How do you stay true to yourself when you’ve lost the authentic self in the process of creating the professional self?
Once a while, people ask if I want to do something bigger with this blog. Like making it a “real deal”, writing on schedule, stacking up likes and putting up ads. I thought about it. But I don’t like it.
At the end of the day, the reason I created this blog wasn’t to share my wisdom to the masses and recruit them into a cult. When I started out, I didn’t even share the post onto my Facebook account (which at that time didn’t even have as many friends as it does now). I just wanted to keep the site private, secretive and true.
First stage: The rant
My blog, first and foremost, was a form of therapy for my anxiety and mild depression at the time. I was living away from home for the first time. In a different continent. In a country that speaks a language that I wasn’t familiar with. Envious of my high school friends who got to study in Australia, France, Germany, Canada, the UK and the US, all these fancy countries that are mentioned all the time on the news and in the textbooks. I was sad.
But writing made me realize, my problem was more than just sadness. It was ignorance. I was stupid. I wasn’t aware of my privilege. Wasn’t grateful for what my parents have done for me. Wasn’t thinking about anyone else but myself. It resulted in a series of blog posts writing about how I hated my life, my school, my country and whatnot. Full of hatred.
I wouldn’t delete those posts though, even though they are kind of embarrassing to reread. I think they were true to me at the moment. They capture my thoughts and emotion in time. And that’s kind of incredible. So I don’t regret anything. But I wouldn’t showcase it to the world and tell people to learn something from it. Because they wouldn’t see the journey as I’ve experienced it. They wouldn’t see me grow post by post. They just read one blog, and that’s it. That’s how they see me. The true me of 3 years ago wouldn’t be the same me today. But how could they tell?
Second stage: The public persona
At some point, maybe a year ago I did want to make blogging a profession. I was gaining more popularity at the university and in the Vietnamese community, so I thought maybe I could take advantage of this momentary fame and promote my site.
I knew people who did it. If they could do it, I could do it too. I’m not afraid of them.
I started writing more about my job. Sharing career advice and life hacks. Buzzfeed content. I struggled to write them. Didn’t really enjoy the process or the product. But I thought that was what people wanted to read. The SEO worked out great so those posts attracted more likes and views. They were kind of impersonal so I could share them in LinkedIn and showcased my writing skills.
Third stage: The crowd
As more people read my posts, I started feeling uncomfortable. A bit nauseous. Because like writers in the USSR, I was self-censoring my own writing, making sure everything was culturally appropriate, nothing was politically incorrect and everyone would enjoy it.
This resulted in me stopping writing altogether.
It was getting noisy. Way too noisy for my tiny little brain. So no posts for months. If there is, it’s random. Not a lot of meaning. Just a fill-in.
This stage: The self
So today, I decide to keep this blog personal. I’ll be as honest as I can be about my life, my job, my studies, my relationship, my plans. Social media has gone mad. I don’t want to be a part of the viral-wannabe trend. I’ll skip that be just a random Vietnamese writing some random stuffs on the internet.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for being with me. You’re more than welcome to comment and ask questions. I’m thankful for your support and I’ll keep everything down-to-earth and non-commercial.
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