PAULthinksmusings by a feminist
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This isn’t some self-derogating whiny post, actually. I don’t know for a fact that I’m a bastard; it just seems likely as I was given up for adoption at birth. And no, I didn’t mean multi-faceted (but thank you so much if that’s how you interpreted it).

If a two-faced person is one who shows one face to a certain group of people and a different face to another group, then I must be multi-faced because I feel like I come across as a slightly different Paul in every gathering.

It’s not that I’m lying (I write, lying to myself), it’s that I allow different characteristics to shine through at different times. I figure, when it comes to expressing one’s personality, there’s a range of behavior going from completely uncensored at one end to entirely secretive at the other.

For those at the secretive end of the spectrum, personality traits only seem to appear when they want something. They might want to impress on a date or a job interview. They might want to be entertaining at a party. They might want to be pitied and receive special treatment. But for the closed-mouthed, the default behavior is to keep information hidden.

The other end of the spectrum is people who are generally unfiltered (like me) and say and do whatever they care to do, no matter the forum. Unless they want something, in which case these folk hide parts of their personality. And the motivations are just the same as for the secretive people.

For example, at work I generally hide the fact that I feel things. It gets in the way and there are plenty of others who wear their hearts on their sleeves. They call me a robot. Hahaha! I know, right? Yet by doing this, I get what I want, which is for people to assume I’m infallible and unswayable. But since I’m not dishonest about it, I’ll occasionally show some sign of emotions and it’ll freak them out. Really, I’m being considerate by keeping that all out of sight.

When I go on a date, I try to hide my self-esteem issues. It’s not like I tell women that I think I have a great body and all the ladies want me — which would be straight-up deceitful. I just take those words and behaviors that would convey a lack of esteem and put them away for the couple of hours that the date lasts. They’re sneaky buggers and some of them slip out into the open anyway, but I try to keep them in check. I do this because I want more dates. Usually.

There might be more special circumstances, but the usual reason why I want to hide any part of my personality is a desire to fit in. I don’t think that’s unusual; I’m just not sure how common it is.

I’ve thought about this concept, that there are more faces to the real Paul than most people see, in particular since I first started meeting people from twitter. A very common sentiment I hear is that I’m a different person in real life. I’m always surprised by that because I don’t try to be. I’m just myself.

It makes me wonder if I’m less self-censored on twitter or in real life. On twitter, I want to be entertaining and helpful but I also want to get out the frustrations I feel that would otherwise go unvoiced. In real life, I want to avoid being excluded and treated as a weirdo but I tend to say whatever occurs to me. I’m always me but sometimes I’m less myself than other times.

Am I doing this right? Should I never try to censor myself or try to keep more secrets? Have you met me in real life and found a great disparity from what you thought of me online? Or experienced me in the opposite order?

It’s a weird notion to me that I think I know myself very well but that the me I know might not be the one you see. I’ve seen all my own faces. I wonder how many of them others have seen?

About Paul Roth

A vegetarian, agnostic, lindy-hopping, dog-loving tv-watcher who likes to read his own words.
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