I made a grand declaration yesterday to a friend via Gchat, and then parroted the same sentiment to Twitter because when I say things that sound awesome in my head, I like to share it with the world. Or at least 1,431 of its citizens. I make a lot of grand declarations and if I don’t make them in front of many people, I’ll never follow through.
SPOILER! I HARDLY EVER FOLLOW THROUGH ANYWAY!
I’ve decided to buck tradition and reinvent my online persona to better reflect my true, authentic self.
— Jen O. (@JenO_Eh) June 26, 2012
The beauty about this statement is that, upon reflection, I think I’m already there. I’ve always used my real name, it’s me in my photos, I write in my own voice. I haven’t gone out of my way to not be me. But, admittedly, I usually use pictures I’ve Photoshopped to as near perfection as possible. Take my old Twitter pic, for example. ‘Shopped the hell out of that photo, obviously, making it a picture of me, but completely not a picture of me. It was taken at a wedding, I had straightened my normally horrendously unruly hair, I was wearing about ten pounds of age-defying splatter paint, and I was smiling. I’m not an unhappy person, but, to paraphrase Elf, smiling is not my favourite. I often smile and laugh on the inside, which often garners me a “Smile!” from strangers, to which I snark in reply “I’d look like a crazy person if I walked around smiling for no reason,” to which they retort “No! I’m smiling and I don’t look crazy!” to which I raise an eyebrow and say “Are you sure about that?”
So I don’t smile. I also am a very quiet, private person, for the most part, which is a funny thing to confess on a blog, which is basically a TOP SECRET diary I’ve left open on a park bench for anyone to read. But out of respect for his wishes, I don’t use Anonymous Husband’s real name (shocking that AH isn’t his birthname, I know) and I’ve never posted a picture of him, I don’t talk specifically about where I live, I would never post or Tweet anything negative about my extended family (immediate, sure, because they’ve got it coming), and I don’t talk about work in anything but gross generalities, so don’t ask. So the secrecy and protection of privacy is, in a way, counter to a vow of authenticity, however, that’s how I am in the real world. Face to face, I don’t tend to reveal much, either, so why would I do that in the virtual world? I don’t and won’t and that’s the real me.
I have a potty mouth, not here and not with my family, but on Twitter and with everyone else, so that’s how it will stay. My family reads this, so I use language that’s fitting. And that’s fine. I’ve been choosing appropriate words for 30 years, and for five years here, so there’s nothing to be changed. Twitter is where I don’t hold my tongue, like if I were out with friends or just hanging with AH, I just say what I feel like because on Twitter, no one is the boss of me. I’m not putting on a character or play acting in anyway, in either place. I’m not cussing on Twitter because I want the cool kids to like me because, frankly, I don’t care if the cool kids like me. I don’t care if anyone likes me, to be honest. I’m fine with being a loner. It suits me just fine.
I don’t pretend to be a parenting guru or a talented chef or a fashionista. I barely survive day to day with my kids, I can bake, but cooking has always been a struggle, and I just wear what fits and doesn’t make me look too stupid, so I’m not going to stand up here on this soapbox and attempt to teach the masses. I did that once and, while I don’t regret telling you all about my closet transformation, it was boring. No, no. Don’t try to make me feel better, itwasboring and it consumed an entire week and who am I to preach at you people about getting dressed? I’m just some chick who wears clothes everyday. I’m only slightly more qualified than a stripper and only because wearing clothes is against their workplace dress code. I’ll post a recipe here or there, but they tend to be more about me Dr. Frankensteining together some creation that would give you a contact-coronary and less about teaching you how to bake.
So I guess that’s it. For some reason, yesterday I felt like I needed to clean sweep my online persona. I had it in my head that somehow I wasn’t being authentic. But here we are. This is me, really and truly. Jen really is my name, or Jenny or Jennifer or whatever suits your fancy, the face you see is mine, even if it’s been polished to look its best, these words are of my voice, if only a bit cleaner here. More authentic online persona achieved. Mission accomplished. Grand declaration, followed through to completion.