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Beginnings 2

WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON WITH MY ONLINE PERSONAS?

Without a doubt this has been the most challenging piece of writing I have ever undertaken. I am quite literally incapable of completing it…

The construction of individual identity is so essentially human that it occurred long before today’s digital age. The ‘I” is never a natural entity, but is a social and historical construct. (Smith & Watson, p. 71), ‘linked to issues of power, value systems and ideology’ (The Critical Media Project, Key to Identity, para 2) Any change in these relationships will impact on it.

                          Reflections of Light
sunset reflection

Sunset Reflections

The process of being able to adapt the “I”, of being able to re-adjust identity as structure changes, has been a potent survival weapon. It allows us to best advantage ourselves in a changing world. Constructing online identity is simply another adaptation, if a dramatic one, a way of negotiating fundamental changes in social organisation, just as occurred duing the transition to literacy. However, neurological dysfunction can interfere with this ability to adapt.

The ‘natural’ perception of ‘self’ upon which ‘identity’ is constructed was once ‘a unified whole’.  Post-modernist theory has replaced this concept, developing an understanding of the ‘self’ as being fragmented and fluctuating, (Kellner 1995, p. 233, cited in Brown 2016), identity ‘as much a shifting as fixed thing’ (Barry 2017, p. 305), a series of ‘mes’ (Brown 2016) rather than the unified whole.

To understand the self as being fragmented is counter-intuitive; we ‘know’ the single, integrated entity, comfortably identifiable as ‘I’, ‘the sign which will give meaning to all others’ (Eagleton 1983, p. 131)’. The notion of fragmentation is inconceivable to any one individual in the course of daily life. There is no question about who that “I” is.

Stars

Like fractured stars

Despite its illusory nature, the knowledge ‘I am’ brings cohesion, and the ability to fuse the various fragments of what constitutes identity into a single, effective entity. This is not true of everyone. It is not true of me.  My self-perception is unstable, unreliable, and at times rapidly mutates in response to doubts, fears and social stresses.

My inability to function with self-confident cohesion results in a deep sense of alienation. In recent years members from four generations of my family have been identified as being autistic. Autism expresses as a wide spectrum of ability and behaviour; I am an “Aspie” at the ‘high-functioning’ end. Understanding the reasons for past problems, however, does not prevent others from occuring, and this is one of those times. I find it impossible to present an intellectually reliable, honest self-conscious analysis and creative self-reflection on ‘my online identity’ when I do not have a truly cohesive identity off-line.

The effect of autism is complex, and varies widely. For me the major impact is on perception of self,  and on socialising skills. Despite being proficient in English, I interpret language too literally, especially when spoken not written.  I frequently misinterpret words, comments, directions and actions, cannot fill in forms, follow a manual or written instructions, and if I can’t ‘wing’ it, need to be shown how to master any new activities.

I have poor socialisation skills and am socially awkward. I find it impossible to assess others accurately, and talk too much in order to cover up extreme nervousness and the fact that I do not understand what is expected of me. I am unable to adjust my expectations of myself, am hyper self-critical, always hearing  criticism even when not spoken. I am compulsive-obsessive on some issues, and I can’t cope if I don’t reach the standards I set myself. I find it difficult to make decisions if there is a possibility I could make the wrong one,  always seeking approval, but reluctant to become a bother, convinced others will judge me negatively. I am insistent on doing things for myself, with at times disastrous results.  I have poor body image, rarely allowing photographs to be taken of me.  Even reflecting on these things causes extreme stress.

Physically distressing levels of emotional stress built up over the years and  culminated in two things. Firstly the major anxiety disorder associated with autism eventually led to episodic immobilising depression.  Secondly I ‘spontaneously’ became an expert at ‘performative’ strategies; I learnt how to conceal ‘ME’ in order to survive. I frequently act out, and am conscious of acting out, improved imagined versions of myself when I am not safe at home. I am also aware of my ‘audience’ in non-virtual life, and the strategies needed to manage them.  I am successful enough to have people break out laughing if I suggest otherwise, and so I often feel artificial, even dishonest. In short, I feel disconnected.

hollins

Hollins Trophy 3rd place
         Canterbury NSW 2016
        permission note attached

This does not mean, however, that I do not have online accounts. I am active on Facebook, and Jennywren1445 Handmade. However, Facebook does not play a large part in my daily life, being used (sporadically) to keep contact with family and friends, and for co-ordinating with my grandson’s figure skating coach. The second page is inactive – I’ve never worked out how use it.

