This week I read a terrific post by Corbett Barr over at Free Pursuits about being more authentic online. Actually, he said “kick your watered-down self in the ass.” Ouch.
You see, he struggles with the same thing I do – being authentic without turning people off. I mean, I’m trying to build an audience here, so I worry how my words come across to you. I want you to listen to the message of lifestyle design, and I’m afraid the way I tell it, or the way I live my life, or my random musings on something totally unrelated might turn you off and keep you from hearing it.
I worry if I let a curse word fly I’ll alienate more conservative readers, and if I make an anti-kids stance I’ll send parents scurrying, and oh my god we haven’t even talked about religion, drinking, family or why I don’t watch romantic comedies (see #2 below). I don’t want these things to get in the way of the message. But should I? Maybe that’s part of the message.
If I really let it all hang out, I could lose some of you. This is where I have to admit I’m either over-analyzing things, a complete narcissist, or you are all connecting with the construct of me, not the real me (see #3).
Corbett made a really good point when he said you don’t have to be transparent to be fully self-expressed, meaning you don’t have to share all your stories. He’s right. But you know what? We’ve been far more transparent on this blog about our stories and less so about who we really are as people – our opinions, idiosyncrasies, and some of the events that have shaped our thinking. And that’s part of the message.
Following Corbett’s theme, here are a few things you may not know about me. I hope you still like me when you’re done, but if you don’t that’s okay, too. Using my favorite breakup line ever, “It’s not you, it’s me.” (see #12)
- I never graduated from college (yeah, I know, big shocker there). The thing that is surprising is that it haunts me to this day and is one of the biggest regrets of my life. In fact, maybe one of the only regrets of my life. You miss out on a lot of social education at a pivotal moment in life when you opt out of college, and you can never reclaim that time.
- I love love but hate romantic comedies. Maybe it is because they are so obvious, or that the man is always so much older than the woman, or that she is considered a plain-Jane with her glasses and bun but when she takes them off she’s a centerfold. I dunno. I just don’t get them and have to be dragged to see one.
- My favorite movie is The Matrix. I’ve probably seen it 20 times, and I love what it says about life, the way you see the world around you, and the question of taking the red or the blue pill. Oh, and there’s Trinity in her black leather kicking ass, and that’s pretty cool, too. Follow the white rabbit…
- I am childless by choice. It’s not that I don’t like kids, but I really don’t like being around kids. They ooze and sneeze and carry a lot of germs.
- My favorite way to fall asleep is with a book in my hands on the couch. This is not conducive to a good night’s sleep or a healthy sex life. I still “camp out” at least once a week, and more if Warren is traveling.
- I like to be alone a lot more than most people. This is weird to say for a fairly social person, but I need downtime after I’ve been around people for an extended period of time. It may be part of the reason I read so much because it keeps other people from engaging when I want to be by myself.
- I love gay men. Seriously. Totally love being with them, and they usually love being with me. I think I secretly want to be one. Or maybe not so secretly.
- I’m a feminist and believe that wherever there is bigotry there is also misogyny. Cure the world of homophobia, racism, religious and political tyranny, and you’ll make the world a better place for women, too.
- I was married before for 9 years. I don’t think 20 is a good age for anyone to get married because there is so much individual change between the age of 20 and 30. Warren and I joke that it takes a first marriage to figure out how to have a successful second marriage, and there is a grain of truth in that if you get married really young.
- When I was 29 I left my small hometown in New Mexico to live by myself in Washington, DC. This was during my divorce, and I rented my apartment online before I even got there. It was a scary, liberating and educational experience. When people ask how I can just pick up and travel the world with Warren, I tell them that nothing will ever be as scary as leaving everything I knew back then for a completely new life 2000 miles away. I can’t imagine ever doing anything harder.
- I am terrible with directions, and the fact that Warren wants to travel full-time with me is a huge shocker. I mean, I really cannot find my way home sometimes. For whatever reason, I cannot translate what I see on a map to my environment. Oh, and I’ve been known to use McDonald’s as a landmark. Do you know how many of those there are?
