3/26/10

Who am I?

Recently, I've seen a couple of people address this question: Am I showing the real me in my blog? First, Ms P did it here, then a very Sarcastic Quilter did it. And, it's been on my mind since.

My initial thought was No. I don't show the real me in blogland and you're all welcome. But that implies that I'm some kind of a bad person in real life and a good person on the blog. That's not true. I'm a good person on both, I just come across as happier in blogland than I do in real life. I mean, I really want to scrub my bad moods out of my blog. I wouldn't want to be photographed looking bad. And, I don't want to blog looking bad. But, more importantly, as I write something for you all to read, I get over myself and end up in a happier mood. Believe me, any time I spend working on my blog at the office is worth gold to my boss in increased productivity. Because writing about what's going on and getting it to sound positive and getting it in perspective with my whole life and the subsequent mood change that I experience means I can accomplish a lot more in my day than just feeling sorry for myself and/or grumpy all day.

But, that's only half of it. I'm going to use this week in contrast to a very similar week last year to explain what I mean.

I am incredibly shy. I blush, I stammer, I stutter, I say UM (a lot), and I cut myself short. I don't talk to strangers. I constantly worry that I'm going to say the wrong thing, so I say nothing. I don't look strangers in the eye. I don't smile in unfamiliar situations. I know where that came from and had just accepted it as the way I am. So, last year when I went to IN for meetings to introduce our new product, I didn't talk to any of the customers. I didn't man the information booths. I didn't smile at anyone. I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall. Or, I involved myself in daily conference calls to make sure I'd have something else to do and wouldn't have to talk. Out of the way. Silent. I didn't do stuff with the company reps at night; just the obligatory dinner. At dinner, I just sat and smiled and listened. And I'm at least as ashamed of that fear as I would be about anything wrong I might ever have said.

Then, I really got into my blogging. And, I found out two things about myself. Number one, I do have things to say. And, when I speak about things I know about, I come across as an expert. Authoritative. Trustworthy. Friendly. And, number two, people want to read it. Sometimes I don't know why, but you guys keep coming back and you keep having feedback and we keep having discussions and people ask me for suggestions, as if I knew what I was talking about. And, after 11 years of quilting, I guess I at least know what not to do and am glad to share it. And, you're interested in hearing about my experiences in life, other than quilting. Go figure.

So, let's contrast last year and this year's meetings. Same meeting. Different me. This year, I had dinner with the company reps every night. And, I talked at those dinners instead of just sitting silently. I talked about personal stuff as much as I did about work stuff. And, when the lady asked about my wife, I corrected her and said husband and then answered her question. No big deal and I don't even think I embarassed her. I volunteered to work the registration table, which meant smiling and talking to everyone that came up, and I felt comfortable with that because I had something to talk to them about; nametags and beverage stations and raffle tickets. Then, I went into the meetings and when reps asked questions that my boss didn't know, I answered...the second day into a microphone! I don't know that I've ever spoken into a microphone before. And every day, during lunch, I fixed my plate and sat at a table of strangers and talked about the new product, and answered questions, and made polite small talk. Things I could not have done a year ago.

So, every one of you that's ever sent me a word of encouragement or asked me what I think or said that you like what I have to say, you take your right hand and reach over your left shoulder and you pat yourself on the back, because you were a huge part of my current success and the really big and substantial feeling I have in my heart today. (If you didn't actually pat yourself on the back, do it now. You're alone at your computer and nobody can see you. And, if they do, tell them it's because somebody thinks you're special and stick your tongue out at 'em.)

Back to the question of whether I am who I present in blogland? Last week I would have said no. I'm better in blogland; more myself, more who I want to be. But, this week? I'm thinking I might be about the same in both. At least I'm closer. I'm going to need practice. I'm going to have to keep trying. I'm going to have to find opportunities. But today, I'm going to live on the high of being outgoing for the last 3 days. I'm going to keep smiling.

You too?

Lane

21 comments:

lesthook said...

The strange thing about blogland is that I am very proud of you! Really! No I don't know you personally but I read your posts and know a little about your life and feel like you are a friend. Now pat yourself on the back!