Self

WordPress is the second site where I have established a long term internet presence . This is my bolthole; I use a pseudonym as a protective device, and here I can let my sense of disconnection and my alienated ‘self’ run free. If anyone should stumble across my posts, my name is not attached.  I have several blogging streams, but again I only  use them sporadically.  Mostly I upload my poetry; true to form, most is unposted for public scrutiny. I have long periods of inactivity.

However on my WordPress poetry site I do address an audience. I write to me – I read as a critic does, and I read particularly critically. It is here where I can lose touch with the stresses and tensions of the world, lose track of time. The outcome is not so clear.  This is where I find my greatest satifaction, yet I am hyper critical of my own writing; at times I can’t tell if I am honing my verse, or overwriting. Moreover, it is not until I am sure of the standard of work, or so troubled I need to reach out, that I post. Even when I do, I dread the response.

 So the need to be aware of the nature of the audience, and to construct an appropriate online identity is easy enough here – it is me. Not many people in my unvirtual or virtual world are aware that I write seriously. WordPress is where I am my secret self; I don’t have to worry about judgement, I feel ‘whole’ – I lose myself. No need to conceal myself from me.  This online persona does not have any intentions of linking with the ones on FaceBook.

None of my websites ‘work’ as points of connectivity, as social spaces for building connections. (Brown, 2016) My online identities are not cohesive nor consistent.  What is evident is that, except for the regular contact I maintain with my grandson’s skating group, I have almost non-existent sustained social networking.

 

The third online identity I am in the process of constructing is that of Jean (lawje), Deakin Post-graduate student. In the few weeks this persona has been active, it has switched from super-excited to super-anxious, from confident of ability, to doubting it can cope with the new demands of off-campus study, from being excited by new knowledge to feeling overwhelmed and panicked by the digital media structures that have developed in the last 20 years, from being determined to engage, to beginning to withdraw from the group from self-doubt. That persona is struggling, but even so has had a few successes.

SLIDESHARE

THE CHALLENGE OF RE-ENTERING EDUCATION AS A SEPTUAGENARIAN
THE CHALLENGE OFRE-ENTERING EDUCATION AS A SEPTUAGENERIAN NO. I’M NOT BRAIN DEAD YET

Some straightforward tips to help maximize the success of those wanting to complete studies they have put on the back burner.

TWO FURTHER TWEETS

In the critical sense, the concept of online identity stems from the internet’s connectivity, relies on performativity, and the discourse of the self.  “Celebrity” drives the impetus to create online identity (Marshall 2010, p. 36). Marshall goes on to argue that the creation of online identity was developed as a

‘pedalogical tool … specifically a pedagogical aid in the discourse of the self … Celebrity taught generations how to engage and use consumer culture to ‘make’ oneself.’ (Marshall 2010 p. 36)

This is a fascinating observation. Celebrity and the discourse of the self appear to be consciously taking on the role of which Literature itself was – and is – accused. Culler argues that

‘Literature has long been blamed for encouraging the young to see themselves as characters in a novel: running away from home to experience the life of the metropolis, espousing the values of heroes and heroines in revolting against their elders, and feeling disgust at the world before having experienced it…

Literature is said to corrupt through mechancisms of identification. (Culler 2011, p. 114)

Most telling is the motivation. It is a consumerist strategy, designed to sell self-image, and to groom generations to focus on ways to self promote through the purchase of material that allows them to reproduce images in homage to the Celebrities involved.

