Many people that follow me online see me post everyday. They see what I eat, what workouts I did, what my opinions are on the latest healthcare concern…but do they know me? Is that the real Angela?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because as I meet people in the real world and they become my friend on facebook or instagram, I find myself saying this: “It’s my professional page, so it’s not real. I mean it’s all real, but it’s not personal.”
Why do I feel the need to say that? Is it because I don’t think I am portraying my real self and they will notice this when they see my posts? Is it because I’m trying to hide myself from internet land? Am I fake?!!?
The answer to that question goes something like this:
I am the least fake person you will ever meet. Everything you see on facebook, instagram, my blog, etc is all real. What you won’t see are things about intimate parts of my life. I am a very private person, and up until a few years ago never had an iPhone or facebook and certainly no intention of ever doing so. I would even go as far as to stay out of pictures with people if I knew they were going to post them on the internet even though they couldn’t tag me. So, when people meet you in real life and become your friend on internet life, they sort of expect to see what they met in real life….just a whole lot more of it! Since people won’t see that, I feel the need to warn them. When I think about what this may mean to those that only know me on internet land, I have seriously questioned whether I am being authentic. I quickly put that thought out of my mind though because the reason I decided to create an online platform was to be a resource for health information, inspire and give hope to those with health struggles, and to reach my audience that I never seemed to have enough face-to-face time with.
Does this pose a problem, this real Angela vs. Dr. Angela?
I don’t know, really. In some ways, I try to share enough of myself and my thoughts that people feel as though they can connect to me. I am a brand in some ways, but I am also a private person that values real connection. When you run into people that you know from the internet, in some ways you feel as though you know them, maybe have a ton in common, maybe you even know when they went on vacation, with who, and where. BUT, when you see them face-to-face and say “Omg, I see ALL YOUR POSTS and YOU CHANGED MY LIFE!” the person will feel grateful, humbled, and honestly…disconnected. (Maybe it’s just me.) If you met this person in real life and had conversations, shared struggles, went on the journey of discovery TOGETHER, you would BOTH feel that way. I am not saying this to discourage anyone from finding inspiration on the internet, but I am speaking to my tribe when I say that many of you have met me outside of your screen, we have talked, spent time, you have felt my vibe, and maybe you know a little about my life. For those of you that haven’t, I save all that for when there’s an opportunity to connect.
I am that person at a gathering that gets into deep conversation and often times that means with one individual and I will talk all night! That sort of thing fills me up. I want to ask questions, I want to learn about you, I want to see you. That’s just how I am. I think many times we see the entire story unfold online and when we meet that person, it’s one-sided, and hard to connect. There are some people that thrive on sharing the intimacy of their lives and feel connected to people by sharing their story. I am just not one of them.
So, how do you manage to be an extremely private person, that truly values the dance of conversation and body language to end up in a connected spot, that has a shared journey, and still be on the internet? I do that by posting everyday, on my platform, about things that I feel are worthy and valuable to the health of my community, and I hold back the real Angela for real life. There’s nothing more that I want than to inspire people, show them a side of me that gives them hope, and to be authentic in doing so. I just also want to go on the journey of discovery WITH you should we meet in person. So, the next time you scroll through my feed and wonder why you don’t see a lot of information about my life, know that I have consciously decided to leave some in the tank for that time I can connect and converse in person. It is me. It’s all real. It’s just not the whole story…