She looks familiar, no? Yup, that's me. Hardly the coy and coiffed creature in my profile picture to the right. But still. It's me. And a fair representation of what I look like between the hours of six and nine in the morning. Oh, and between the hours of seven and ten at night. (Lucky Husband!) The point of this post is (not really) that I forgo contact lenses and makeup and hairbrushes (and modesty) some of the time. No. The point is that I am now officially friends with myself. What?
Yes. True. And if you are not on Facebook, or are unfamiliar with it, you might want to stop reading now because the rest of this post will make little sense. But if you are in the know, stay with me...There are now two, yes two, Aidan Donnelley Rowleys on Facebook. And some of you lucky souls out there are friends with both! Yes, they are both me. Personal Me. And Professional Me.
Personal Me page has a profile picture of me with Husband from C's wedding. Champagne smiles. Marigold gown. Fabulous hair. Bow tie. You get the picture. On this page, I have posted many pictures of my little girls because I love to share pictures of my little girls with my close friends and family (oh, and the 430 other people whom I have very carefully and thoughtfully befriended).
Professional Me page is brand-spanking new. And utterly empty. There is just a profile picture (same shot of me above with luscious locks in the throes of faux-laughter). This will be my professional hub of sorts, where I will post more links to this blog and where I will make life-changing announcements about The Book. As I type this, I am in the throes of authentic laughter because the word professional seems hilarious to me. (At the moment at least.) I do not consider blogging to be my profession and my book is a year out. So, this is all kind of funny. Ha.
But at the behest of my fabulous web designer (the incomparable Jena Starkes of Peniferella Creative) and several other people who know more than I about having a career everything, I have set up Professional Page. I think there was also the option of asking you all to be my "Fans," but that is even more preposterous than the idea of Professional Me! People are fans of sports teams and rock stars and best-selling authors and celebrities, not of thirty-year-old recovering lawyers with two kids and an Ivy League hangover.
But I do sincerely apologize to all of you out there who have received (or will receive) a second Facebook friend request from Professional Me. I know this is probably confusing. And likely annoying. Feel free to reject the request. Professional Me is slightly less sensitive than Personal Me. I apologize because I know just how you feel. Because I received a friend request from Professional Me too. Yes, in my inbox, there lingered a message that read:
To: Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Subject: Aidan Donnelley Rowley added you as a friend on Facebook...
And I thought about it long and hard, but I confirmed the request. And voila! I had a new friend. Me.
Now this all struck me as beyond humorous. And beyond practical. I do not want anonymous blog readers to see pictures of my babies. Or Husband. Or my extended family. Or me in a bridesmaid dress in a swimming pool. Perhaps this is naive pipe dream at this point, but I would like to keep some things private. Also, I do not want to bombard friends and family who might not give a hoot about my blog or my book with links about my blog and my book. Practical. Rational. All good.
BUT. Then I thought about this all some more. I now have two Facebook identities, a blog identity, a Twitter identity. I have alter egos all over the place. At best this is bizarre. At worst, this is worrisome. It's hard enough to nurture one identity in this world, let alone four or five. How will Personal Me - the wife, the mom, the friend, the sister, the daughter, the cousin, the classmate - be affected by this bevy of digital Doppelgängers? At best, maintaining all of these pseudo-selves will amount to a considerable time suck. And, like the rest of you, I don't have time. At worst, this will fragment my focus, take me away from the creatures who matter most to me. Time, energy, and thought invested in the virtual world means time, energy, and thought stolen from the real world. Cheerio.
But it didn't stop there. For me it never does. No. I was struck with an even more abstract and interesting (to me) question: Can we really separate our personal and professional identities anyway? Who we are as parents, as people, affects and informs who we are as professionals. What we do (or don't do) professionally directly impacts who we are as a person, who we are as citizens and friends and family members. This personal/professional divide might be something we crave and covet, but this schism of selfhood might ultimately be a self-serving enigma, a fiction of the highest order. But this is not necessarily all bad. No. If we are satisfied in our personal relationships, perhaps we are better professionals. Conversely, if we love our work, if it inspires us and emboldens us, perhaps we are happier, fuller, better parents and people.
Who knows. What I do know is that much of the time I don't know what I'm doing. And much of the time I worry about the fact that I don't know what I'm doing. (Which is why it is fitting that I have a blog of this name.) So, really, this Facebook stuff is just another instance where I am fumbling around. Someone said "do a professional page" so, like a good girl, I said: "I'm on it!" And now in the Facebook forest, there are two ADR trees. One all scraggly with bedhead branches. The other a bit more picturesque and proud. But we all know they are two sides of the same tree.
I don't know about you, but I'm happy to have a new friend. She seems a bit scatter-brained and it is slightly alarming (and nerdy) that she is contemplating questions of personal identity on a sunny Sunday morning. But I think she means well.