Susan said...

Congratulations! I'm glad you are getting comfortable sharing yourself with the world. You seem to be an interesting and engaging guy with lots to contribute. I'm glad you got the opportunity to do it.

ShelleyK said...

I knew you came back and looked like you had a vacation - it's because you enjoyed this trip (with working coffee pots this time, I hope). Standing on the wall with your arms crossed not saying anything is the curse of being an introvert. I deal with it by moving around so much. The more new people I meet, the easier it is.

Piece by Piece said...

Blogland is a strange place, I see a photo of a "friend" and have a mental picture of their personality, their family and life in general. Sometimes I am wrong, however, my "picture" of you, is the "this year" you, I would have never guessed that you were any different a year ago.
When I was younger I was the blusher, and a very shy person, high school were the worst years of my life. After having my family the best thing that I ever did was to go to work in an office. I had to talk to people, after awhile it became easier, received promotions and eventually had a great job. I even joined a theatre group and acted on stage, which I never expected that I would ever be able to do. I did pat myself on the back and I you should too.
Patricia.

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

I love that you have this new confidence in yourself.

You ARE a wonderful person, with a lot of great things to say. I was surprised when you mentioned you were shy a couple of weeks ago in one of your posts because to me you appear to be so confident in your posts, with your parenting decisions, with your quilting, in your relationship. I look at you and think "This guy has it all together!"

I think life is about pushing ourselves sometimes to do things we aren't comfortable with so we can grow , or even just say we did it. And lots of the time it ends up so much better than we thought it would.

Lane, thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

Elizabeth said...

Lane, this is a very interesting post and made me stop and think. I've only been blogging for three months and I love it. It is very therapeutic. In reading through your post, I've come to the conclusion that I can be more myself in blogland. I'm really shy too. In blogland, I have a little more courage to make a joke or use my 'fancy vocabulary.' Blogging is a good thing.

I like your narrative. You blog is a nice read. I enjoy some of the things you do - quilting and gardening, so it is fun to compare note.

Hope you are having a nice day.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

lane.
a moving and heartfelt blog.....

a nice read
johnx

Coloradolady said...

Oh, Lane....you brought tears to my eyes, not because I had anything to do with your success, but the way you describe yourself now...is exactly the way I have always "seen" you! I don't even think I would recognize a "shy" Lane!! Oh, and I talk about you a lot to people I know in real life....I always refer to you as my quilting friend from Austin...when I called the quilt shop you were just in, (the one you bought the pattern from) I told them all about my talented friend.I think some of my friends think I am a nut sometimes, they think I am a talented entertainer, they think I can spin a good tale...truth is, I have to be very careful about what I write about....some of the deepest things I'd most likely write about, I can not do it, my family, extended family read my blog and if I was really truthful, someone would be hurt. I am always worried that I have said too much, but it is in those very post, that I get lots of emails and those are the post that touch people in the ways silly stuff never does. So I guess I am not always the person I am in real life...real life is ugly sometimes....but on the flip side, the silly, crazy, off the wall stuff is me, just not all of me!!

Lane, if I had never met a single blogger other than you....that would have been the only one I needed to meet....I feel you are a great friend, and know you know the answers to my dumb questions!!!You bring so much to the blog world...more than what is given to you I am sure!!!!

wordmama said...

People come back to your blog because they see the sweetness in you. This was a really great posting. I'm glad you are able to enjoy yourself more in social situations. Life without fear is a great thing. I, too, don't think I need to share the nitty gritty because there's just too much reality in my world. Yuck! Let's go to the happy creative place and share the things we love.

Oh, and what people see in you is your passion for what you love. Cool!

Kris

viridian said...

I started reading your blog some months ago b/c you became a follower of my blog. I can imagine a quiet Lane, I guess, but not stammering or blushing. Ah heck, what do I know? But congrats of your successful business trip and the changes that you see - it's wonderful.
PS. you share more about your family and I do not. I have privacy concerns, even with changed names, etc.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

Well, I have a lot of thoughts running through my head at this moment. Many of them sarcastic and I feel they aren't quite appropriate considering how little we know each other so far BUT, this is not sarcastic. This is a heartfelt and very serious comment.

