In or out of the box

Is it one box?

Can you put all your passions and tasks, your past experiences and your ambitions into the same container? After all, they’re a part of you, and your one self.

I’ve been thinking about compartmentalizing–how I was one person at work and another person at home and maybe another when I stand up in front of a microphone, just for starters. Do I need to be all these separate people? Or can I be me–all the time?

Recently during a meeting about future job prospects, someone asked me what kind of poetry I write. I gave a kind of tortured, generic answer (free verse, formal verse, including some sonnets), when I could have pulled a copy of Into the Rumored Spring out of my purse and said, “Well, here’s an example.” I was making too strong a distinction between “work” and “everything else,” between my professional tech life and my poetry life. And I missed an opportunity.

But if I combine everything, am I deterring other opportunities?

On LinkedIn and on this blog, I have been mingling transitions, book announcements, writing questions, poetic craft. It’s all welcome, and I think that’s how I want my in-person life to be: Whether I’m thinking outside the box or working inside it, I want everything there.

Do you maintain separate presences or even personas for the different things you do? Or have you merged them into one glorious “This is who I am”? What trade-offs have you found?