If you rely on maintaining a facade in order to be accepted by people, what do you think will happen if you ever let your mask slip?
This came into my head as I was typing an email to Angie this morning. Not because of any criticism or complaint from her or issue there - it just happened that one thing I was responding to made me think about a series of different things in my life that happened ten years ago, and that was the thought that popped into my head. In fact, the only reason I'm saying that's what prompted it is because there are people who've made assumptions about why I've said things on my blog and who they're directed at. (So, sorry to drag you into this post Angie, but I almost typed this in the email to you. Of course, you might be able to figure out why, based on what I was saying about myself.)
I can come off as being pretty 'in your face' about myself. Some people don't like it. Which is cool.
Ten years ago, I had to worry about playing games with with people, making nice, putting on a facade. Not that I can't be a nice person and be genuine. But this was a specific kind of image, because I worked at a residential Bible school.
And over time, I watched as circumstances forced the masks to slip off of others. Things in their lives far beyond their control, like grief from death, trauma from rape... things you would expect people to have some emotion and shock processing.
You don't expect people to snap their fingers and just be okay. It was no real surprise when it happened to me. After all, I had always had my share of turmoil in my life.
And I'll never forget being told, I think you've had enough time to get over it.
I was dealing with a death, the end of an engagement and something else that not even I will talk about here. The person who said those words to me was having an affair, was the biggest gossip I'd ever met (and still I haven't seen her outdone) and was actually responsible for interfering in a criminal matter that would have reflected badly on the school.
But she was still smiling. And that's what mattered.
When I walked away from that world, it was with a vow that I was never going to be that. Ever. That I wouldn't be fake.
The up side is that I can live with myself. The down side is that there are a lot of people who don't feel comfortable with my candor. I can only say that the advantage to me is that the people I do become friends with end up being good friends. I don't have to worry about shoes dropping later when they suddenly realize I'm not the person they think I am.
I don't even put every aspect of my life on my blog. I do work out stuff here. It's always been that way. If you're looking for a regular dose of marketing advice, go see Joe Konrath. If you're looking for someone ultra cool, go read Cornelia.
This blog is about what's on my mind, what's going on in my life. Sometimes it's me venting my frustrations. Sometimes it's strictly me mocking myself. I haven't got a clue why anyone reads it, other than the 'watching a disaster in process' fascination factor. That's a real, definite possibility. But in the same way that I never intend to walk around giving off the 'fake' vibe to everyone I meet, this blog isn't going to become some pared down version of me. It's me, it's my life and what I feel comfortable expressing.
Oh, and I've been meaning to link to this post by Anne Frasier. It's fascinating, and a look back at 20 years ago in the business. My, how things have changed! For all the criticisms I read all the time about the publishing industry, I have to say I think things are much better now than this.