Saturday, June 30, 2012

unsegmented



my life is segmented.

there are parts of my life that are completely unaware of the other.

the segmentation began when i started the alias "foodie hunter" over four years ago. everything i believed about the life i thought i was going to have at the time...changed.


after seven years together, i was not going to spend the rest of my life with the person that i promised i would. there are no words to accurately describe what that loss feels like. 


the sis was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. she stopped eating. the name "foodie hunter" was born out of poking fun at myself because i was trying to track down things that she could eat. we were and are in this together.


work wise, things were great. i really loved the people i was working with and i was obtaining some mind boggling unexpected recognition. i remember i was at a table, surrounded by great coworkers, who were all laughing at me because i really had no idea that the executive at the podium at the company wide meeting was saying all of these nice things about me before my name was called out to receive an award for exceptional contribution. i really did think they were talking about someone else. this amused everyone but me at the table.

while all of these experiences were going on, i knew that i wanted...no needed....something different. i needed to make something, to learn something, and to be creative. i wanted it to be just for me. a secret. my room of my own. i knew that social media was something that intrigued me from a technology perspective and when something....anything....intrigues me, i set up a lab. 


so i created the "foodie hunter" alias with multiple types of online presence and analytics....a mini-ecosystem. 


i decided it would be a place where i would pursue passions for writing, cooking, and photography....while pushing my ever private self to be more open. i would write in all lowercase to have an immediate visual indicator that this is not a formal space. the tone of the work would be deliberately intimate. a 1:1 connection similar to when speaking to closest loved ones throughout the night....watching the sun rise. this would be my most private voice.....the voice i use for my sanctuary. i decided that making it public (gulp) would force me to grow as a person. the foodie hunter lab experiment appealed to the ever practical side of me as well. i would be able to use this practical experience with social media and incorporate it into my work. 


what started out as a learning lab experiment changed everything for me.

everything.

it began when it slowly became known among a certain circle of friends that i was the person behind the alias. almost everyone was supremely surprised...especially with the raw authenticity of the voice. friends of friends...as they found out...treated me differently. there was an open acceptance that i wasn't expecting. it is also fascinating how there is a group selecting process... observing which friends would decide to tell whom....and how there are still "in real life" folks that don't know.

i can always tell when someone has read me. there is an unguarded recognition on their part and an air of assumed intimacy. it is slightly unnerving to know that someone knows you ...or has seen some of your most private musings....when you don't know them. yet, these days...instead of making me cringe, i've accepted it.

things got complicated when i was being recruited to become part of a team to take a company public and obtain many stamps in my passport. the opportunity was exciting and a wee bit scary in an exhilarating way. it also meant having to lock-down on who knew that i was "foodie hunter". this is when the parallel segmented identities really began.

things got more complicated with shout outs from famous bloggers, online publications, and getting pictures on global sites like san pellegrino.

then things got even more complicated when i heard that amy invited this guy she used to work with named richie nakano to a party where a bunch of us were pitching in...and how it was possible that he and sky were going to show up. it was complicated because it was around the time i was avoiding the guilt-laden scolding tweets from "linecook" about not announcing myself when eating, taking pictures of, and writing about hapa ramen food under the foodie hunter alias.

this is the real reason i outed myself to richie by the way.

i mean really...lets think about this.

if he and sky showed up at a small party and i was taking pictures + tweeting about it as foodie hunter....richie was going to figure it out anyway.

so i went to the back of the stand, vic + richie were probably like "who the fuck is this?" before i outed myself saying "i take pictures under foodie hunter" and that we both knew amy....then i scurried away....with richie yelling after me "hey! what's your real name?". i was so bitter. the parallel lives were not suppose to be converging goddammit. fucking san francisco and the zero degrees of separation.

i didn't know at the time just how fucking complicated it was going to get.

later on, kitty's brother wasn't able to work OtG at the last minute and richie texted me asking if i would help out. i said yes. i showed up. i worked service. this was the start of my third segmented identity....one that developed over the last couple of years. there are folks that only know me on sight as someone on the hapa crew. they ask me things like "is hapa at the market today?", they know me from seeing me at the kitchen, or i get discounts because they associate me with hapa and i purposefully go less often now because i don't want to take advantage.

the segmentation was initially necessary and has caused some issues in each separate life.

a prime work life example was when i was in hong kong for meetings and presentations with the APAC team. i snuck in a few slides about social media and being on the look out for regional/localized equivalents to twitter online or on smart phones....as a way to interact and build community with product install bases. especially since mobile devices were already a commonly accepted lifestyle choice (i.e., mobile phones + mobile app development were a hella lot hotter in the early 2000s in asia than the states). i stressed that it was about making connections and enabling users to make connections with each other to build a dialog about brands. this was a presentation i gave about 4 years ago. they hadn't even heard of twitter. during this session they looked at me like i was crazy when i got to these slides. i couldn't explain that i was able to see and experience first hand how the evolution this tool and those like it....had the potential for providing another significant touch point with customers and building a community around a product or brand....because that would mean telling them about the foodie hunter lab that i absolutely positively wasn't suppose to have.  

see what i mean about fucking complicated?

the last couple of weeks have been very challenging on many fronts. it has reminded me of what is really important in life and how short our time is here. it has also forced me to review the past few years and recognize why i wanted and needed portions of my life....or portions of me....to be segmented.

yet, that was then....and this is now.

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