What a bizarre fucking week. In fact, I think it might be up there in the “weird week” stakes with that week in April that we don’t talk about because I want to not cry. But in a different weird kind of way. I have a bit of an out-of-body thing going on, particularly with my Twitter account, this whole notion of personal branding vs “being yourself” vs being “professional” vs my identity etc… and it’s really just been weird.
I am feeling a little raw and exposed about it, to be honest. My online “persona” has collided with me as a person… and I don’t know where that shift suddenly occurred, but I am finding that less and less people get what I am doing. More people seem to think that I am actually like this “tealou” person, and it’s almost become an expectation… like I am some circus monkey that has to lay on the filth or something. Heck, some people even call me tealou, even when I say not to. It feels bizarre, because it has gotten away from me and I don’t know how to switch it off.
I am not sure if it’s either a case of severely missing the mark, the demographics of Twitter changing (and thus resulting in less… errr… intelligent people), or because I now have a personal stake in the reaction because a lot of my Twitter followers are also my friends. Because then I go through this thought process… that I met them through this channel, which means there is this expectation of someone more… boisterous… our foul-mouthed… or emotionally needy… or flirty… or whatever. And I find myself playing this part, because people seem to like it… and then it gets me in trouble and does actual damage, hurts someone, and I go “SHIT! This is all just a joke that got out if hand!”
It may surprise you to read that I am actually very quiet 98% of the time. I am socially awkward. I would prefer to read a book over watching TV. I would prefer to watch TV than have sex… I would give my last dollar to anyone who needed it more than me and I actually avoid confrontation and backdown from bullies more times than I should. In many ways the “real me” is quite… opposite… to the “tealou” me… but as we move on, I find myself feeling pressured to be the funny one, or the crude one, or the one who says things to provoke… rather than being the multi-faceted me.
For the @tealou persona? It’s not a misrepresentation, per se, of who I am. It’s more of an id version of me… using the challenge of 140 characters to say what you are thinking, or to make a joke, or whatever. I have a strength with the written word and Twitter is great for that.
But, I dunno, things have gotten weird. Maybe it’s because of my new status as a “single” woman, that people are now reading everything I say like I am somehow desperate to find a man or something. It’s actually quite the opposite and I am so not interested in anything like that… I just want to be alone. But I dunno, something changed. I was reading a brochure about divorce and how your friendships can change when people perceive you to be “after their husbands”, whether it is the case or not. Maybe there’s a little of that… where… what used to be safe & funny to say as a married woman…. vs…. what’s safe & fun to say now that I am single… that on some level I need to accept that everything I write is going to be read differently from this point on? It’s so weird because it’s so not me.
As I have said before, I started the tealou username when it was anonymous. I built this following over time, and its weird because it has now become fused with my “real name” and people truly expect you to be exactly who you say you are. What a bizarre shift… that Facebook caused… to the point where most people now expect on some level, you to be yourself. But the Téa you see is the Téa that has to adopt this mask in order to even leave the house. The Téa that you meet is overly friendly, and even flirty, because I find it so unbelievable that anyone would like me, I try my hardest and smile & laugh… because that’s what “confident” people do, right?
It’s so bizarre. I haven’t yet figured it out. Part of me wants to kill the @tealou persona, but then, I have an audience and it has led me to so many wonderful people… people I would never have connected with if not for that. But how do I get to have both authenticity and interest? Because frankly, without the swearing & snark, I am actually kind of dull. It’s a hard one, huh?