I’d like to introduce you to someone.
Actually, unless this is the first post you’re reading, it’s someone you already know. You just may not know it.
Dear reader, meet Laura. Laura is the voice of this blog. Laura says things about feminism and tells stories and makes jokes and loves disclaimers.
And you will never run into her on the street, because this is the only place she exists.
No, I’m not going into a crazy Matrix loop here. I just want to talk a little bit about narrative theory, for funsies. It’s what I do.
(First point of confusion: which of us is the “I” here? Is it the live, breathing human being whose fingers are hitting the keys or has that being’s brain already translated it into her charismatic but ultimately deceptive narratrix?)
For the sake of clarity, let’s pretend the person using the first person in this entry is actually me, the person you have probably shaken hands with in objective reality at some point. It’s not. Even this entry, which is trying to tease apart the narrative voices in my own supposedly autobiographical blog, is being curated by my consciousness, including and omitting what I choose so that the idea of who “I” am comes to you filtered by who I’d like you to think I am.
Of course, the person you met was likely also a performance. Most of us are. Most of our selves are. The idea of the singular, monolithic personality is one that the collection of neurons that I at this moment have at my command believe to be mythical. Laura Stratford is thousands of people. Maybe you’ve even seen them collide, when meeting my parents or when seeing me in a new context. Work-Laura and have-a-beer-Laura are different people. And I’ll let you in on a secret, even Laura-by-herself is often a performance, a person enacted for an invisible audience that intellectually I know doesn’t exist but intuitively I want to entertain.
But back to the blog-world. I was talking to Lila the other day and explaining (and realizing while I explained) that the person who narrates my blog isn’t the friend who complains to her about petty things. Laura (third person will be my narrator) is the person that I aspire to be. Sometimes–even fairly often–I get to be her. I get to consistently believe in the things in which she believes, to feel content in my life, to be excited about my work and fulfilled by my relationships. I hope you won’t think it too self-centered or strange to say that I like Laura quite a bit. That’s why I’d like to be more like her.
It’s not realistic, though. Most of the time, unless she really wants to delve into something, there are certain topics she shies away from. The internet doesn’t always want or need to know about my personal life, the fights I’m having, the doubts I run into at 4 in the afternoon, the crush I’m trying to keep a handle on. There’s a lot of less-than-sunny stuff that is better suited for conversations with people I love or for quiet musing, and so Laura’s post for the day is a picture of a cute animal or a strange face. This isn’t a problem. I don’t want my lovely narrator to be me in every wrinkle and flawed pore. Although I’m a very open person, my life doesn’t need to be an open WordPress book (PDF? Website? Whatever). And this stuff, the small stuff or the hard stuff or the dark stuff, is part of being human. It’s part of having the lungs and feeling the pulse and getting the headache after drinking too much. Those are sensations Laura will never have, and doesn’t need, although she could probably describe them decently with some of my help.
We’ve gone away from the interesting theory part of this entry, and so I’ll wind the threads up with a point: Thank you for reading the things I choose to write about. This is me, admitting that they’re a conscious choice. And I hope that Laura keeps you entertained when you do read. But for those of you who know me, you might remember that she’s not me. Not entirely.
No matter what my psychiatrist says.