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On My Desk

February 20, 2010

There’s me in 1986 in a newspaper clip, smiling in my Brownie uniform and holding a long “ribbon” of five-dollar bills to be donated to the local library at the opening of the new McDonald’s in my hometown.

There’s the quote I gave in 1991 as National Teen Director for the 30 Hour Famine that got picked up all over the country by the Associated Press.

There’s the article I wrote for Hispanic Magazine about taking my husband’s name right after I got married in 2003.

There’s the photo of my mom in 1968 modeling some culottes for a J.C. Penny catalog shoot.

There’s a full-page ad featuring my dad in 1983 pointing under the hood of a Cadillac with a screwdriver.

There’s my son at nine months old looking up with what appears to be love at a model pretending to be his mom in an ad campaign our team put together in 2007.

I love these images.  I love looking at them every day and grounding myself in the connections between what I do and who I am.

This afternoon, as always, in the moments it took to shut my computer, ride the elevator to the lobby, walk outside and get in the car with my family, I was redefined.  I went from colleague to wife, manager to mother, employee to daughter and adviser to friend.

And, just as social media is transforming advertising and public relations, it is also giving rise to new expressions of this kind of personal self-creation.  Yesterday, my friend Alex de Carvalho put it this way: “We write ourselves into existence online.”

I’ve assembled a collection of photos around my desk that tell a certain version of the story of me; similarly, social media now affords us new ways to become who we say we are.

That little girl who smiled for the newspaper photographer 24 years ago is and is not the woman who spouted soundbites for the corporate video this morning.  Here’s hoping that through this blogging project I’ll transcend beyond assembling the best version of me and actually become her along the way.

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