No, I do not actually have a multiple personality disorder. Which is not to say that I am the picture of mental health. I am a writer, after all. But this is one clinical problem that I have been professionally reassured that I do not have. (Unless, of course, my other selves are conspiring to keep me in the dark.)
Questions of my sanity aside, however, I am now acknowledging that who I am, exactly, is not the easiest thing to keep track of. I finally got around to adding a “Who is Chris Pontius?” page here. You may or may not find it enlightening. And I will be the first to admit that it is, at best, vague and noncommittal. Because I’m still working on the full answer.
You see, I’ve been thinking this over for quite some time, but being back in the search for a day job while simultaneously committing to indulging my creative tendencies has forced me to make some decisions as to where I draw my lines, how I choose to define myself. Myselves. And this is what I’ve come up with so far:
1. My boring day-job self. This is what potential employers see if they don’t bother to follow the clues in my LinkedIn profile. Meaningless BA degree from a college they’ve never heard of; a fractured grad-school career; x number of years experience at this, y at that, and z at the other; and a fairly typical skill-set for a 40-something nerdgirl. Nothing truly exciting.
But I’m not quite so naïve as to think that there is any way to keep my other selves’ fingerprints off that profile. People who know my more interesting incarnations connect to me on LinkedIn, and quite frankly, the thought of keeping my LinkedIn profile all nice and focused and sanitized is downright tiring. So I made a conscious decision not only to quit fighting it, but to promote it to some degree. So instead of focusing on (I guess “branding” is the buzzword these days) my boring day-job self, I include allusions to my versatility. To my other selves. Such as…
2. Stina, a sort of free-form creative. I play music, well enough that sometimes people actually pay me to do so. And they have yet to offer to pay me to stop, which I take as a good sign. I write mystery stories, some of which have been published, however obscurely. My paternal grandmother taught me embroidery, and I recently picked up a quilting project we started together when she was alive. I’ve been reading since the age of three, and I now consistently review every book I read. I’ve published a few poems here and there, and one time I dashed off a little quatrain for a display at a bookstore café and was paid in coffee. (I wonder what would happen if I wandered around Old Town with a sign, “Will rhyme for coffee.”) I like melting pretty bits of glass to make jewelry, and again, sometimes people pay me for it. I’ve been a shutterbug ever since Dad loaned me his 35mm to take to church camp when I was a kid, and while I’ll never be a pro, I have a lot of fun with it and think I have turned out some pretty nice images. And I love to tap dance. I’m even kinda good at it.
Even within this persona, I have several nicknames that have attached to me over the years. Stinalyn and strixaluco are the most common. My stinalyn blog here serves primarily as an archive of my Goodreads book reviews, but if you go back far enough, you can see its origins as a general-interest blog that incorporated lots of Flickr photos. Is it wise to let potential employers know that I drop the occasional f-bomb in public and sometimes do silly things? Maybe not. But y’know what? I don’t really have the energy to care about it anymore. Yes, potential employer shaking your head as you browse my Flickr photostream and wonder just how many photos one woman can take of New Mexican clouds (answer: lots), I’m not fretting over what you think of me. You will either hire me or you won’t, and if you don’t want to hire me, then I don’t want to work for you. So there. 😛 (Was that childish of me? ::sigh:: Probably. Again with the not caring.)
And then there’s…
3. Chris, the professional writer. This is a tough one to describe, as it’s at once my oldest persona and my newest. Some of you will get that. Most of you won’t. And I’m not sure I want to explain it. For now, you will just have to learn to live with the ambiguity and watch the stories unfold.