Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scattered Pieces of Myself

Do you often find yourself being a different person around different people? Like you've split yourself into smaller pieces that you only share with certain groups? (If you don't, please take those as rhetorical questions...) I think this is something a lot of us (all of us?) do to survive. We like to keep people as close as we need them without showing them all of what we are.

The simplest example of this is at work. You need to draw the line somewhere between the obsession you and your co-workers share about Battlestar Galactica and telling them about the time you got so drunk somewhere you passed out for hours. But where do you draw the line for the other people in your life?

I've been thinking about this more lately because keeping up these multiple personalities has become incredibly exhausting for me. I want to be myself with everyone, but people already know me a particular way. Somehow, showing them sides of myself they don't know seems like a violation of the unspoken rules in our relationships. I understand that I have to bend to people's comfort levels, but is there any way to start bending them back my way, if only a little?

Even as I write this, I'm self-editing to not give away too much of myself.

It is particularly challenging for the different versions of myself I spread throughout cyberspace. I write on a number of blogs, semi-regularly update Facebook and am addicted to Twitter. Somebody might be able to pull all of me together if they access all of these, but they might be surprised to what they find.

The strange part about it is that I don't purposely hide these sides of myself -- like I said, it's really rather exhausting. It's just the way the relationships have grown that I now don't know how to snap out of.

Does anybody else feel this way? And if you acknowledge that you have pieces of you scattered everywhere, is it something that bothers you or something you have gotten used to? Or am I completely insane and alone in feeling this way?


Anonymous said...

I'm totally scattered, LOL. Well, not quite. Really for me, there's just this huge divide between my work life and my non-work life.

At work, I am not vocal about feminism, and I am not out as a poly person. I talk a little about my creative writing, but I limit what I share. I blog under a pseudonym so my employers won't find me. My LJ is friends-only and my facebook account is protected.

Outside of work, most of my friends are poly or poly-friendly. I share about dance, yoga, my volunteer work, etc. They all have access to my various online personas. I let them read my writing when I'm satisfied with it. Okay, not everyone knows everything. My acquaintances from my dance class don't really know about my poetry. But also, I really don't see these people outside of the studio, so it's never really relevant. But these are people I'd definitely talk about my writing with were it to ever come up.

For me, it's divided into contexts. I can be myself around my friends. I can't be myself around my coworkers. I don't really like it, but that's the way it is.

Amos said...

I feel the exact same way. One of the reasons I think my current relationship failed is because he saw all of me. When he met me, he saw the ambitious girl, the pretty girl but when we lived together, he saw I was having trouble keeping it all together. I think it all is about fear. If you let people really get to know the real you, will they really still want to be your friend. I have found that this answer is absolutely, no. Not with friends and not with boyfriends. It's almost like with each person you have to be the real part of yourself that THEY can handle. So with some people they will get more of you and with some people less, but no one is interested, as far as I can see, not even my mother, in the full person.

sally said...

Luckily there are a couple of people I can be my full self with, including my guy, so that's good. It is definitely about what they can handle, I agree with you there. I guess I wonder how much I should push what they seem unable to handle little by little?

And the poly thing is the perfect example of something I would love to talk to people about but just can't seem to. As you and other followers on twitter or my blog know, not having people to talk to about my relationship in general is just a pain. Oy. Still much to consider it seems...

Anonymous said...

wow. seems very true. i feel it in my heart what you said. its sad to think of being never really yourself but isnt it always about relating to each other? how can you be the same person with everyone when you have to take who they are or the part of themself they show you and react to it. we are all a lot of different people and its ok. but i dont know what poly is.

sally said...

Hi Anonymous! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Poly stands for polyamorous -- often referred to as an open relationship, open love, etc. It's most basic meaning is a type of relationship where at least one partner has multiple intimate relationships. Check out the wikipedia entry here.

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