My online writing life is slowly starting to merge with my real life. I’m learning people actually read what I have to say, and they know about my opinions before I actually speak about them because I’ve already written those opinions on my blog.
I started my blog in 2012 at a time when my husband and didn’t live near very many friends. We weren’t really plugged in anywhere. We attended church, but we lived 20 minutes away from the building and we had a newborn, so we didn’t attend many of the extra church things. My kids were all pre-school age, too. So, I didn’t have a co-op group or even much interaction with the outside world. We loved our neighborhood, but we did not know many other people in the community.
I had two versions of my personality. I had my online community on Facebook, made up of most of my college friends and friends from other places where my husband and I had lived – people who have known me for years. I wrote things on Facebook to make them laugh, and I quietly started a blog to dump my brain.
In real life, if I’m just getting to know someone, I come across as sweet and quiet-natured. I’m not shy, but I just can’t create conversation out of thin air. If I’m around a person who can talk to a brick wall (I have many friends who are like this), that person can pull out my natural self. I’m
a little sarcastic, and I find odd things quite hilarious. So, because I didn’t have any true friends around me, the people I saw in everyday life only knew the “First Stage Kelly.” The one still warming up. The one still trying to find some common ground.
I stayed in that place for two years.
Now though, my husband and I live in town about 45 seconds from our church, and we belong to a homeschool co-op. I have a ton of friends whom I see on a consistent basis, and they are all my friends on Facebook and many now know about my blog. So, I have this convergence of the online Kelly and the in-person Kelly.
Here’s the thing: I’m a writer.
My written words are thought out, edited, filtered. I have time to craft what I want to say and rework phrases to make the tone just right.
I’m funny/smart/brilliant/eloquent/insightful via writing but I’m awkward/impetuous/reserved/addle-brained in person.
Sure, I’m still myself either way. I find odd things hilarious. I say things in conversation that I would also write, but I don’t think well on my feet. I overshoot a punch line. I over-share my opinions. I offend others or hurt feelings unintentionally.
Add to the equation by children. When my children are with me (which is, pretty much, all the time), I cannot focus on a conversation. For instance, one of my friends was asking about Neil Gaiman the other day, and the conversation went much like this:
“Which book? Oh, yes. I loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane. WHERE ARE MY KEYS!!? Yes, I heard good things about … oh, I can’t think of the name. Anyway, I follow Neil Gaiman and his wife on Twitter. Have you seen her TED talk? They are both..HANNAH BETH, DON’T RUN IN THE HALLWAY!!! STOP AT THE DOOR!!! Oh, here are my keys. haha. They were in my hand.”
I guess my point to all of this is that learning how to blend the life created from words – the world inside my brain, where I process and think before I communicate – sometimes comes across as skewed in real life conversations. I think I’m starting to understand why Emily Dickinson just wore her white dresses and stayed in her garden, scratching poetry on the backs of her grocery lists.