On this blog, I write about pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. And people read my words. Now that’s a weird enough feeling in and of itself, but I’ve noticed something else, as well. The fact that I know people read what I write, and that people I know read what I write, affects what I write. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, let alone if I could stop doing so even if I tried.
I am, by nature, an appeaser. I want people to be happy. I don’t want to rock the boat. When a potential conflict rears its head, I’m more likely to step aside at personal cost than to make an issue of things. I know this. It’s just part of who I am.
But I also know that people tend to present themselves differently to different people. We all wear masks, and I am no different. By definition, those masks aren’t a true indicator of who we really are. For instance: someone may present themselves in a calm and professional manner while at work, but on the weekends dress up in medieval armor and beat their friends with sticks (a completely random example, by the way). Obviously they’re not going to show up to work in armor, and they’re (hopefully) not going to attend an SCA event in a three-piece suit.
Here is where my tendency to appease and my habit of wearing social masks come into conflict. I have both friends and family that read this blog. Now, I know for a fact that I present myself differently to my family than I do to my friends, almost by necessity. I have grown and changed as a person since I moved out on my own, but my family will inevitably build their mental model of me based on who I was when I was younger. Just as I do with them. Normally, this isn’t that much of an issue, but sometimes the changes can be more drastic than not.
Like I said, I tend to want to make people happy and not make a scene. As such, I’ve had a tendency over the years to keep my opinions to myself. It’s often easier that way; I don’t exactly have what I’d call a forceful personality. But over recent years I’ve gotten used to being able to express my own opinions, not in the least because my self-selected circle of friends shares a large number (but not all) of them.
So I find myself with a slight conflict of interest. Do I present myself as who I feel that I am, full stop, damn the consequences? Or do I put on a mask and temper my opinions, continuing in my habit of keeping things smoothed over?
I’d honestly like to be able to do the former, but it would take some willpower to break years of habit and reflex. Like I said, I really don’t want to offend people. But at the same time, I don’t want to present myself under false pretenses. Wearing a mask is such an ingrained reflex that I’m not sure I could take it off completely even if I tried. To say nothing of whether or not that’s even a good idea. After all, polite society requires at least some level of deception.
I’m not asking for advice. I’m merely thinking aloud. I feel like I’ve taken the first steps in peeling away the mask, especially in my more philosophically-oriented posts. And it is definitely easier to do so in this written environment than face-to-face: I have time to think and plan out the best way to communicate what I’m trying to say. To say nothing of the fact that, in the end, this blog is my space. I should be free to do whatever I please.
Either way, thanks for reading. Here’s hoping my writings don’t make family holidays too “interesting.”