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.