Nothing could run further counter to my ‘persona’. I hide myself to avoid attention, not attract it, I conceal the fact I write, my confused ideas of self make it impossible to construct a cohesive identity and Marshall’s concept of performativity and Celebrity is alien to me

poster Performative behaviour of the Celebrity and the commercial infrastructure built up around each one is designed to attract attention. It is meant to gather admiration and social prestige, while the characters become both pushers of products, and the product themselves. Marshall (2010 p??) designates the purpose of this is the training of generations on ‘how to engage and use consumer culture to ‘make’ oneself. Marshall is cited by Brown as saying that ‘self-production is the very core of celebrity activity’ (Marshall 2010, p.39)  It is critical that in this culture, the ‘self’ is able to develop strong strategies to avoid being manipulated.poster1

Performative behaviour here is the opposite to mine – mine is one of concealment, a construct intended to misdirect and especially to take attention away from true identity,  not designed to attract attention, to gather admiration and social prestige. (Marshall cited in Brown, p. 39)

Finally there is the question of access and expertise. I have been left behind by technological change. So while I have excellent access to an increasingly democratic web, paradoxically its extra-ordinary elitism works against my ability to make use of that access. Access does not mean automatic ability to use the technology.

According to Smith and Watson (2012 p. 82) questions of access and equity means that the vast majority of the world’s population does not have access to the internet.

siddashi

Siddashi: People living on the other of the Coin (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The question of access is critical. Even in a society such as Australia, there are large pockets of people, geographic, economic, social, and neuro-physically atypical, who are affected. My personal experience indicates that without facilitation, their futures will be limited.   We need to find ways to ensure that everyone has full access to  exciting social changes, and challenge by current dominant power systems, located in advanced industrial centres.

REFERENCES

Barbour, K and Marshall, D 2012, ‘The academic online: constructing persona through the World Wide Web’, First Monday: Peer-reviewed Journal of the Internet, vol. 17, no. 9, 3 September, retrieved 18 July 2013, <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3969/3292#p3.>

Barry, P 1995  Beginning Theory, An Introduction To Literary and Cultural Theory, Manchester University Press, Manchester

Brown, A 2016 Multiple Me(s):Thinking Through My Online Self, <https://adamgbrown.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/multiple-mes-thinking-through-my-online-self/>

The Critical Media Project, Media literacy and the politics of identity – resources for educators USC Anneberg, Key Concepts, Paragraph 2′ n.d Retrieved November 29, 2017< http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/about/key-concepts/>

Culler, J 2011, Literary Theory, A Very Short Introduction, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Eagleton, T 1983 Literary Theory, An Introduction, Blackwell, Oxford

Kim, C 2012-2014 ‘Musings of An Aspie, Executive Function’, <https://musingsofanaspie.com/executive-function-series/&gt;

Marshall, P D 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48.

National Autism Society UK, What is Autism,retrieved 20 December 2017

Smith, S and Watson, J 2013, Virtually Me, A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation, in Poletti, A, & Rak, J (eds) 2013, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin. Retrieved: 30 November 2017 <http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/deakin/detail.action?docID=3445384.>

National Autism Society UK, What is Autism, retrieved 20 December 2017 <http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is.aspx>

Smith, S and Watson, J 2013, Virtually Me, A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation, in Poletti, A, & Rak, J (eds) 2013, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin. Retrieved: 30 November 2017 <http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/deakin/detail.action?docID=3445384.>

BEGINNINGS

WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON WITH MY ONLINE PERSONAS?SLIDESHARE

Without a doubt this has been the most challenging piece of writing I have ever undertaken. I am quite literally incapable of completing it..

Constructing identity is so essentially human that it arose long before today’s digital age. Constructing online identity is simply another adaptation, if a dramatic one, that humans are making to negotiate fundamental changes in social organisation, just as we occurred duing the transtion to literacy. The process of being able to adapt the “I”, of being able to re-adjust identity as structure changes, has been a potent survival weapon. It allows us to best advantage ourselves in a changing world.

The ‘natural’ perception of ‘self’ upon which ‘identity’ is constructed was long perceived as being ‘a unified whole’.  Post-modernist theory has undermined and replaced this concept, developing an understanding of the ‘self’ as being ‘non-essential’, fragmented and fluctuating, identity ‘as much a shifting as fixed thing’ (Barry, P 2017 p 305) a varied series of ‘mes’ rather than the unified whole.

