Back when I was young and naive (and quite foolish, I admit now), I made some pretty bad choices regarding my online presence and they ended up almost costing me my job (and let’s not get into how badly it screwed over my relationship with my ex-mother-in-law). Since then, I’ve spent the past twelve years working hard to keep the different parts of my life separate.
I defined clear boundary lines for my different “lives” so that they wouldn’t cross.
- I don’t share my full name online anywhere unless it’s for my work (and then, only grudgingly).
- I operate under a pseudonym online for the majority of my recreational activities.
- I don’t like posting photos of myself online, and I especially don’t like OTHER people posting photos of me (and tagging me in them).
- I keep any pieces of my personal life that might be seen as “strange” as private and disconnected from my actual name/face online as possible.
- I don’t have a “real” Facebook account because I just don’t like how invasive it is, and also how meaningless a lot of it is.
But lately, that’s been harder and harder to do.
The things that I spend my time doing, the things that I’m interested in and passionate about — well, I want to talk about them! I’m not ashamed of any of these things, so it feels strange to want to keep them private, like they’re some secret. It just feels wrong not to mention certain aspects of my life when they might be quite relevant to the current situation.
I find that the deeper I get into my creative endeavors, the more opportunities I encounter to combine my various skills and interest, to make use of them for all kinds of projects. I’m gradually becoming more comfortable with some of my different lives blending together a little bit, and I’m realizing that if someone from my professional life finds my book blog online — so what? If people from my immediate offline life discover that I’m into tarot — who cares? These things are all parts of me, and they’re becoming more prominent and important in my life, which is evidenced by so many little things lately.
- I talk about maps (my day job) all the time in my book blogging life.
- I started talking about tarot on my book blog.
- I started talking about tarot on twitter and instagram.
- I talk about my bookish life (a bit) with co-workers.
- I’ve written a few book reviews on my (secret) tarot blog.
- I’ve used some of the things I’ve learned through book blogging in my professional life.
- I mentioned tarot to some of my co-workers and now I might do a project that blends the two (!!!).
- I’ve started connecting with some of my co-workers on twitter, instagram, and pinterest (which means they now have access to my book blog, and can clearly see that I’m a fan of tarot).
- I find it really difficult not to tweet about (and show off on instagram) all of the fun and creative projects I get to do at my day job, for fear of these two parts of my life having no more boundaries at all.
Not to mention, it feels like every time I speak to my mom, she’s making some passive-aggressive commentary about how I don’t have a Facebook account, and if I did, blah blah blah… I griped about this on twitter a few days ago, and the whole thing just makes me feel crappy. Yet still, here I am contemplating reinstating my old FB account to “reconnect” with all these people… Sigh.
Why do I still care about the boundaries?
I have several friends and acquaintances who pretty much seamlessly blend their online selves with their professional lives, and it seems great. It actually seems fun and relieving! But I think that maybe it wouldn’t be as easy for me.
- Would I have to censor myself more on twitter/instagram if they were tied to my day job?
- Would I inadvertently turn some of our clients away if they realized that I read tarot?
- Would I have less of a professional impact in my work industry because I have a YA book blog?
- Could some of my online content get mixed in with search results for my employer and have some unexpected/unsavory consequences? (I mean, sure, it’s mostly cats and books, but you never know.)
The more I think about it, the more I realize that keeping my professional life separate from this part of my life is probably a good idea, at least for now. Sure, my co-workers know I read tarot, and some of them know I have a book blog. But that doesn’t mean I need to connect these things any further than that.
But what about everything else?
I have been wondering about combining the bookish and tarot parts of my life, though. I mean, you guys all know that I’m into tarot. Up until now, I’ve kept my tarot blog under a pseudonym because I didn’t want it to be traced back to me at all. There’s a lot of personal introspection on there that just needed a safe place, you know?
But the thing is, I hardly ever have time to update that blog anymore. For a long time, it served as a place for me to catalog my journey of learning tarot, exploring things (and documenting them for my own reference later). Now, I probably post about tarot more often on this blog than I post on that blog. Sometimes I have post ideas and can’t decide which blog I should put them on, because they’re about tarot AND books!
Could I somehow combine the two blogs then? Could I start writing my tarot-related posts on here instead? Would anybody want to read those on here? Would I feel comfortable writing those deeply introspective posts on here? Do I even bother with tarot blogging at all anymore?
(This still doesn’t even address all of the creative projects I do for work that cross over into these other two lives of mine, and I have to refrain from discussing on my blogs. Alas!)