I got turned down for a job yesterday.

As the recruiter told me over the phone that they felt I wasn’t a good fit for the company, I remember having to hold my breath for a second so that I didn’t just let out a grossly audible sigh. I didn’t want this guy to hear the four years of desperation escape from me like air from a frustrated and tired balloon. I probably won’t ever see or hear from him again, but it seemed important to keep up appearances anyway. I’m conscious of how others perceive and judge me to an excruciating fault.

Something they told me in the last interview was that my writing was “too formal.” That left me taken aback until I remembered one of the first bits of feedback I got as a shiny-new freelancer was to make my writing more “personable.” I’d like to blame my formality-as-default on years of academia-driven essays and analyses, but I feel like four years on I can’t fall back on that excuse. Some friends and acquaintances have even mentioned to me that I hardly ever talk about certain parts of my personal life. I suppose it must be true then. I am a writer who can’t — or just doesn’t — fully express herself.

It does strike me as odd though. I’ve always felt like an over-sharer on social media and to my online friends. How can I be both over-sharing and too formal? Maybe it’s just that my self-image is drastically out of sync, in which case my anxiety about how people judge me isn’t even doing its one job. Get your shit together, anxiety.

Now I’m writing this in an attempt to be less formal. I know the death of a goal happens as soon as you tell someone you have that goal, but here’s my plan: I’m going to make a point of writing these critical, honest little personal asides on a regular basis. Force myself to tear down walls and whatnot. Side effect being that maybe my writing improves? I guess we’ll see how it goes.