This is counter-intuitive; we ‘know’ the single, integrated entity,  comfortably identifiable as ‘I’, ‘the sign which will give meaning to all others’ (Eagleton,T 1983, p 131)’. The notion of this not being so is inconceivable. There generally is no question, either, about whom that “I” is.

Stars

Like fractured stars

Despite its illusory nature, the knowledge ‘I am’ brings cohesion, and the ability to fuse the various aspects into a single entity that functions effectively.   However, this is not true of everyone. It is not true of me.  My self-perception is unstable, unreliable, and at times rapidly mutates in response to doubts, fears and other stresses.

My inability to function without a deep sense of alienation is connected to the fact, recently discovered, that at least 4 generations of my family are on the autism spectrum. Autism expresses itself in a variety of ways; I am at the upper end of the spectrum, an “Aspie” and this knowledge thas helped me more clearly understand myself, and the struggle I have to be able to function.  Knowing, however, does not prevent problems from occuring, and this is one of those times. It is impossible for me to do an intellectually reliable, honest self-conscious analysis and creative self-reflection on my online identity.

This does not mean that I am not active online. I hold accounts on Facebook, including my crochet page,  Jennywren1445 Handmade. The main role Facebook plays in my day to day life is very sporadic, not in the least consistent, and I largely use it for contacting family and friends, and for co-ordinating with my grandson’s figure skating group. The only other Internet presence I had was blogging sporadically on WordPress. shouting out is my bolthole, where I write under a different name, where I can let my sense of disconnection and my alienated ‘self’ run wild. Most of my poetry uploaded, but remains unposted. Not many people are aware that I write – this is my secret self.  There was no connection whatsoever between my online identity there or with my FaceBook personas..

hollins

Hollins Trophy 3rd place Canterbury NSW 2016 permission note attached

What is significant is that none of my websites ‘work’ as points of connectivity, as social spaces where I deliberately try to build connections for me with anyone specifically, save in the most rudimentary of senses, and my online identities are not cohesive or consistent. I do not use my online life as regular part of social networking, except in the case of my grandson, and I have never sold even one item from my Facebook site; I have never been able to work out how to do it, have given up trying , and am too embarrassed to ask for help. My online identity and my sites follow the patterns of autistic behaviour. I simply have almost non-existent social networking.

The effect of https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>autism on identity is complex, but in my case its major impact is on socialisation skills, and on perception of self. I am hyper self-critical, always hearing the criticism that is never spoken, always seeking approval, convinced others will hold me in contempt or, even worse, pity me. There is no logical reason for any of this, but even discussing it causes stress.

I frequently misinterpret words, directions and actions, cannot fill in forms, cannot follow a manual or written instructions, and usually need ‘hands on’ help in mastering any new activities. I am compulsive, and unable to adjust my expectations of myself.  I have never been able to discuss personal issues with anyone, not even following when it concerned inappropriate sexual behaviour. I am also insistent on doing things for myself, with at times disastrous results. I talk too much in order to cover up what is extreme nervousness.

All of this results in physically distressing levels of emotional stress, culminating in major anxiety and episodic, immobilising, depression.  To get by I ‘spontaneously’ became an expert at ‘performative’ strategies; I learnt how to conceal ME in order to survive. People meet me and often find a confident, noisy, sociable extremely talkative person.  Until I fold under the pressure.

Self

My Self

David Marshall has published extensive research on the creation of online identity. He connects ‘Celebrity’ with the drive to create online identity, and argues that it was developed as a

‘pedalogical tool and specifically a pedagogical aid in the discourse of the self … Celebrity taught generations how to engage and use consumer culture to ‘make’ oneself.’ (Marshall PD 2010 p 36)

The idea of Celebrity being a ‘pedalogogical tool’ is concerning. Performative behaviour of the Celebrity and the commercial infrastructure built up around each one is designed to attract attention, to gather admiration and social prestige, to be a pusher of products, while themselves BEing a product . That Marshall designates its purpose to be the training of generations on ‘how to engage and use consumer culture to ‘make’ oneself is even more so. In Adam Brown’s lecture notes, Marshall is quote as saying that ‘self-production is the very core of celebrity activity’ (Marshall (2010, p.39)  and ‘the organisation and the production of the on-line self’ … has become at the very least an important component of our presentation of ourselves to the world’.  This is a fundamental gulf…….Performative behaviour here is designed to attract attention, to gather admiration and social prestige – not to create a place where the ‘I’ can escape reality, find a have

.

