Tuesday, January 20, 2004


who have i been? who can i be?

so far, i've been mildly impressed by my first round of forays into the world of electronic personalities. lots to ponder on in this category of pop culture... ego, truth, creativity, anonymity, writing style as personality, reality entertainment, the perceived benefits to self of e-communications with strangers or friends, the importance of consistent grammar...

i have knowingly adopted at least two distinct alternative personas in my life. the first one lasted for 8 years, 4 months per year, with an option on taking it out for special occasions with select groups of friends. i created it when i was 13. a summer camp thing, as could easily be deduced, this version of me was friendlier, happier, less self-conscious, and more daring than what i had come to think of as my normal personality. it would never occur to me to think of that persona as false or contrived--it was who i wanted and intended to be, and over the years my every-day personality changed to come almost entirely into accord with my camp self. i've talked to a couple of friends with camp selves, and the implications of those personas have repeatedly caused profound changes in our more normal lifestyles. when i finally decided to end my employment with the camp, the thing i had the hardest time with was losing my right to identify myself with another name and persona and to ask others to address me solely as that person. fortunately, i've stayed in touch with several people who know that part of me, and as i mentioned i had gradually adopted most aspects of that persona into my every-day personality, but i still regret pieces of me that were submerged, delayed, or possibly even lost by cutting off the chance for regular usage of my camp self.

the second one is my playa self, which i started creating a few years ago but only named recently. so far i've used it only sparingly, for festivals and an occasional party. parts of this persona feel more contrived and more like a mask than my camp persona (albeit a sparkly mardi gras butterfly mask, not a phantom of the opera or greek drama mask). it's not as different from the more real me, and has been used just as often for its showy attributes as for any attempt at personal growth. on the positive side, though, this persona is still more daring, more willing to interact with strangers, and more fun than the personality i use, say, at work. this persona also helps me to explore my creative side and encourages me to play with toys, people, and styles that i might not have been open to otherwise. it has found natural ways to manifest itself in my every-day life, particularly in how i fill my weekends.

as i've started exploring more forms of on-line communication recently, i've definitely drawn strongly from my playa self. i'm interested to see how my on-line personality evolves and if it will come to more firmly resemble my play self, my normal personality, or some third persona. (and really, why am i treating it as if it'll be only one personality? it's much more likely to morph according to what forum i'm using or who i'm talking to--more so, i would think, than if i was interacting in person...)

ach--ramblings from a techno-neophyte.

therefore be it resolved: i'd love to hear stories about your personas.

therefore be it further resolved: i'm more determined than usual to seek out some of my camp folks that i haven't talked to in a while.

therefore be it further resolved: i'll try to think of ways to make orange more of a healthy, helpful, strong persona rather than just a facade and an excuse to be unusual.

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