- I have commitment issues (see numbers 1, 4, 6 and 9). It is pretty easy to become my friend, a lot harder to become a good friend. And kudos to Warren for all he went through to date and then marry me. In fact, maybe one day he’ll tell you the story of how I broke up with him before our first date. Yes, it is that bad.
- I’ve lived in New Mexico, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. While I would love to see the entire world, I can’t imagine ever living too far from a coast or a big city. One of my favorite things is to be with people but by myself, and being in a city allows you to do that. Reach out when you want; retreat when you want.
- I have done some private investigation work. It isn’t nearly as glamorous as they make it sound in the movies, and I didn’t feel good about it. These are not the kind of people you have over for dinner (the client or the subject).
- I love red wine, a pint of Guinness, or a well-made old-fashioned. Combine this with a cool location, some good friends, and a few appetizers and I’m good for the night. Seriously, I love a good drink and fun conversation with interesting people more than just about anything. Which is why we kept happy hours in the budget and gave up things like cable.
- I can keep a secret. Big, juicy secrets, little secrets, and secrets that people really wish I would let slip. I’m not sure why, but people often tell me things they would never tell other people. Maybe it is because I’m fairly nonjudgemental, or maybe I’m a good listener. Maybe I’m just in the right place at the right time. Either way, my mind is a vault. And it is brimming with good shit, trust me (remember, I love hanging out with interesting people).
- I am a fabulous connector. Doesn’t matter what you need, I can find the connection to make it happen. I love putting the right people together, especially when it comes to business. Sometimes I actually go overboard in this and connect people together for projects they don’t really want (actually, I prefer to think they haven’t warmed to the idea yet, but I know they’ll come around).
- I met my biological father just a few years ago after I tracked him down online (see #14). I grew up 90 miles away from him. This is still really weird for me to talk about.
- I am pretty open about my life on the blog, but I guard the privacy of my friends and family fiercely. There are many stories I’d love to tell, but when they are shared experiences I can’t. (see #16 and #18)
- My IQ was tested as a kid and I was put in “gifted” classes in school. Frankly, the bar was low. I’m a smart person, but I’m not gifted. I’ve known several gifted people, believe me. I think attaching labels to kids is not always a good idea. It made me lazy. After all, I was gifted, how hard did I have to try? Better to be in with the masses and make those distinctions on your own merit than be placed in a separate category and be told you’re above it all. Life Lesson: You’re Not.
- I am a crazy fast reader. I can read 2-3 books a week, and I worry that on the road I won’t have enough to read. Or the budget to read that much.
- I love Perez Hilton. He’s a smart businessman, gets to act out with a fun persona, and he’s into self-improvement (did you see he lost over 60 pounds?). Love him or hate him, you have to respect the business he’s built and that he’s living life on his own terms. (see #7)
- I am endlessly curious about what other people believe and why they believe it. I’m more interested in how you came to believe something than what you actually believe. That says a lot about a person and is usually much more interesting than the latest political argument or religious debate.
- I think I’m more introspective than most people. And that bugs me.
- I write this blog because I want people to wake up before it is too late. Life is short, and there are no do-overs. If you aren’t consciously living the life you want right now, chances are you never will. And that breaks my heart. A half-life is a waste of bountiful resources and opportunity.
So that’s my personality in a nutshell. It feels a little bit like writing a match.com ad for your boyfriend of 6 months. But I wanted you to know I’m going to be flashing a little more personality and opinion on the blog. The message will still be the same, but the filter it comes through will be, well, less filtered.
(Oh yeah, and I want to hate emoticons. I really do. But if I can’t smile to your face I want to smile on your screen. So forgive me for writing like a 14-year-old.)
Tell me something about you that I don’t already know and how it impacts your personality. C’mon. You already know I can keep a secret. (see #16)