This is a song my dad made up when I was a baby:
Who’s that baby in the mirror?
Who’s that girl we all adore?
[dah-da dah-da dah-da da, … …]
Anyway. That’s beside the point. I’d just learnt to recognise myself in mirrors. Hello, me. My point is, sometimes it really bothers me, you know? I see myself in several ways: confident, a bit feminist, gutsy, opinionated and independent (none or few of those are particularly true, but I can dream); whiny, girly, lacking in confidence, motivation or style, melodramatic, pathetic, over-reliant on others; somewhere in between. I hope I’m nearer the former than the latter.
Then, in real life, the truth is slightly different. I don’t know how other people truly see me. I know A finds me hilarious, and I must assume I am also a good friend to him in some capacity – good advice, good company, I don’t know what it is. I’m completely amnesiac so I feel bad that every time he wants to come and complain about something that’s bothering him he has to give me the backstory again each and every time. R finds me amusing too, that I know. I know that I am valued by a lot of people but other than the obvious – when people laugh it’s because you’re being funny either because you just did something really stupid or because you’re actually genuinely witty, and to be honest I don’t mind which of the above is true and hopefully I find both of those things quite funny anyway.
What I’m not saying here is, ‘why do people like me? please like me? I’m such a terrible person and I have no self-esteem and I’m not really worth a second of your time, sorry sorry sorry’. I am liked. I get it. What I want to know and what is impossible to really tell is how people percieve me, whether they like me or not. What is my character according to others?
And then there’s another side: how does how I seem in the real world compare to the self I present here on this blog, online, in front of you lot? How do I get judged?
I know I have my faults, but I think they’re different faults depending on how you interact with me. I think where online I can be bolshy, argumentative, opinionated and even sometimes completely out of order, in the real world I go almost the opposite way. I find it difficult to hold and espouse an opinion. I find it difficult to express my opinions in the first place although I am a lot better at that than I used to be; and when people I know, like and admire come along and say very definitely, ‘I, Joe Bloggs, see things like this. The world is This Way’, that sort of dogmatic viewpoint will hugely sway me such that I suddenly find that I don’t disagree. And then half an hour later when I’ve stopped talking to Joe Bloggs and am now in fact on my own on my way home I suddenly realise that I don’t actually entirely agree with Joe Bloggs and I’ve somehow fooled myself into thinking that way because, oh, I like Joe Bloggs and he’s clever so he must be right. I don’t do that on the internet. I go almost the other way. I read an opinion and I’m more likely to start deconstructing it and thinking of counterarguments and ripostes and even put-downs. So is it that I am more confident behind the protection of the screen? There’s an XKCD to that effect, I’m sure of it.
In real life I am much more of a pushover, I think I am probably sweeter, whinier, more effeminate, and to be honest if I am to be thought of as in any way annoying I would rather be thought bolshy and tough than girly and weak.
I don’t know, it’s odd. I don’t know how I come across on the internet or in real life, I don’t know how they differ, and then you have the me in my head, constantly going ‘but you said completely the opposite the other day’ or ‘you’ve really backed yourself into a corner there, haven’t you?’. Tied into all of this is the question of readership. I don’t worry too much – I know, given the fraction of my friends that actively know about my blog and the size of my readership here that actually not that many people I know read this blog and that most of the readership is probably actually strangers (weird thought), so that’s OK. Hello lurkers. But I don’t know – I wonder if it’s odd, being a lurker who I know in real life, and thinking, this isn’t quite the Jenny I know. And I find it odd that there are people who do read the blog and who do know me well in real life and does this blog make sense to them given how well they do or do not know me? And does it seem to fit with me more coherently to those people who know me better, or is there not really a correlation there?
It’s impossible to see yourself from the outside. I’m starting to feel a bit insane. Next I’ll be having an out of body experience and waving disconcertedly at my own ears, so instead I shall… watch Lark Rise?
It’s probably bed time. I think the point I was originally trying to make may have got lost in the post.