my first load of crapola.

I have this love/hate relationship with Facebook. In the beginning, it was great. My of my fellow academic bloggers are there, chatting away. This is nice because it's almost a give and take conversation in as close to real time as possible. I've connected with people and old friends that I have not heard from in years. People whose friendships I miss. Friendships that for whatever reason, died a slow death.

But, what I have begun to hate about FB is that I am at a crossroads as to the person I was 20+ years ago and the person I am now. See, I am not the same girl that grew up in Redneckville. I am not the quiet, awkward girl with the unruly hair who was often the subject of ridicule. I am reminded of that girl when I am on FB when I interact with those people who knew me then. Contrast that to the person I am since I moved to Lake Effect Snow Central through today. I became the Beautiful Swan. I am confident, smart and have my hair under control. Those who know me now see that person. Even a couple of folks are shocked when I tell them about how difficult grow up was for me. The people I know now IRL and in the bloggy world see me and accept me. I feel I can be real.

What this conflict has done has made me censor who I am. I don't feel as open as I do blogging. I often question things that I post, because now there is a real name with a real face. Blogging gives you the choice to be anonymous. Most of us only know each other by our secret identity (although I do know a few of you off-blog and at least one of you IRL).

It all goes back to this whole acceptance thing. I feel "accepted" by those I know in the blog world as opposed to those who know me from way back when who interact with me on FB. No doubt, I am making some assumptions about the people from my past. I mean, I am "assuming" that they see me as I used to be. It is possible that some of them have the same issues/concerns that I do. Perhaps they too feel trapped by some persona that no longer fits. But, I am having troucle reconciling the lives of Seeking Solace. Burying the past one, once and for all, and continue to live the current one.

I have been guilty of the crime of all-or-nothing behavior in the past. Normally, I would just walk away from something like FB, never to return. But this time, I want to work through this. So, I am not going to abandon FB, but I don't think I will be posting much there for a while. At least until I safe in my own skin.

More issues of crapola to come...


rented life said...

Another reason not to say "mid-life crisis" is it implies you are already halfway done with your life--kind of morbid.

I know what you mean in this post. For me it was solidifies when I went to my high school reunion and saw that these people DID indeed see me the same way. I'm also friend with a few former students-something I promised them if I ever left. But do they need to know my religious beliefs (considering how super religious they are).

I censor myself a lot--in all forums. I never feel like I'm completely wholly ME. Some of it is acceptance and some of it is it's just easier not to deal with the conflict.

My mom once said that we are different selves with different people. I still think that's true. It's not always a bad thing-esp online where life is fragmented and often not made of solid connections.

Anyway, rambling. Thank you for your post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

you know I'm ready for the whining and bitching. bring. it. on.

as for this...a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with facebook, i think. It makes sense. I don't feel so awkward about my past self vs. my present self. most people in hs and college didn't really know me and probably didn't feel like they knew me. I was a surly enigma.

what I do feel a little awkward about is confident, self-possessed Anastasia who says what she wants and doesn't worry about it vs. the [real name] who worries a lot that people think she thinks too much of herself. mostly it's ppl I know casually from grad school that I worry about. Do they think I'm posting too much, that I'm self-absorbed blah blah whatever.

the really weird bit is that I used to worry about that with my blog--do I post too much, do people think I'm self-involved. And I don't anymore.'

anyway, general point is I hear what you're saying. FB is weird social space and complicated to navigate in a really different way from blogs.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with rented life (and her mom!) that it is not always a bad thing to be different things with different people, especially online.

rented life said...

btw that song is officially in my head..."I really wanna know...whoo-whoo"

chel said...

OMG I just want you to know that I posted an entire entry about hair before I read this. Back to reading.

chel said...

Well, you know what my history has been on this issue. I think your current plan sounds fine.

I told Brit tonight that I was concerned he might be having a mid-life crisis. It's not the run off with a hot chick and drive a fast car kind - it's the more existential what have I done with my life so far now that it's half over kind.

Then I asked, "Am I projecting," and he said, "I think you are."

We took an anxiety quiz together in some book he's reading. I apparently worry more about death than he does. (No surprise.)

Rebecca said...

Living well is the best revenge.

If there are people who gave you a tough time growing up who have access to the info on your FB account, make sure they know you hit the jackpot. Great marriage, great career and having a really nice life, thank you very much.

It's true that sometimes it is just easier to censor ourselves, so just continue doing that whenever you feel the need. We all do it, it's not at all abnormal.

