If you were to look at my online presence, from this blog to my twitter feed to my Goodreads profile it becomes quite obvious that I am a passionate fan of New Adult books. The books that fall between the angsty teen protagonists of Young Adult and the full-fledged adult books riddled with characters that already have it all put together. New Adult characters have problems that surpass the often trivial problems of the high schoolers of YA, NA predicaments are real-world ones. The characters are dealing with long-term relationships, moving to new cities, holding down their first “adult” job. Try to explain this to someone after they ask you what the most famous NA book is and you have to reply, Fifty Shades of Grey. People’s perception of me changes when they know what I love to read and to avoid judgement only my really close friends and immediate family know about what I read.
When I interact with a stranger they encounter my outward public persona. Just earlier this week I was waiting for the bus, which happened to be running late (thanks Translink) and an older woman was waiting behind me in line. At first, she looked concerned about when the bus was coming and I informed her that it was running late. Next thing I know a group of students walks by us, two boys and a girl. The older woman taps me on the shoulder and starts shaking her head while she has a look of disgust on her face. She motions to the girl with this sneer, then she looks at me motions up and down and gives me a thumbs up. That girl who had walked by us was dressed in a tube top, baggy pants, and socks with slides. While I was dressed in a cardigan, blouse, jeans, and sandals. The older woman could not speak much English, but I knew what that look meant, it was not very different than the look my own judgy, vain Italian grandmother uses when she disapproves of an outfit. The older woman approved of my more conservative outfit and disapproved of the younger girl’s more revealing and free-spirited choice. I said thank you for the compliment she gave me about my outfit and was cut off from saying anything else as the bus had pulled up.
I cannot help but look back on this encounter and wonder, what if the older woman met my online persona. If she disapproved of what the other girl was wearing she would definitely disapprove of what I choose to read. My online persona, I do not really see as a persona at all. I feel as if my social media especially this blog, reflects who I truly am more than how I carry myself in public. When I am online I can interact with other people who enjoy the books that I love to read through Facebook groups, twitter, and the blogosphere. In public, I put on a persona that is quiet and reserved, and keep what I truly loved locked away until I know you long enough that I believe you will restrict judgement when I show you my read shelf on Goodreads.