One of the most frequently thrown around terms when people talk about me is “eccentric”.
To me, that word brings up images of older rich ladies with habits of having lots of cats or expensive figurines of them, taking tea outside even in the rain. Certainly not a “just-out-of-teens”* female with varied interests and different ways of thinking about the world. I own one cat, which actually belongs to my daughter. I have expensive figurines, but not of cats. It’s mostly sci-fi or comic book characters. I do take tea outside, and I love the idea of taking it in the rain, but it would dilute the tea and that makes it not worthwhile an adventure.
I do think differently to most. There are times when I think quite differently to myself of five minutes ago. That is one of the joys of still learning. May I never stop learning!
But, this idea of eccentricity got me to thinking. If we are constantly being told to be careful as to how we portray ourselves online, are we not then running the risk of appearing eccentric to our followers? If all we talk about is tea, do we become the crazy lady focused on loose leaf beverages? If All I talk about are my cats, am I the crazy cat lady on- and off-line?
I was talking to a friend about why I was changing the focus of my blog and diversifying it from just writing about food. They didn’t seem to understand. The very idea ran so contrary to all other opinions on writing online out there, that she just couldn’t understand why I would want to run the risk of not having a focus to my blog. Well, there IS still a focus. The focus is me. Now, while that may sound extremely egotistical and self-centered, I believe I have multiple unique perspectives on life that no one else writes about at the moment. Sure, there are mothers who blog, there are food-lovers who blog, there are people in Perth who write about their experiences in this city. There are people who write roller derby blogs, and there are people who keep learning blogs of their university gleanings. But none of them, to the best of my knowledge, writes about their lives. It is seen as taboo, or that to do so is to invite an invasion of privacy too heinous to consider. I don’t think this is the case at all.
The people who read my blog may feel they know me from my writing, but I do not share everything about me. I choose what people know and do not know. The people who read my blog actually know no more about me from online conversations with me, than I would have with them in real life were I to engage in an meaningful conversation with them.
I am not just a foodie, a roller derby enthusiast, a mother, a partner, a student, or a body piercer. I do not have only these interests. I think in this brave new world of multiple active perspectives, in this place of everywhere and nowhere, we ought to embrace more the idea of flexible privacy. I can tell you about my life, without you having all the details and, in return I should be respected as a person enough to not have the privacy I choose to retain violated. I think this makes sense, don’t you?
*term may be somewhat loosely applied. Well, Douglas Adams did say “time [was] irrelevant…” I am merely following his lead.