Litlove’s fascinating post on Borges and on her relationship to her blogging alter ego has got me thinking about my own relationship to Dorothy, how I am and am not her. When I first started blogging, I thought in terms of a persona; I thought that I was creating one, and that that persona was not me, and that I was happy to be creating a persona because it would give me more freedom, freedom to write in ways that the “real-world me” might not, and therefore freedom to explore parts of me that I don’t normally express. This is partly why I chose to take on a pseudonym, so that my online self could be substantially different from my regular self, if I wanted it to.
But that hasn’t happened really — I feel instead like Dorothy is really me, just with a different name. She’s not a separate person, a mask, or a persona; she’s me, but she’s not quite the “me” I think of as my real-world self. The writer of this blog doesn’t feel like a fictional creation at all, although, in a sense, she is a fictional creation, because our selves are all fictional creations of sorts. Writing this blog has made me more aware of how fictional the various versions of myself are, since it is so easy to shape my online self by giving out certain bits of information and not others, and this makes me realize that I’m always communicating different versions of “myself” to the people I meet, online or in-person, and I’m even communicating a version of myself to myself. The mental image I have of Dorothy is incomplete — I see one version and you see another — and this is also true for image I have of the “real-world me.” My image of myself matches no one else’s image, and who is to say whose image is the more accurate one?
Anyway, Dorothy is calmer than I am, than the version of “me” I’m familiar with. She’s much less busy than I am, and more certain, less nervous, and more chatty. She’s nicer and more open. She’s not as critical and she’s much more optimistic. She’s a little less self-conscious and more willing to try new things. She’s more of a group person, more willing to participate. She likes people more. She’s just as serious, but occasionally more willing to be silly. She’s more willing to talk about herself (or she wouldn’t blog of course!), and less concerned with what people think of her.
All that sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? It makes me want to be Dorothy … and perhaps the interesting thing about blogging is that it might help me become a little more like her. Perhaps after our online selves have been in existence for a while, we begin to merge with them.