Posted in Of Bloggingly, Of Life's Dramedies, Of Psyche

Of Personality

Zooey Deschanel Source:
Zooey Deschanel

One of the things I have realised as I’ve evolved in my blogging is the need to have an evolving personality for your blog as well. It is the easiest thing to do if you write a life or an opinion blog, because you only ever have to be yourself. Website creators advise on imagining personas of people that will read your blog. However, right from the start and even now, when I have sizeable readership here, I’ve noticed my audience as too diverse to mould into any specific persona. On the other hand, if there is a persona that I can imagine or at least, recognise, it is mine. And that makes me wonder, who is this person and how much of her is really me?

If this person is a her, in the first place. Perhaps, because my blog is predominantly asexual, I have a diverse readership when it comes to gender. This is not deliberate. I would say that I am a feminist, but not in the way as feminists are usually (mis)represented: angry, aggressive, defeminized or overly feminine, brash, opinionated (okay, maybe that one), someone who’d quote Germaine Greer every three minutes. This is, of course, a reductive, highly offensive generalization and no feminist I have ever known is like this. But, sadly, it is there in a vague form in the public consciousness. My brand of feminism is essentially humanist. I don’t ask, I quietly enter and do not budge when the area is clearly meant to be occupied by human beings. I am female without being overly feminine and I have a well-developed masculine side. For quite a few years, I have stopped apologizing for either. And that is what helps me write with a humanist voice here, where I talk about things from time to time that someone across any age, gender or culture could hopefully relate to. I try to have a kinder, accommodating, gentler view of life, and though those would all qualify as feminine qualities, no one in this day and age will exclude them from masculinity. To quote Patti Smith, this blog is, “beyond gender…beyond beyond.”

I try to write in a good-humoured way, because that is what I generally am. I write conversationally, because next to writing, that is my favourite form of associating with my species. That is why I don’t have the greatest regard for grammar or use a lot of jargon because, when I am having a conversation with someone I am meeting for the first time (which is, I suppose, the persona that I unconsciously think of as my reader every time I write) I converse with them only with the intention of getting along. Some may find it appealing. Some may think I have too much of a need to impress. I don’t know. I try my best.

One thing that makes me uncomfortable though is that because this is a life/opinion/culture/semi-humour/Psychology/Philosophy blog, which mainly talks about human phenomena from a specific individual’s perspective, there is a need to contextualise that individual herself, and thus reveal more of her life. When we look for personality – the way we think of or describe that person – we are trying to string together a series of adjectives and ground them in the material of that person. If I am trying to describe Zooey Deschanel (picture above), I will think: beautiful, feminine, great hair, big blue eyes, quirky, comedy, old timey, can sing. This public persona of hers is well-established, and I didn’t think differently of her until I listened to her music. She is a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, but the especial quality of her music, other than its flawless musicality, is the vocal personality that comes through. When I listen to her, I am not reminded of the traits that were established earlier, but of someone who sings with all her heart, who writes with the utmost sincerity, who is not afraid to be fragile or fun and whose music has, most of all, that primitive un-manipulated love that comes from singing not for an audience or chart success, but only for the need of it.

And that makes me wonder, is this Of Opinions persona that has been formed on the perception of my readers me or one of several me’s? I understand that it helps them remember me and come back for more, knowing what to expect. We’re creatures of habit. We turn to our favourite books or albums not as often to find something new, but to feel comfortable in the known. The known, in life, would be called boring, because we’re all told we must be spontaneous, unpredictable to feel alive and young. And yet, it is this boring known that has kept this blog going for six months, so there must be something that she brings to it, right?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

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