I feel very proud for you after reading this post. I hope you continue to find your comfort zone through blogland and in reality and you continue to grow and find happiness/contentment.

The rest of my sarcasm... well, -wink- that will wait until my next comment. :)

Cheers, Beck

Becky said...

Lane, this post makes me weepy-eyed. I may not know you in "real" life, but I have enjoyed your blogs and comments for over a year now and I just love the you that you share with us!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Leah Day said...

Hooray Lane! I'm happy for you!

We do sometimes have to be slightly different people online because it can get TOO personal and TOO overwhelming to share too much.

I fight with that balance, but I've also experienced the wonderful rewards of sharing as you have too.

The best thing to do is just keep blogging, keep sharing, and every day you can figure something else out.

Cheers,

Leah Day

Shirleymac said...

Wonderful post Lane. I never really noticed it but when I think about it you are much more outgoing in blogland than you were when I first met you on the quilt blog. When I first met you you talked a lot about quilting and very little about your personal life. It was a long time before you said Sydney's name and even longer before you mentioned Rob's name. Now maybe that's natural online, like respecting other's anonymity. But you've shared more and more about who Lane is and I feel that I gradually have gotten to know you. So perhaps your personal self esteem/confidence on and off line have grown at the same rate? I have to admit I talk to you offline too. I'll talk about something you've quilted and how talented you are to be making your own templates for quilting. And I always without fail seem to end what I say with "He's just the nicest guy!" And you are, my friend. Don't ever doubt it.

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

Lane,

I've nominated you as a beautiful blogger. Swing by my blog and pick up your award here. No strings attached!

http://fairybreadmusings.blogspot.com/2010/03/sharing-love.html

Denise in PA said...

You go Lane! I'm a fairly new reader of your blog (a few months) and am really enjoying your posts. This was an awesome one and I am very glad you are coming to see yourself as the great guy you are. Keep it up!

Michelle said...

Wow! What an awesome testament to the wonders of the internet in general and blogging in particular. Way to go!

I'm new to blogging and (newer to your blog). While not as dramatic, I, too, have found that blogging has had a welcome side effect--I'm much more focused and organized about my quilting. Go figure. I'm not looking this gift horse in the mouth.

Thanks for sharing your story.

CC said...

Lane..
I can't tell you how I wanted to stand and cheer when I read your post..because you see,I am one of your fans. I think you're a wise,caring,loving person and a wonderful artist. Anyone that can choose color,fabric..and make it work into a lovely quilt is a true artist. I love your work, and I love the way you write. I am always eager to read what you have to say..and have been a follower of your blog, since the day I discovered it. I hope you continue to write,to quilt,to live and love and let us be a small part of your world. I am just so happy for you that you seem to be happier with yourself.

Vesuviusmama said...

What a wonderful testiment to blogging! You know, I never would have pegged you as shy or quiet or a stammer-er. To me, you ARE one of the experts, and I am in awe of all that you do. I'm glad that blogging is helping you to see yourself (and present yourself) the way all of us on here already see you.

lw said...

Great post-- I read your blog because it's interesting and funny, and I love your stories. I also check it out because of your quilting-- you are a real artist. The color choices you make are very different from mine, so I'm learning from you.

I don't know if I'd ever be brave enough to write my own blog.

Shannon said...

I'm at the point where I'm tired of not being the real me and dealing with people to the point where you are saying to yourself that there is NO way people can be THAT nice.

My blog is my ME place. I do think, though, it gives people the wrong impression of me because I'm really NOT that unhappy and negative every second of every day in person. I could be Miss Sunshine, but to what end?

Pursuing and maintaining Net based friendships through blogging, fan groups, FB, etc can be difficult because I sometimes speak out in a way that I might never do in person. I'm a Quiltzilla in a way that I might never be in person, too. I hold things in more in "real" life.