Social media reflects who we are, and often times I can tell “who I am” at any point in time by what people ask me when we’re in person. In some cases, I can even tell WHEN they started following me online. People are onions, peeling in layers, each revealing a new part. Right now I’m the “homeless center lady”, but I’ve been other people, and I bet so have you.
I’ve been the “Lives in Los Angeles girl”. Taking pictures of crazy/funny stuff. Talking about things that I found amusing on the West Coast through the eyes of a Southerner. Writing about my job on King of the Hill.
I’ve been the “Hemp Necklace lady”. I sewed patchwork dresses and made hemp jewelry. I drew mandalas. I had an Etsy store.
I’ve been the “tomato/horticulture lady”. When I was going to NC State for horticulture, people often knew me as the plant person. I was working on some pretty cool things with heirloom tomatoes and had a little garden, access to a very big greenhouse, and plants were what I wrote about.
I’ve been the “Hawaii Girl”, taking beautiful pictures of my adventures working in a tropical botanical garden, learning a new culture, and living on an island.
I’ve been the “new dog lady”. There was a time when having a dog was very new for me, and I wrote about him pretty often. I dated someone who had 2 dogs, so there were plenty of photos and funny stories.
I’ve been the “soap-making lady”, trying out new techniques, new smells, taking pictures of freshly cut soap. I vended at farmer’s markets and festivals. I grew things that I then made into soap.
I’ve been the “chicken lady”. I got some chicken girls, hatched baby chickens, took pictures of cool, colorful eggs, and talked to people about chicken diseases, how to care for babies, and what kinds of things they like to eat (almost everything).
I’ve been the “bought a new house person”, and took everyone on a journey of buying a home, painting it, decorating it, and settling into it. I then became “Opening a new restaurant person”, and helped open a restaurant from scratch. These journeys happened back to back.
I’ve been “Angry Activist Person”, charged, political, shaking my fist and screaming from the rafters an whoever would listen. I’ve had someone who hadn’t met me in real life before open up their introduction with “Don’t start yelling at me about feminism and politics”. I laughed about it and told them that I also do other things in real life.
Now I’m “Homelessness Lady”, and while that sounds pretty scary to people when you say it out loud, it’s actually a pretty amazing place to be. I still grow tomatoes. I still have chickens. I still make soap. I still shake my fist for justice.
You can be and have been many things. You are a multi-layered person. We all are. As I told someone on Friday, “You are all of these people. Everything you need lives inside of you right now”. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, you’re not a “brand”, you are a soul.