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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dichotomy

A long time ago, in blogger time (because those obsessed with blogging understand that, because of the immense amount of information that can be posted daily, a month seems like forever...), a fellow blogger who is often hilarious, described himself as having two distinct personalities. You can (and should, because it's funny) read about it here. Unfortunately, as I was enjoying this post, my brain switched from "laugh track" to "truth found in humor" and I realized the dichotomy of my own persona. It's not nearly as entertaining as Tolkein Boy's, and I've actually sort of spoken about this with selected people in person and cyberspace, but, nonetheless, I think it's time for self-evaluation.

My personal dichotomy exists as a blogger persona and an "in-person" persona. Neither one of them is a true picture of who I am. I'm not sure that together they create a true picture, either.
Blogger person:
-consumed with anxiety
-introspective
-unforgiving of self
-judgmental
-insensitive to societal norms and conventions
-desperate
-cowardly
-verbose
-hopeful
-sometimes sad

In-person person:
-confidant
-happy
-professional
-funny
-warm/friendly
-in control
-energetic

The problem is that I'm a grown-up on the outside, but inside I'm still trying to figure out what happened to me as a child, why I have so many conflicting emotions, what makes me happy, and what makes me sad. So maybe my blog persona is more descriptive of my inside, while on the outside I function well in the adult/professional world. As a teacher, as a financial advisor, as a tax professional, in all my worlds I'm successful. People seem to trust me--even when I REALLY goof.

Example: Two years ago, a couple brought their taxes to me. Their return was complicated since they not only had a W-2, but also ran their own business. And the tax deadline was in two days. Since they were personal friends of my dad's, I accepted their request to put a rush on the return. I spent longer on the business schedule than I had planned because they were poor record keepers, and I had to double check many of their deductions, figures, etc. I finished the return, rushed to input the W-2 info, and delivered it to the couple. This year they got a letter from the IRS informing them that when I reported the income tax withheld on the W-2, I moved the decimal one space to the right, making the figure in the thousands, rather than the hundreds. This resulted in their receipt of a larger refund than that to which they were entitled, so they have to pay back the difference. Now, I would assume this couple would be a little upset at this stupid mistake--but, no, they were perfectly nice, and asked if they could assign me power of attorney to discuss their case with the IRS to negotiate a payment plan, and they wished to pay me for my services in this, as well. Naturally, I would never charge them, the mistake was mine. Ultimately, they have the responsibility to check the return and make sure all the figures are correct, but there's no question where the mistake originated.

Okay, that was a very long story--but the bottom line is that I've never had anyone get upset at me in any of my jobs, and I've made plenty of errors. That includes my piano studio, and also my seminary classes. So something about me staves off angry attacks when I do something wrong. Darrin thinks it's totally unfair, and has a number of theories as to why this happens:
1. I'm small, and people feel bad bullying me (yeah, I don't buy that).
2. I'm a little intimidating, because even when I don't, I always ACT like I know exactly what I'm doing or talking about (which kind of negates #1, right?).
3. I always crack a joke, put people at ease, and assure them that whatever the problem is, we can solve it together (okay, this one I really do, but I consider it a really good business strategy--I won't apologize for my business acumen).
4. I have a nice smile, and I'm not above fluttering my eyelashes at any man or woman who seems to be in attack mode (again, just good business acumen, and Darrin is totally prejudiced when it comes to my looks--also, I've been known, occasionally, to use those tools on him, and it works, which aggravates him).

Regardless of whether or not Darrin is right or wrong, I will admit that I was blessed with an abundance of natural charm, and I've never been above using it to help inspire good feelings in a bad situation (euphemistic? maybe...), and Darrin could learn a little from me, sometimes.

