While scrolling through a blog today, I came across a post where the writer stated how she feels that she uses a completely different voice on her blog, than what she uses in person. In the writing world, your "voice" is your writing style. Most people want it to mirror their real self as closely as possible, but not all folks feel that way. To some, it is freeing and empowering to have a completely different voice when they put their thoughts in written form. Reading that blog post got me thinking about my own writing voice and just what that means to me.
I try my best to use my authentic voice here on the blog. Whether I succeed in doing so or not, is probably up to you readers; perhaps those who know me in person could say if I'm managing to do it or not. When I write, I am writing to all of you, yes, but when I am working on shaping letters into a blog post, I focus on one specific person and write as though I am conversing with them. I am writing a personal letter to each and every one of you, in the end. I want my words to have "my voice". This is who I am.
The problem perhaps, is that I don't let very many people see the real me. If asked to describe myself, I would probably say I'm a quiet introvert with an over-developed sense of humor. I am quiet in person, but a loud mouth when writing. I'm not good as explaining myself, I have a hard time choosing words when talking, I'm a slow thinker, I'm better at listening than talking. I can get along with just about everyone, but I only open up to those that I feel really comfortable around.
If I feel comfortable around someone, I relax and my sense of humor kicks in. I love to laugh, and I love to make people laugh. Perhaps in the end I'm a mix of being introverted and extroverted? Even I can't figure myself out sometimes... I joke and tease with people I like; I can even get fairly animated when talking about a favorite subject. I quote movie lines incessantly, and use the proper accent each time. I use old, funny words that not many people use any more, like "Aye", "lackaday", and "methinks". Jack Sparrow is probably my favorite movie character to impersonate. (most common movie line you'll hear from me? "I'm havin' a thought here, Barbossa!" and that's complete with the facial expressions and body language that Jack uses. *grin*) I love to sing off-key, I love to dance. Oh dear me do I love to dance... I'm still waiting for the day when I can tell a PETA member that I'm a secondhand vegetarian: Cow eat grass, I eat cow. :) Seriously, I could have so much fun poking sly fun at a PETA member, while keeping an extremely innocent look on my face. I'm also waiting for the day when I'm on an elevator and someone steps in, just so I can say, "Welcome aboard! Just call me Captain!" And yes, I do still jump up in the air when the elevator goes down. I figure I may as well keep on doing it until my knees get too creaky and arthritic to do it anymore.
But then the other side of me kicks in when I'm not in a comfortable position. I can easily slip into being a very quiet, cool, guarded person. I don't mean to be that way, but seriously, I have no idea how to approach some people, or how to act/speak around them. I can hold my own with those sorts of people, but on the inside I'm desperately wishing that my cell phone would suddenly ring, or something would start burning in the oven.
My introvertedness (I have just created that word, by the way), is most apparent in the fact that I mask most of my emotions. Why I do it, I don't know. I'm the type who doesn't like to see things hurt, or unhappy, or see something die. I cry easily. It doesn't take much to hurt my feelings. But most folks don't know that about me. To many, I am calloused and hard. My straight face very rarely gives away the secrets of what I'm really thinking or feeling. Where this reservation comes from, I don't know. But something in me doesn't like to reveal my weaknesses. I may be in a turmoil on the inside, wanting to break down in some quiet spot, but on the outside I am laughing and smiling; seeming to have no care in the world. Or I may just be quiet and still while my levels of self control are being tested.
When I write, it's my moment to express myself the way I'm really thinking and feeling it. The mask comes off over here in this corner of cyber space. Writing a single post can take me an hour or more sometimes. I have to sit and think. And think. And mull things over, and think. Sometimes I'm scared to push the orange button that says "Publish". Afraid of the negative comments I get every now and again. Afraid of the hate mail that sometimes comes in my email inbox. It would be so much easier if I didn't write with my real voice... If I instead used some bland writing style that offended virtually no one. But I can't do that. And somehow I don't think y'all would like it if I did. Something in me HAS to write, and HAS to write it in the most authentic voice I can muster.
This blog is me, whether you recognize it as being me or not. Trying to coax me into a verbal heart-to-heart is gonna' get you nowhere fast. I clam up and go silent when someone starts getting too personal. If someone really wants to get a deep conversation out of me, then they have to write it out. It's just the way this movie-quoting, elevator jumping, English country dancing, farm girl ticks. I'm a strange bird and I know it. Perhaps even enjoy it. I write this blog with what I feel is my voice. Whether you like it or not is up to you. Would you like me in person? That's a good question. Do you like water? Well then you already like 70% of me, so you're more than halfway there. :)