“My life may be an open book but that doesn’t mean I have to read it to you.” This is what I think about my personal life. Talk to me and I am more likely to tell you of the lives of the people around me than my own. Get me to talk about myself and you are a very rare creature indeed. I don’t hide who I am but I don’t feel the need to broadcast it either…says the person who still averages 20+ tweets per day. Perhaps I should qualify, even if I won’t read the words to you sometimes I have been known to hold open the book should you care to read.
It reminds me of a line from Anyone But Me. It’s more than halfway through the first season and Aster and Vivian are arguing over the fact that Vivian is treating Aster as “the friend.” Quite rightly Vivian says, “I shouldn’t have to announce my personal life to people I don’t know.” Quite rightly Aster storms off in anger at being the hidden part of Vivian’s life. This is one of the many reasons why I love this show. You shouldn’t have to make announcements about who you are, but you should be proud of who you are.
Again today I was reminded of ABM. We were having drinks after the job was done for the week, drowning our sorrows in celebration that one of ours had gotten a permanent role on another team. Bittersweet. I heard people talking of the new guy starting next week and the word ‘slick’ is used to describe him. Two friends, a guy – possibly gay but who can tell these days, and a girl – possibly gay but who can tell these days, talk and laugh. ‘You’d better be careful he might try it on you.’ Laughter. ‘Yeah right, like that’d work.’ Uproarious laughter between the two. I leave you to decide which of them said what.
Watching the exchange, I wondered how difficult it is to have to come out again and again throughout your life, one of the questions explored in the show. Not just in terms of your sexuality, but any label. For someone, such as I, who chooses not to define themselves in terms of so many categories I wonder sometimes what labels are placed on me. Some things are obvious or loudly declared. Comic book reader. Filipino. Musical theatre enthusiast. Writer. ABM Super Fan. Traveller. I’m sure many other things are presumed.
You are who you are when no one else is looking, but when people are looking at you – who is it they see?