My blog persona, however, isn't nearly as together. And she seems to vacillate wildly on the emotions pendulum. She is very scary to me--but when I let her out, let her spill her guts in bloggerland, I feel better. Everything feels better. Life, as a whole is just--BETTER. I read what she writes and I feel unbalanced, a little insane, and out of control. She admits things that my other persona buries, runs from. She addresses issues that are painful but real. She never solves problems, just brings them to the foreground for innocent blog-hoppers to peruse. I personally think of that as a public service, because then all the bloggers can go back to their personal spaces feeling fairly confident that no matter how screwed up their lives are, there is one who is even more so. They think, "Wow!! I thought maybe I wasn't handling the stress in my life well, but at least I EAT. At least I respect my body. At least I'm not insane...Yeah, that was a good visit. My self-esteem got a real boost. Life is good." So in her own way, my blog persona is just as helpful to mankind as my outside persona.

The problem is that I am unable to reconcile the two to each other. Neither wants to admit that the other exists. Neither wants to coexist peacefully together. The two war against each other creating extreme conflict. The outside says, "Ignore that blog-girl. She just upsets you. Look at me--people love me, I'm in demand socially and professionally. Bury those little problems--don't look at them--keep being the you everyone expects you to be." But blog-girl responds, "Are you insane??? Oh, yeah, you are...Anyway, you NEED to look at the things that are hurting you, resolve them, and get some peace. You can't live your life for others. You can't pretend forever. You need to listen to the things that are inside you, even if you're afraid, even if it hurts. You need to get healthy."

In their own ways, both of them are right. There are times when I need to push the feelings aside, and deal with the personal and professional day-to-day things. There are times when, if I keep ignoring the things that are hurting me, I end up coping in stupid ways. I need both of these extremes because they make up who I am. Someday, I have to learn how to peacefully work simultaneously within both realms.

I can see it now:
Client: Sam, you just made a HUGE mistake.
Outside Persona: Why don't you tell me what I've done that's bothering you.
Blog-girl: A mistake???? How did that happen?? I need to think about how that makes me feel.
Client: What? I thought we were talking about how I feel.
OP: We are. I'm very interested in getting this resolved.
BG: Who cares about how you feel. This is my blog, and it's all about me.
Client: Blog? There no problem with a blog.
OP: No? Exactly where has the problem occurred? What's going on that's causing a problem.
BG: Of course there's no problem with my blog. It's where I take care of the inner me. You have no right to even talk about it.
Client: I think I need to talk to your supervisor. I'm getting confused.
OP: Actually, I AM the supervisor and the business owner, so let's try to get to the bottom of this.
BG: I think I'M the one getting confused. I need to think about how that makes me feel...

As you can see, there's no logical connection between the two me's. I'm not sure there ever can be. I'm not sure connecting the two would even be a good thing.

I need to think about how this makes me feel...

5 Comments:

  • At Monday, August 07, 2006 6:36:00 AM, Blogger -L- said…

    I've been amused with the chance to get to know the different versions of you. Amused may not be the best word. Delighted? Probably both.

    I may actually be just the reverse: much more confident in my blog persona than I am in person. But that all depends on the circumstances. You won't hear me swear or say scathingly unkind things about others in person. But I do it in my mind and the blog is practically wired straight into my subconscious. ;)

     
  • At Monday, August 07, 2006 6:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "...different versions of you..."

    Just two different versions, right? Because as I wrote that last post, I was sensing a third...

    Very disturbing...

    And the feeling is mutual--it's been a delight to get to know the other side of -L-.

     
  • At Monday, August 07, 2006 6:43:00 AM, Blogger Samantha said…

    HAH!!!! I just posted a comment on my own blog as "anonymous"!!!

     
  • At Monday, August 07, 2006 7:17:00 AM, Blogger Ward Cleaver said…

    I can identify with what you wrote about today as I suffer from much of the same.

    My blogger personality is VERY different from my everyday personality.

    This is part of my problem. I feel a slow move to becoming authentic with myself and others.

    I encourage you to keep exploring and analyzing yourself. Believe it or not....you're making progress!

     
  • At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 7:49:00 AM, Blogger Master Fob said…

    I think it's interesting that the persona you exhibit while on other people's blogs (or on Times & Seasons) is much more like the in-person person you described than like the blogger person. The universal truth in both TB's post and yours is that everyone has various parts of our personalities that we display at different times, and all those pieces form the whole person. I certainly like both the introspective you and the funny you. (Because, of course, you wrote this whole post just to be validated by Master Fob.)

     

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