It’s All About Me

about-meFor a long time, my About consisted of a single sentence:

Karen lives in Philadelphia with a patient husband and a lovesick cat.

It was short, it was snappy, and I felt it revealed enough about me, and left enough to the imagination, to give readers an idea of the voice they might hear if they found their web browser tuned to that particular station that is Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.

Or perhaps it didn’t reveal anything at all. Which, let me add, would be okay with me, by the way. I learned early on in life to give vague answers about my personal background, to turn conversation away from myself, to make jokes, to deflect, to deter, to focus attention on any other bright shiny object in the room other than, you know, me.

Because back then I believed that if we actually talked about me, you might find out that I grew up in a violent, alcoholic home. You know those news stories where the police spokesperson says, “There is a history of officers responding to reports of domestic disturbances at this address”?

Yeah, well, that’s the sort of house I grew up in.

Anyway, it’s a skill that has served me well to this very day, this ability to focus attention on others. I still have it, even after five years of therapy that made me strong enough to tell the teenager bagging my groceries, the LDS missionary knocking on my front door, and the (possibly rabid) raccoon rooting through my garbage, “You know, my dad was a drunk and my mom was clinically depressed.”

In the work I do now, I spend a lot of time introducing myself. There I am, behind a desk, or behind a cup of coffee, shaking hands and launching into a sort of Reader’s Digest condensed version of my resumé, what I’ve come to think of as my “Professional About”: this is who I am, this is what I do.

And then it’s my turn to be quiet, to listen to their “About.”

Karen lives in Philadelphia with a patient husband and a lovesick cat.

Sometimes, if you listen carefully to another person’s “About”, you can hear all the stuff they’ve left out.

The image in this post comes from the Internet, and it’s been so widely disseminated that I’ve been unable to determine attribution.


11 thoughts on “It’s All About Me

  1. Karen says:

    Ahoy there! It’s Day Six of Blogging 101.

    Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page, then either adapt it into a widget on your home page or add it to your menu.


  2. This British-American Life says:

    Very moving, Karen. I am welling up.

    I met a airman in transit in the Air Force one time who introduced herself by saying, “I grew up in a Polish-Catholic family in Pennsylvania, and I left home.” I replied, “So did I.” We shook hands after that and did not have to elaborate.

    Liked by 1 person

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