I’ve always had a hard time writing my About Me page. Sure, there are guides that tell me to write my name, personality, occupation, or skills. That’s easy enough, but I still encounter problems. Sometimes, I feel that it comes out pretentious. Sometimes, I think I’m just boasting. At other times, I think that I make myself too plain and boring. After thinking about it, I think I don’t know myself well enough. So how can I discover who I am? How can I effectively write my About Me page?
To answer that question, I tried a lot of things. I took personality tests that told me that I have an INFJ personality. I also asked my friends to describe me. I even rummaged through my horoscopes, encircling the descriptions that seem to apply to me. While those methods seem helpful, I still feel that they’re not enough, so I kept on thinking of a better way of knowing who I am.
Tonight, I realized something as I was tinkering with my blog: if my life is a story, then I’m the main character. It should then follow that characterization–yes, that element of fiction–should work to help me have a better understanding of who I am. I just need to go through my social media profiles, journal entries, and blog posts to help me!
As far as characterization goes, writers reveal aspects of a character directly and indirectly.
Direct characterization happens when the writer offers descriptions about the character. Using my Facebook account information, I can safely say that I’m turning 30 in two months; I live in the Philippines; and I work as a program manager. On Twitter, I describe myself as writer, aquarium hobbyist, and insane. Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t have written “insane” there, but that seemed accurate at the time. So far, so good. Easy peasy.
On the other hand, indirect characterization happens when the writer reveals facets of a character through the character’s words, actions, and reactions; it also happens through other characters’ description or reaction to the main character. This seems to be tricky since it involves analysis. My last Facebook status message is “What’s your favorite moment in #gameofthrones season 4, episode 10? There’s so much to choose from, but I’m not one to give out spoilers.” I wrote that because I was curious to know if my friends and I share something in common apart from liking the same TV show. I actually picked the scene with Tirion and Jaime in it (and I’ll stop at that because I really hate giving out spoilers) because I believe that brothers (and sisters) should love each other no matter what. The only friend that replied to that post said that she likes that scene, too, and in that regard, I think I can say that I don’t really have a lot of friends; however, the ones that I have can relate with me, and we share the same values. Ok, so that took some effort, but I still think that’s easy.
Characters can also be classified by virtue of complexity.
A flat character is one that is relatively simple. They do not usually change over the course of the story. I can definitely say that I am far from simple since see the world in blacks, whites, grays, and all the colors available on any color picker. Like a round character, I am very complex since I usually answer yes-no questions with a resounding “It depends.” I know that to some people, it’s irksome since they don’t usually need an explanation of the factors that I look at just to get a “yes” or a “no.” Ok, so no sweat.
Moving on, characters can also be classified as static or dynamic when we look at their ability to change.
I think I’m not a static character because I have already changed so much. About three years ago, I considered myself as a Grammar Nazi, but I realized that language changes. That’s why I try to pay attention to descriptive and prescriptive grammar. Of course, there are a lot of other instances that I could use to show that I’m a dynamic or changing character. I just hope that the changes that I will undergo would be for the better.
Using just those considerations, I’m able to say that right now, I’m a 30-year-old program manager who likes the color green but sees life in many colors. My round and dynamic personality seems to pose a problem when my About Me page is concerned since I won’t be able to write one that would capture all the facets of my personality. If ever that I do, those descriptions might not apply to me for long. Nevertheless, I think that this way of self-examination proves useful when the time comes for me to revise, and I hope that this post would benefit other people learn more about who they are while also understanding characterization.
Did you try examining who you are using this technique? What did you find out about yourself? Did this technique reveal anything new about your personality, or did it reinforce characteristics that you already know about yourself? Please leave a comment below if you have something to share!