Reflections of Light

sunset reflection

Sunset Reflectio

‘ .

l

:’

 finish up, it is important to tackle the most critical question of access identity or online persona, it is important to start with acknowledging both the extraordinarily structure of Web 2, and its extraordinary elitism. [QUOTE] Leaving aside the inheritant struggle between the majority enjoying its freedom and increasing connectivity, and the elitists who struggle to maintain old power relationships between those who are socially, politically and culturally dominant – the  creative ‘experts’ and their ‘audience’, who are passive and reactive (QUOTE HERE), there is the most critical issue of access. The vast majority of the world’s population does not have unlimited access to the internet, not through reason of political repression, but through questions of access and EQUITY ….. This is an issue to which I will return

It was to a great extent expedience rather than ‘self-conscious.******

However unlike many of my generation, I had other sites where I was active. In the early 2000 I established a web site for my husband’s Jerobi Basset Kennels, Jerobi Bassets, which is still up on Bravepages as legacy site. This was the first website I was involved with, and I did all the coding etc. Then in 2011 I started sporadically blogging on WordPress. This is where I centre my passions – blogging, and particularly writing poetry. I’ll come back to this in some critical detail …. tie to emotional and mental problems (QUOTE) Around the same time I set up a further website for ATACTAS – Action for Tasmanian Autistic Children. In addition, I’ve put out the bulletin etc etc ”’

However, it is my newest online persona that is most problematic and ????

Adam says

careful manipulation, image control, need to vary focus, different aspects to understand, to perform appropriately, to a specific audience, highlight what will most advantage, what will least damage


is uniquely placed in relation to comprehending the significance of these social changes. We grew up in the world BDT – before digital technology. Our identities developed under, and at times in conflict with, top-down power structures: the majority of us were not produsers, but passive consumers.

  1. Today, the structures that emerged alongside the development of literacy, are being challenged and replaced. The transition to a society that is based on digital media, with all that this implies, is revolutionary. We are constructing our identities in a totally new way. The impact of the shift we are experiencing will be in the long term greater than the changes that occurred in the pre-literate world as it made its transition to structures newly re-organised to accommodate changing social relationships

THREE TWEETS 

1

  1. Barbour, K and Marshall, D 2012, ‘The academic online: constructing persona through the World Wide Web’, First Monday: Peer-reviewed Journal of the Internet, vol. 17, no. 9, 3 September, retrieved 19 December 2013, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3969/3292#p3.
  2. Barry, Peter,1995  Beginning Theory, An Introduction To Literary and Cultural Theory,
  3. Bruns, A 2009, “From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation.” Paper presented at Transforming Audiences, London, 3-4 Sep. 2009., Retrieved December 2, 2017, <http://produsage.org/node/67>
  4. Culler, J 1997, Literary Theory, A Very Short Introduction,

  5. Eagleton, T 1983 Literary Theory, An Introduction,

  6. Friedland, Jonathon
  7. From memory

  8. to sexuality, the digital age is changing us completely
  9. Gauntlett, D 2011, Media Studies 2.0, and Other Battles around the Future of Media Research, Kindle ebook

  10. Gauntlett, D 2011 Theory UK, Social theory for fans of popular culture. Popular culture for fans of social theory.

  11. Martin, Jay 1988, Who am I This Time? Uncovering the Fictive Personality, W W Norton, New York, London, Ch 1, The Life You Live Might Not Be Your Own, pp 21-35

  12. Marshall, P D 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48.
  13. Naughton,J 2008 Blogging and the emerging media ecosystem, <https://robertoigarza.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/art-blogging-and-the-emerging-media-ecosystem-naughton-2006.pdf>Smith, S and Watson, J 2013, Virtually Me, A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation,in Poletti, A, & Rak, J (eds) 2013, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin. Retrieved: 30 November 2017 <http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/deakin/detail.action?docID=3445384.

