Here’s the picture. There’s a woman. She is reinventing herself as we speak. She is figuring out who she is and what she wants. She has realized that doing what other people want her to do, or trying to please them, is not really going to get her where she needs to go. There is a little glint in her eye, as she has decided to dare to make her own way. She’s narrowing her focus, streamlining her daily activities. She is taking control of her destiny.
She’s making some difficult choices, and people may feel hurt. She never wants to hurt anyone. But you know what? You can’t please everyone. Sometimes, people won’t be happy with your decisions, and you can’t necessarily prevent that from happening. You can be as tender and sensitive and caring in your communications as possible but a) that may not make a difference if you aren’t giving others what they want – they may be pissed, disappointed, or hurt just the same, b) you may think you are communicating one thing, but you may be sending other messages alongside the ones you intend without even realizing it (yikes) and c) sometimes life is just hard.
I’ve seen people reveal some really personal things on Facebook and other places online – stuff about disintegrating marriages and other relationships, devastating news about illness and death, and sometimes, just a harrowing look at their own messy emotional journey as they publicly fall apart or otherwise splatter. It’s a reality of our time that we now have successfully dissolved the boundaries between personal and public.
I’ve traversed these boundaries numerous times over the last few years, trying to find my comfort and safety zone in the wacky world of extended family fellowship, public creative platforms, marketplace of social commentary and the readily available space to practice being funny, daring, snarky, incendiary, boastful, benevolent, informative, kind, or just plain mischievous. I am sure we’ve all been guilty, at one time or another, of the dreaded overshare, of being the one who posted something that made someone else think eeew. It happens. We are a messy bunch, and the rules out here are fairly amorphous.
So, the trial and error of comporting ourselves with dignity or being entertaining brings up a whole lot of stuff. I can’t say that my life is necessarily better or worse now that I have an active social media footprint. Yeah, I’ve engaged with a lot of people all over the world, and for that I am so grateful. It makes me excited to see where things will go with some of these relationships. I’ve also learned how to use a lot of these tools to their best advantage, and yeah, shameless plug, I know how to work them on behalf of clients who pay me for my services.
And, there are those moments when I feel utterly exposed and vulnerable. I wonder about the public image I’m creating for myself and whether people think I’m naïve, gullible, annoying, inappropriate, talentless or completely self-involved… until I remember, with great relief, that you’re all pretty busy worrying about yourselves, and not really giving me that much thought, thank goodness!
That woman in the picture – she is keeping more to herself than you can imagine. Because sometimes it’s more important to save some things for your private world.