The joy of writing comes, for me, mainly from the pleasure of exploring my thoughts. As I write my ideas and opinions solidify and harden in to fully formed passionate beliefs. Sometimes, I am not aware how strongly I felt about things until I write them down and share them.
As I have been writing these posts a pattern in my thinking is emerging. In making this move away from my safe and familiar environment it has made me question the construction of my identity. It has not only been this move to Brazil that has allowed me to consider the building blocks of my personality but also the presentation of my self which I share on the internet. The mediums I now use, to connect and communicate with home, offer insights in to how I construct the truth of my identity.
Of course, we all present many selves, a subtle shifting of our representation depending on our audience. I wrote previously about the melding of together of mine. Some of you reading this know me by many names, some by only one. As I continue to feel less afraid to share, and less compartmentalised, I am more wiling to open up each separate drawer in my mind and let you see inside. I didn´t know, when I stepped in to this shiny new life in grubby grimy Sao Paulo, I would find a stronger identity and more than that, a sense of relief and acceptance of who I was. Perhaps it is getting older, as I edge to the farthest corner of my 30s my confidence in who I am grows. Is it the fresh start created by coming here to Brazil? By moving have I managed to shrug off some of the layers of negativity and confusion which draped over me in Brighton?
As you move away from something you become more connected to it. By leaving behind my beloved Brighton, the UK, my home. By discarding my possessions I was able to make a stronger simpler connection to the things, people that really mattered. More surprisingly a connection to new people, people I have never met.
Before I left I used social networking a bit, I was just starting to see it´s potential. Here, in my displaced state the internet has been my biggest support. It has been the way I am able to keep hold of who I am, where I am from and where I am now. It has placed me.
Who is online Luci? This presentation of myself which I share with old and new friends. I often don´t recognise the online perception compared to the frightened little girl huddled in her 19th floor apartment confused and homesick. Despite wanting to share a true representation online we can´t help but tidy up the edges or neaten the hemlines of our personality, turn up the colours, adjust the brightness. I am guilty of googling information to make myself look more knowledgeable or checking song lyrics before replying to people. I select the best photos to share, the most interesting aspects of my life. Why wouldn´t I? Who wants to hear about me drinking tea or brushing my teeth? Or see a photo of me watching TV or writing on the laptop?
I have become close to some of my new online friends, like my Brazilian friends they have no back-story, only the internet front they have been reading. We have got to know each other through writing 140 character posts. One of these friendships has extended past the confines of the internet, so much so he wrote my ´real name´ the other day without realising. I liked this, it showed I had become more than this selected self, he had penetrated the Luci below. I had become rounded out. Perhaps some of the sheen had gone from my shiny online persona but in its place was a real human being to connect with.
What does this mean for my classroom? For my students? For me it is the recognition of the million little pieces which make up the students in my class. To remember we present all these different selves but underneath, the truthful core is always there. Look beyond the behaviour, the possible puffed up presentations protecting those frightened forming identities. Read the message in the presentations of self we share, for they are more than likely masking fear, insecurity or pain. I need to encourage, support, nurture and empower my pupils to seek the truth of their identities, to connect and to be real.