“The anonymity of MUDs gives people the chance to express multiple and often unexplored aspects of the self, to play with their identity and to try out new ones. MUDs make possible the creation of an identity so fluid and multiple that it strains the limits of the notion. Identity, after all, refers to the sameness between two qualities, in this case between a person and his or her persona. But in MUDs, one can be many.” (“Who Am We?, Sherry Turkle)
Having multiple personas is something that I have done for a while. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have several views running around in my head, each a bit like me and what I wanted to become. The Internet is one place where people can become someone they’re not and books and writing are the medium that I use.
On-line, I have this blog, which is a form of persona, my livejournal persona, who is self-centered and occassionally very vengeful and bitter, and for a while, my fanfiction account, who was a dreamer and rather flighty. Each one captured part of who I was.
Writing is the same thing. Chloe takes on my responsible and self-sacrificing nature (okay, so she’s a bit of a righteous martyr). Faith is my freedom and desire to be on my own, but also sheltered. Garnet is me when I feel stifled. Leslie has magic that I wish I had. Liana is mothering aspect.
And not only are each of my characters a persona, but so is each story. I have two tones that I write with, one significantly darker than the other. The darker one I intend to publish under a pseudonym.
I think that everyone creates personas, on-line and off, in order to express the parts of their personalities that others don’t always see. Personas are safe outlets for personalities that are buried beneath what we are expected to be or for personalities that we wish we had. They can also be extensions of ourselves.
So, sometimes I admit to answering the voices in my head and sometimes I answer “We are confused” for just myself, because everyone does have multiple personas. And some have multiple personalities, which makes life really interesting.
But, for the most part, there is no harm in expressing our personas, especially the ones that are more interesting than we really are.