“Facebook is where we lie to our friends. Twitter is where we are honest with strangers” –via twitter
Like most writers, when I work I assume a persona, whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, blogging, tweeting, even posting on a Facebook wall. The persona is the version of myself I present to my audience, but also the role I assume in my mind as I write.
It is not a false representation of who I am, but it is selective.
I choose what to write about, what voice to use, who my perceived audience is, what to include and also what to leave out.
Take this one step further, and add social media to the mix. Rhonda Perky is an avid tweeter, but she does not have a Facebook account: that belongs to her alter ego.
For the most part on Facebook I am visible to and interact with people I have already met, and therefore, with whom I have some degree of intimacy. My twitter account on the other hand is private, yet I am followed by hundreds of people I have never met, and probably never will.
Of the two, I would tell someone, if you want to know the ‘real me’, read my tweets. But when I meet someone from twitter, I am conscious that their perception of me is only one aspect of me. It is truth, but a selected truth. This leads to some anxiety on my part, because what if the alter ego of me, the ‘whole’ me, is disappointing? I write and tweet about my adventures, about the quirks of life, the kinks and twists, often (but not always) sexual. The result is a hyper-sexualised persona version of me. I’m the girl who tweets about threesomes and bisexuality, who puts the fuck back into fuck buddy and asks for #justthecockthanks. All these things are a part of who I am, but only a part.
‘You’re no introvert’ a follower said when I tweeted about suffering from a bout of over-socialising. Those who know my alter ego will attest to my introversion, and also the fact that when I am overstimulated for too long my mental and physical health suffer. Ask my extraverted sisters who find my intense silence under emotional stress a source of acute frustration.
The problem with the perception of my persona is that I don’t tweet when I have nothing left to offer my loved ones, when I am forced to retreat into quiet, or when I cry myself to sleep because even Mistress Perky can feel #foreveralone.
Some of my friends have said to me before, ‘That post, there, that’s you, not Rhonda’. They distinguish person from persona, where sometimes I don’t. Because in many ways Rhonda Perky is the most honest representation of who I am, what I do and how I feel. Rhonda Perky has given me a way to explore a side of myself I knew was there, but that couldn’t exist as her alter ego. She was a crab in a basket, and crawling out just got too damned hard.
I don’t consider this to be any kind of psychological splitting. It’s quite natural for writers, celebrities, or internet wannabes to have personas. I’m not one to have set up multiple twitter accounts under different names to represent different parts of myself, but that is essentially what I have done between Twitter and Facebook and my blogs.
Recently my persona became an issue for me. When I was repeatedly thrown on the porn pile, one of my former lovers (those who follow me on twitter may know him as #FailBuddy) suggested I downplay my sexual side, that I let people get to know me — not Rhonda Perky — before jumping into bed with them. On the tail end of this I encountered two individuals who, having known only my online persona, I suspected were disappointed in the whole me, me ‘IRL’. Whether this was paranoia and projection of my own fears onto them in a particularly vulnerable time, I’m not sure, and may never find out.
What I took away from those experiences, however, was an awareness of my need to have confidence in the entire me, to not use my persona as a crutch, and then bleat my frustration that no one is willing to get to know the ‘real’ (whole) me.
Sometimes I am quiet. Sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I want to be held and loved, and want to love. I would say there are times when I don’t want cock, but that would be as much of a lie as saying I never want more than cock.
Rhonda Perky is me, but only a part of me. A part I enjoy, but I need to learn to enjoy and have confidence in the rest of me, too.