 

Martin, Jay 1988, Who am I This Time?Uncovering the Fictive Personality, W W Norton, New York, London, Ch 1, The Life You Live Might Not Be Your Own, pp 21-3Naughton,J 2008 Blogging and the emerging media ecosystem, <https://robertoigarza.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/art-blogging-and-the-emerging-media-ecosystem-naughton-2006.pdf>Smith, S and Watson, J 2013, Virtually Me, A Toolbox about Online Self-Presentation, in Poletti, A, & Rak, J (eds) 2013, Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, University of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin. Retrieved: 30 November 2017 <http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/deakin/detail.action?docID=3445384.>

The Critical Media Project, ‘Key Concepts, Paragraph 2, The Critical Media Project.’ n.d.< http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/about/key-concepts/>  Retrieved November 29, 2017

THE MANY MOODS OF OUR VALLEY pg 1

I never tire of looking at our valley … from sunrise to sunrise no matter the weather there is always something to see.

 

REFLECTIONS OF LIGHT

Sunset Reflections

Sunset Reflection 2017

This photograph represents so much about reflection, about illusion, about layered reality.

Living high on the Gretna escarpment in the Upper Derwent Valley, our family home looks out towards the imposing Mount Field. We see – we experience –  so much more of our world than a narrow strip of sky above us. Central to all is the never-ending change that every season, every day, every hour brings. Nothing is static, everything is in motion, yet the world itself is stable, solid, timeless; a guardian.

I think of personal identity in much the same way. We experience constant shift and change, and in doing so we are often the very dreams of our own imagination.

Yet how we imagine ourselves is often not the way in which others see us. We plan at least part of it that way. We deliberately hold back those elements of our personalities in which we no pride, aspects we don’t admire, are ashamed of, of which we are uncertain. We all hold secrets we don’t care to share.

We genuinely hope that people will admire and respect us, our ideas, our work; at the same time we are determined to maintain our integrity. This is not always a possibility.  When the gaining of admiration and respect clashes with keeping to principle, it becomes a clearly self-contradictory notion. We would be foolish, however, if we ignored those aspects of character which are problematic for those important to us; friends, lovers, children, parents, teachers, employers, employees, those who live with us in our communities. Image is more important than we acknowledge.

Constructing identity is so essentially human that it arose long before today’s digital age. We have survived from the very first in a world strongly weighted against us. We have always needed a potent survival weapon, and adjusting our identities has allowed us to not only to survive, but extract the best advantage for ourselves in the world we live in.

There never has been, however, a time before this age where human beings have been so able to act the chameleon, to play the part, to shape themselves to the extent to which we can today. It is not simply the advanced, brain-dazzling technology that now allows us to interconnect in real time over unimaginable space.  It is not just the speed in which technology develops into more sophisticated and breathtaking forms.

Our whole way of ‘being’ has been transformed, and social existence altered forever. The changes are fundamental,  irreversible, and they will prove to be more revolutionising than the transition from preliterate  to literate society.

Identity is carefully manipulated and designed in today’s world. The more visibile members of our society are highly sophisticated in the way they consciously structure specific images to suit occasion and purpose. Even if we are among those citizens who prefer to maintain a below-the-radar profile, we cannot avoid it. We are certainly left behind by those young people who have to negotiate their way through life in a very different world.

The careful manipulation and control of image, of focus on different aspects of a personality, to understand, and to perform appropriately, to a specific audience is essential. In stating this, I also acknowledge the need to be able to deliberately highlight what will most advantage, what will least damage me, what will facilitate ‘success’ and conceal failure. It is imperative to do so if I am to ‘succeed’.

At other times, however, when I write my poetry, I deliberately and painfully peel the skin back as I explore what makes me who I truly am…