BUT, don't you have photos up there for everyone to see how well you have your hair under control now? And, hey, you passed the freaking bar! If people from your past don't get a clue from what's up there, that is so not your problem.

You are a smart, successful, self-aware woman. Let'em get used to it.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I started self-censoring too, and then I figured out how to change settings for individual people so that the people I went to high school can't see my status updates anymore. That was awesome. Then a bunch of family members joined and I started self-censoring all over again... sigh...

RageyOne said...

I feel your quandary about the comfort of posting X, Y, or Z on Facebook. It is very open and easily subjected to interpretation, as is anything.

There have been times when I've written something in my status update only to 2nd guess whether I should hit publish. Sometimes I published and sometimes I didn't. Basically, my litmus test is whether what I posted would past muster if some HR person were to see my FB page. I do have my privacy settings pretty strict, but one never knows.

I think we all censor ourselves to an extent, but why is that necessary? As adults, we should recognize that everyone is not of the same thinking and that's okay. But of course, I know that not all adults feel that way (i.e., the protests at all of the health care forums - those adults were out of control!).

Why is it so hard to agree to disagree? And still remain cordial...

Seeking Solace said...

Wow! Thanks everyone for your input! I am so happy to read that all of you feel the same way.

RL: Your mom's advice is awesome. I'll have to file that away. And, I was listening to the Who when I wrote this post!!

Anastasia: I think you and I have the exact same personality. :) There's the confident, kick-ass SS and the insecure, people pleasing real me. There is also the confident, kick ass me that I show in the classroom and in the courtroom somewhere in the mix.

Chel: I am so glad you are blogging again! And, I get the whole anxiety thing too. Been battling it for years.

Rebecca: You are so kind!!!

Brazen: One of my biggest fears is family on FB. My cousin in one of my friends, but she is cool. But, my brother's baby's mama is on FB and she tends to report things back to my mom. Even if I block updates, it would be an issue. Sigh...indeed.

Ragey: Exactly. Why can't we just "be"?

TiredProf said...

I'm a little late getting here, I see, but will chime in with some support, as well. I very much like the "different selves with different people" notion, maybe because I do that myself. I don't have any problems separating my "freer, blogging and Twittering self" from the FB persona.

In the latter, I have current and former students (I choose to do this), colleagues, and friends from now and way back, so I'm always more circumspect about what I say. In the former, I feel more free to say what I really think and truly enjoy the interaction with those who comment and discuss.

At this point in my life, I'm very different from the way I was years ago, but still no one from my childhood is surprised to hear what I do for a living. I've never been to a high school reunion, but am in contact with some folks through FB and am enjoying getting to know them again--they've changed, too, and I find myself having to stop myself from making about their lives based on "back in the day," too.

As for the "mid-life crisis": I'm into at least the 15th year of mine and am surviving somehow, though there are plenty of days I want to stay in bed. I've found that exercise, a sense of humor, wine and chocolate help a lot, as do my blogging/Twittering friends!

MissDazey said...

I am in my 60's and still deal with the same questions and issues discussed here. They seem to change depending on what challenges, crisis, or joy I am having at the moment. But generally theme is always, "who am I", or "will the real MissDazey stand up?"

As for people in the past, if they didn't like me then, they wouldn't like me now..nor I them.

Quick comment about Facebook. I joined because too many people post pictures only there. I don't like it at all. Figured I lived 67 years without it, can another 30 or so.

Seeking Solace said...

TiredProf: I like your remedy. I do all of that, except for the wine. (Damn, RA drugs!)

MissDazey: My mom is 69 and says the same thing. She has no use for Facebook.

BrightStar (B*) said...

I'm glad that there are some people that you know accept you as you are.

I have opened up Facebook to include friends that are work colleagues and doctoral students. Now I really do feel like I have to censor myself more, so I know a bit about what you mean.

Rebecca said...

No, I'm NOT being kind. It's the truth. No one familiar with your accomplishments can deny that you're smart. You are obviously successful, and the most recent proof is the job you just landed. How long have you been married? And you're always saying what a great guy he is.

These things are facts. And if they aren't obvious from what you've got on FB, then they should be. After that, what you post on there should be no surprise to anyone, barring the previously discussed censoring that we all do.

But as far as anyone thinking that you are the same as you were before you transformed into the excellent professional with great hair, well, it's not your fault if they can't see the facts in front of their eyes.

Also, you want to make sure that the perception problem actually exists. Are you sure they aren't all going around saying, "Dude, remember that awkward chick at school? She's a lawyer now!" "I know, and did you see her hair? Wow."

Seriously, you never know, right?