Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"What is real?"

When I was watching Michael's persuasive, and he said I was morose, I thought it was funny. And then I thought, "I'm not morose, am I?" Which was the point, I guess. That I can't be described with one word. That's not really what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is me being me.

I suppose it's not something that I can avoid being. But it seems sometimes that there are different me's. On my blog, I guess I am fairly morose and gloomy. At least, I've created that impression. When I'm with other people (I avoid saying "real" life because everything is real life) I would say that I'm... happier. It seems like I act differently depending on who I'm with. And when I'm with people at all, I act more cheerful. But that makes me wonder: Which one am I? Really? Am I just acting happier than I am when I'm around people... or do people just make me happy? Am I just acting gloomy when I write blog posts... or does blogging (or being alone) just make me gloomy?

Eeyore was always my favorite character in Winnie the Pooh.

I want to be myself. I don't want to lie to people when I'm with them or when I'm not. I want people to know me for who I am and to love me for what I am... gloomy or cheerful. But... I don't really know who I am. I've made this blog so much of my life that I don't know if I've started lying here too. I think - I know - that I used to lie around people. But I was lying about being angry... now maybe I've just started lying about being gloomy. I don't know. Grrr.

(Michael, this is not your fault. I was thinking about this before your persuasive)


  1. Self-knowledge is tricky.

    My mom used to tell me I was two-faced. And this distressed me, of course. I wasn't trying to act a certain way in a certain situation. Each way I acted felt fully me.

    I think different scenarios bring out different parts of us. Your blog brings out a little of your "morose" part, and that's neat, not a lie.

    But at the same time, it feels impossible to tell. I haven't the foggiest idea who I am. It's impossible to "be yourself" when "oneself" is such an enigma.

    This is the part where being a teenager totally sucks. But I think this we grow out of.

  2. I've thought about this too. First off, I think that everyone acts differently in different environments. At least ... teenagers do. Rachel has often commented to me that I'm all happy and enjoying myself with my friends and at home I'm not happy. Yet, like Hayley said, I feel like "me" both times. I don't feel like I'm lying to people by being sad or happy. (Although, I must confess, I have tried to be a certain way on purpose for other reasons - then, I feel miserable and deceitful. And the cause of that was nothing but a bunch of self-pity. It really was quite awful.) So, I think that feeling both ways is quite normal. Different things make me happy and other things make me gloomy. I react to the environment. (The danger can come when I try to react in a certain environment on purpose. Like I mentioned.)

    About wanting people to see you as you: Well, I'm not sure about this. Normally, I'm not the nicest creature ever created at home. Do I want people to see this? (and by having people "seeing ourselves" why does that always seem to include seeing people in the worst ways. Right. Because it's our nature.) And we want to be honest. I agree. But it's not right to purposely act the way we are at home or the way we feel like in front of people because we feel we're being honest. It can't be. Being honest with ourselves in that sense seems like another sort of pride.


  3. I am the same way in that I act gloomier when I blog than when I talk to people, and part of it, I think, is that even though I'm sending a message for people to read, I'm essentially alone with my thoughts. And being alone with my thoughts is not generally a happy state.

    Being with people makes me naturally happy. I can't really help that. That's often why I'm different, e.g. more cheerful, with people. It's harder for me to be cheerful online.

    But then, that's just one side of the card. On the flipside (an expression I picked up from you years ago, by the way - thank you for showing me that there's always a flipside to things), often it is my fault, and I am being fake with people. Online, I imagine standards that people supposedly have for every post I publish. It's the reason I don't publish/finish most of my posts. I think that people will dislike my posts (and should I care about that, anyway?) if they're not a certain tone or on a certain topic.

    In real life, I'm very guilty of not being myself. Liz, I see what you're saying about being that sort of "real" in front of people. In my moments of clearheadedness, I see that the way I act at home is, in a sense, the real me, the flawed me, but it is me doing the wrong thing. In order to be real, must I do the wrong thing everywhere? I don't think so. That's not honesty, that's stubbornness, falseness, and, as Liz put it, "another sort of pride."

    And yet, I do relate. And sometimes this difference has caused a breakdown in communication between us, because I read the online and you and see the in-person you almost equally. It confuses me a bit that the same day you will be two different people. I realize, though, partially gleaning from my own experience, that you are being different parts of the same person. I can definitely see that in myself.

  4. Interesting thoughts, Andrew.

    "n my moments of clearheadedness, I see that the way I act at home is, in a sense, the real me, the flawed me, but it is me doing the wrong thing."

    I'm not so sure that it is wrong. I don't see why being cheerful or being gloomy is wrong, it's just emotion, it's a reaction, and I don't think either state is inherently bad or wrong. What I don't want to be is dishonest... I'm okay with being cheerful around people and gloomy online, but only if that's not manufactured emotion or some sort of act that I'm unintentionally putting on.

    "It confuses me a bit that the same day you will be two different people."

    Yes! Ordinarily, I would agree with everything others have said about acting differently in different situations. Because I think being with people probably does make me happy, and being alone probably makes me gloomy. But unless I'm bipolar (which I really don't think is the case) then I don't know how to account for the drastic shift from being cheerful to being gloomy. Like... on Thursdays. I'm my usual morose self all day, then take a break for three hours to be cheerful while speech class is here, and then go back to being my gloomy self when they leave. I don't see how it's anything but an act... and it kind of bothers me.