As an author, it’s important for me to have a social presence. And I don’t mind blogging, sharing silly book memes or nerd events. I like doing those things. I like guest blogging, sharing poetry and sharing good articles. But I’m not a big fan of the social media selves so many of us create. Including myself.
I wrote about how I stopped posting selfies. It has been a wonderful experiment, for me. I don’t expect that to be the case with everyone. I was using the selfies as a self-affirmation of how I want others to see me, instead of just appreciating how I actually am: no makeup, wrinkles, chub. I was creating a me who was the perfect mom, a wonderful cook, an expert geek.
And I am some of those things sometimes. But not usually. Mostly, I’m an okay mom whose getting by, who likes her mother-in-law’s cooking better and would prefer to stick to making side dishes for her mother-in-law’s meals. I am a geek. That’s pretty true. But I overdo it on my author site because there is a certain person I think people expect to see from me. a person who is smart and capable, who is witty and sarcastic and geeky. A person who is open-minded and cool.
Again, that’s not a bad persona, necessarily, but it’s still a persona. I’m pretty normal, really, apart from some bi-polar mood swings and talking to myself when I’m trying to come up with dialogue. But even if I’m not normal, I always feel inclined to share my abnormalities with others, prove to others that I’m like “this.” I feel like social media does that for many people. It’s about creating a persona that other people will enjoy sharing, commenting on and liking.
It makes me tired. I have a hard enough time with my contending moods. I don’t want to create myself online all the time. I just want to get through the day without a suicidal thought, depression so numbing it doesn’t even hurt. I just want to be able to tame the stupid rage that hits for no reason. I just want to maintain a level voice and brush away the ever present agitation that plagues most of my days. Does that portrait I painted you sound a bit awful? Well, that’s the truth. That’s how I see me. I see me as someone who is getting by, despite the fact that she is off. I know a person who prays, daily, that today will be a day where she doesn’t take every comment personally, get agitated over normal silly kid things, will be able to get out of bed and get her kids off to school without feeling like she is failing and falling behind.
I like acting, and I feel like I was pretty good at it when I had the time to hit the stage. Many a theater was graced by fake drunk Hannah, kleptomaniac Hannah, romantic Hannah, heartless business woman Hannah. But I don’t want to do it all the time. And I don’t really like seeing other people I know do it. I see pictures of people I love and I’m like, “You don’t look like that, and that’s okay. You’re beautiful.” “You don’t talk like that, and I’m glad. If you did, I wouldn’t be your friend.” And so on.
I’m Hannah Jones. My author name is H.M. Jones. We are not the same. And we are both sick of acting like something we are not.