I think a lot of us have at least two personas, maybe three.
There is the: this is who I project to parents at the bus stop or coworkers “me.”
This “me” is self-deprecating and only admits to truly egregious failures with tongue planted firmly in cheek, this “me” also never owns a triumph too proudly.
End result- hopefully the image of you is so hazy they can neither assume you are a total hack nor accuse you of arrogance.
There is the: This is who I want to be “me.”
This is the one against which (who? whom?) I measure my success or failure. You know, the completely impossible to live up to, unattainable, unremarkable (because she’s too-perfect-to-be-believed) me. The bitch about this one is that I can’t write exactly what is true, which is that she can’t ever be, and yet I still bang my head against this wall all the time.
End result- I fail. I’ve never met her, though I swear I have been hot on her trail a couple of times before falling flat on my face. Publicly.
Then there is: the “me” I share in 1-dimensional, totally open to interpretation (or more likely, misinterpretation) like Twtitter, Facebook, or even this blog.
This is the me created to wring the most from a moment or scenario. On Twitter I might use this me to make someone laugh, even if what I am saying is bent to please them. Is it a lie? No. Am I playing to that audience? You bet. I still fluctuate in followers all the time, so even pandering doesn’t make a perfectly likable profile.
As to Facebook, let’s be honest, for a lot of us Facebook has long since stopped being about friends. It might have been a spouse letting someone in you had intended to keep out and then…awkward, so you accept the friend request (please, if we are friends, don’t read too far into this) or those damned friend suggestions that you begrudgingly click because you think they are a friend request and then realize you have in fact friend requested someone you never had an interest in being friends with, online or off. Gah. Hate. Anyway, I once erred on Facebook, within less than an hour it exploded in my face. I retracted and apologized. Time and a place, my friends, time and a place. That realm has perhaps the richest potential for misinterpretation or for my intentions to get misdirected like the honey when it finally shoots out of that cantankerous old bear.
For this blog what it means is that I don’t do several things, which doesn’t mean they don’t happen, it just means I am not going to write about them here. Kind of like the George Carlin list they are:
Fights – marital
Fatigue – parental
Sex – ((blush))
BMs – anyone’s, that 1 holy diaper explosion at Crossgates being the exception 5+ yrs ago
Digs – online, I didn’t fight on the blacktop and I won’t do it from my desktop
Feuds – local or otherwise
Here is the deal, Sean and I fight. There are inequities in our relationship, I can be a nag, he can…you know how it goes.
I don’t choose to write about it here because those things are temporary and I am keenly aware of their triggers and resolutions, both of which I play a direct role in creating. I do not need to be reminded how I felt during an awful moment, I do not need for the girls to read things that weren’t permanent. I have a passionate relationship that I work at every single day of my life. I share the most joyous of those moments here as if to say, “This is why I work as hard as I do.” I am not trying to project a perfect marriage or to say that we have the equation down pat, because all those other words up there I say I won’t write about, they apply to marriage and parenting, well maybe not the sex. Sort of. Before. Awkward, never mind.
Some people do a very entertaining and well crafted job of writing about how insane life with kids can be or how volatile their marriage is and I read them because I love the way they write or the places they take me. What I endeavor to do here, sometimes less effectively than others, is to say that life, even sticky, harried and under pressure, can be beautiful. I still wake up and look at my face in the mirror and think, “Oh, could I just put a touch of fat right under my eyes, change that cowlick in my bangs, undo that thing there…” and on and on.
I am tired.
I yearn for things.
I screw up.
Despite all of that, I come here to cherish whatever bits of good I have found in my day…or week. Everyone is muddling through, each with their own set of obstacles, blessings and speeds.
I have a friend who never fails to underestimate her own brilliance. I know she’ll be reading this before long, so bear with me as I turn to face her and say, “You have what it takes. Don’t ask for what you need with an apology, don’t allow how he responds to your request to diminish how you enjoy what happens on the other side of his yes. Just last night I declared that I couldn’t enjoy my time writing if I felt everyone wasn’t happy. That was not fair. I, we, have to share what we want in clear, unapologetic voices. Backing down hurts everyone. In the end I got to write and everyone was happy, but in full disclosure honesty, it had the potential to get ugly. Sean came around out of respect for the way we work hard to get to the joyous moments. I came around because I was being unrealistic. You can and must do it and little by little, it will happen.”
I think in all the me personas that we each have, it’s tough to remember that we will never be exactly who and how we were before and who we will become is something we play an active role in creating.
I suppose today I have let all the Amandas sort of collide here in a sloppy, rambly way, but the truth is kind of sloppy. And life is imperfectly, unplannably and irresistibly beautiful. Don’t be afraid to emphasize what brings you joy, you may just find the smile sticks a bit longer.