This is my first post on the Amorelandra blog, and it’s also my birthday.

Coincidence? Maybe. Probably not.

There’s no specific reason this birthday should feel particularly special, but I do tend to become rather introspective around this time of year. I suppose me celebrating my birthday has served in a cathartic capacity for much of my life. This year, I decided to buy myself a website and blog. This seems like an appropriate gift. Happy birthday, me. Let’s see if I actually do anything with it.

This post comes on the heels of my recent change to the use of Amorelandra as my primary handle for various online properties. This was a personal handle I had been using for some time. I had initially planned to wait until today to make the change, but I got impatient and did it at the beginning of the month instead. August. My birthday-month. Birth month. It’s fine—it still counts—whatever. Completing the change earlier allowed me to silently iron out a few of the unexpected kinks involved in things like swapping my Twitter handle.

The “unification” of my online identities is something that had been on my mind for some time, and I felt like my birthday was an appropriate opportunity to do something about the way I had been feeling. I had grown quite disconnected from the ‘persona’ I felt had become associated with my previous handle. I had also recently become more aware of the adverse effect this had on my overall sense of well-being. I felt boxed-in by an image of my own creation. I decided that I had to kill it to move forward.

I wanted to be more open about myself. The result is that I now feel more vulnerable. This isn’t actually a bad thing, although it felt like it at first.  I didn’t anticipate feeling this way before I made these changes, but I’m still glad that I did. It feels like less operational overhead for me as a person. It feels less wrong. I’m no longer attempting to compartmentalize aspects of my identity—at least in the same manner. I’m hopeful that as time goes on, I’ll feel increasingly comfortable with this vulnerability.

With all this said, I am of course still reserving some of my more personal thoughts/moments for an exclusive audience. I think this is a balance that makes sense for me in the current contexts of online communication. I even came to discover this approach is widely-adopted enough to have a name: AfterDark. Although it admittedly can have a somewhat lurid undertone, it’s fascinating as a cultural phenomenon. I found this concept rather amusing at first but upon further thought, I was struck with a tinge of sadness.

Why have we become so afraid to be our (whole) selves online?

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