In his recent Jim's Stuff blog post, Jim asks "How are you different in person from your blog persona?"
That's an excellent question, and speaks to my motivation for starting my blog in the first place. Like Jim, my friends may find that my blog persona to be a bit different from my real-time self. Maybe more confident, well-spoken and sure of myself. Maybe even more thoughtful and intelligent. But I hope the two personas are never incongruent.
In a way my blog persona is an alter-ego. I have the ability to disclose exactly what I wish about myself in a perfectly controlled manner. Maybe that's a reaction to the perceived lack of such control in my daily face-to-face interactions. That said, I've never wanted to present myself in an unbalanced, unrealistic fashion. Sure, I could put my best face forward and try to make people believe I'm something better than I know I really am. But that's not my intention at all.
I have human failings, bouts with stupidity and plain bad luck. I try to share these too. It's important to me to be real and relatable. I want my blog to be a window to my real self, not an idealized portrait of it.
This begs the question, why then do I need an alter ego? Maybe it's a midlife crisis issue. When I first moved to Atlanta, I found myself in a strange city without a single familiar face. It was both scary and incredibly liberating. Over the past seventeen years I built not only a circle of good friends but a family here. For the first time in my life, I'm living honestly about who I am. I look upon the life I've built here with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I never want to take these blessings for granted, but I don't want to stop challenging myself and growing in the process.
In a way, starting my blog was a way of getting that feeling of a fresh start without actually having to move away from my home and the people I love. Here I have the freedom to be more open and explore new aspects. I didn't expect to make new friends in the process, that's just been a really great bonus. My hope is when I someday meet them face-to-face, it won't be at all like meeting a stranger, but being reunited with an old friend.