21 Sep 2015

Thought for Nought: Online Identities

Finding your own identity is a somewhat strange and unique process. There's a lot of mistakes, a lot of try-before-you-buy type experiences, and a lot of awkward, cringe-worthy memories. We all go through it: the process of piecing ourselves together. It's like an epic quest, setting out to search for previously undiscovered segments of ourselves that could be hidden anywhere. It's a perpetual journey. There are an infinite amount of pieces, but it gets easier. You lay out the foundations and build the walls until it comes to picking out window-dressing and little pieces for decoration, building a comfortable home for your soul to live in. You have the freedom to change it, too. To make renovations, tear down sections and erect new ones.

With all this work in building our identities and finally, after so many turbulent years, becoming comfortable with who we are, you'd think that we should have no problem displaying them. Of course there's going to be dark attics and dank basements, things that no one, not even you, really wants to see. But as for the rest of it, the places you are happy to inhabit inside your mind, there should be no shame in them, right? My experiences, and I'm sure many others', have told me otherwise.

Turns out there's a marked difference between being happy with yourself and being happy displaying yourself. We constantly make representations of ourselves that change in different contexts. Who we are with our grandparents is different to how we act around our closest friends. And I find that the same rule applies to our identities online, possibly even more strictly.

The Internet is filled with wonderful people, YouTubers and bloggers and artists and writers alike. They're all complex human beings, just like you, sitting in front of a computer, dealing with the hum-drum of everyday life. They all like a plethora of things, have innumerable interests and talents. So why do so many of us feel like we're stuck with just the one section of ourselves?

Society loves genres - categories that we can put things into and tie them up all neat and tidy. But people don't fit into genres. You can't take someone and pin them down to a precise description. You can never know everything there is to know about a person. They are vaster than oceans. The same goes for how we represent ourselves online. Besides blogs and channels that are specifically devoted to one particular topic, there are a lot of cases where people use the Internet as a platform to just be themselves. I like to think that this is what I use this blog for. And yet there is a little nagging voice in the back of my head saying "Lauren, you don't really write this kind of thing on your blog. It doesn't really fit. Maybe you should put it somewhere else."

Well, little voice, I'm not going to. I enjoy writing. It's a little part of me. And just because it doesn't quite mould with whatever this image of myself is that I've created here doesn't mean I shouldn't express it. Both genres and people are subject to change, after all. 

I say, push the boundaries. Raise your glasses to beauty gurus that share their love for video games, book bloggers that are passionate about food and sketch comedians that love a good rant. Just for one day, don't be scared of not getting views because you've not posted your typical kind of content, or dividing people with something new. Take a little time to make something that you really, truly love, and share it. Make yourself happy. It's much better than trying to shut yourself in a box.

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Yes, you've probably noticed that this is part of a new series. I've been thinking about posting a different kind of writing for a while, and what better way to start off than by writing about just that. I hope to be a writer of some kind in the future, so why would I not do it?

Thought for Nought is going to be a series of informal and possibly funny babble about topics that I find interesting, and hopefully you will too. See you next time!

xx

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