I’ve been thinking lately about whether or not the image I project here is contrived.
This is actually stemming from the fact that even though I’ve plastered it all over the place, I am having a hard time with people other than my mom and sister calling me Irk. My dad said it the other day and even that was weird because he doesn’t usually.
I’m not the kind of person who dons different personas and names them. But I feel like Irk is just a piece of the whole Erica. And what you all out there call Irk and what I feel Irk is are different.
You know how as you go through life you pick up different nicknames and you associate them with people and circumstances that bore them? And how your different friends bring out different aspects of your personality, so you’re yourself with them, but your different friends see a different you? And the differences they see may be subtle. I’m not talking “I had no idea!” different. It’s like each of your friends is a different pane in the 360-degree mirror chamber they use on What Not To Wear.
Point being, this webpage is just a pane in that mirror, and it needs a name other than Irk.
So what is that name? I see that folks out there who are kind enough to toss me a link are using “irk” and “swirlspice” and “stuff and whatever” and had they asked me which to use (and on a couple of occasions they did) I wouldn’t (and didn’t) know what to tell them. But those aren’t any more or less meaningful to me than “Chem E” or “AXS” or “[previous employer]” or “iVillage” are. All of my friends fall into one of those buckets and it strikes me how easily defined these parts of my life are. Those are my connections to everyone I know. But I digress….
I’m not having any kind of identity crisis or anything. I know what I am. I attach labels to myself all the time. I decorate. I represent. That “stuff” column is one big label. This domain name is a label. My car has labels on it and is a label in and of itself. My clothes have labels on them. Hell, my computer has labels on it. All my possessions are a statement about what I am. “I couldn’t be bothered to match my scrunchie to my socks today.” “I like beech furniture.”
And interestingly enough, I use the paraphernilia that represents where I’m from, where I’ve been, and what I like to embrace my sense of belonging when I’m immersed in it, and to embrace my sense of uniqueness when I’m far afield.
Meanwhile, back at the subject….
I certainly know who I am (even if I can’t put it into words). Only once in my life have I ever felt the need to ask myself “who am I?” and that’s when I was coming out to myself. I think this is what pissed me off so much about the girl who called me high maintenance. She made me think, ever so briefly, that I should question who I am, because what I am is not what she was.
I very deliberately placed all this information here. And I very deliberately left out some things. Although with the exception of my last name, street address, and phone number, I can’t think of what those things might be off the top of my head. I’ve googled myself and nothing particularly strange comes up. Nothing I haven’t mentioned before, I don’t think. Maybe there’s that bit of paranoia lingering over the thought of potential and eventual employers making the connection.
Then how honest am I? Maybe a better question is how forthcoming am I? Sin of comission vs. sin of ommission. I think some of you are in a better position to tell. I suspect that those of you who know me in real life may answer differently than those who got to know me online first. Maybe some of you were looking at my left elbow in that 360-degree mirror and now you’re seeing my right ass cheek.
So back to the first question: Is my image here contrived? It seems the answer is “a little bit yes but mostly no.”
And the second question: what do I call this me (because you can call me what you want, what you really really want)? I think “Erica” will do just fine.