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A matter of identity

As a break from the crap and boring whining without a quiz (because I know that's the only reason you read behind those LJ-cuts in the first place), there's this. Enjoy it.

So. Spawned from a conversation with a friend, I've started thinking. Everyone has a self-image, right? How they see themselves. Despite being borderline there's always been a small core of things that carry over into my personality no matter who is defining it. One of those things is my penchant for the weird, the strange, the unexplainable. The New. This is, I think, one of the main reasons I'm a fan of the work of Warren Ellis, Hunter S. Thompson, Bruce Baugh, Grant Morrison and Greg Stolze. They are never satisfied with what already is, they have to go that one step further, into what could be. See, I like to think I'm like that. I like to think I'm one of the ones capable of coming up with the mad, brilliant ideas, and not just thinking them up, but realising them. Living on the edge of an idea-space that many people couldn't begin to imagine.

But then I step back into neutral abstraction and look at myself. Fuck, if I'm not the poster boy for "bland conformist schmuck", what am I? I no longer smoke. I am a stoner, I'll grant that, but in six months or less it's going to end up legal anyway, so that hardly counts. I've never been in actual trouble with the police, and the one time I ran from them it was too easy and wasn't for anything major. I've never tried any `illicit' substance past weed. I drink less than just about anyone my age has a right to. I barely go out nowadays. I don't sleep around. There are so many incongruities between me and `not a conformist cubicle drone', that I have to wonder: Am I kidding myself? Am I really Yet Another Fuckhead in training?I can claim that I think in ways many people will never understand, but what does it really mean for that to be the case? It doesn't change how I interact with the world in a concrete way outside of the odd random chat. It doesn't change who I am to most of the beings that will ever know me.

So if I'm the poster-child for boring conformism, where does that leave me? Without a common thread to my personality. What does that mean? Now I've stopped joking myself into thinking I'm somehow different from Joe and Jane Six-Pack, my personality's going to be, to put it mildly, shot to shit.

Or maybe this is desperation and a weird dream talking.

A really weird dream, all told. There's me and this other guy. Said other guy is a cult journalist/writer, clean from drugs and shit, but gets a major kick from doing and saying what people only dare to think to themselves. Cross Hunter S. Thompson with Trainspotting's Begbie, in a way. There's nothing he won't say, nobody he won't punch. Completely without fear. A madman, but a brilliant one, exposing the ills of the world with his insanity.

Who would have lasted about ten microseconds without my POV in this dream. The guy acting as the middleman between the high society he needed to be near, with their designer clothes, designer drinks, designer homes and designer drugs -- "It doesn't matter what it is, you just have to experience it, darling!" -- and him. Without me he'd have had a hard time getting a taxi. Yet it was obvious that the society only bothered with me because I'd copped the kind of "been there, done that, tripped on the other" I needed to get by around him, and I was beneath his notice.

Which has some strange parallels, really. On a related note, a fair few of the dreams I can remember do contain references to (mainly hallucinogenic) drugs. I have no real idea why this is, except maybe I'm not getting stoned enough. I hate being at home with no weed.


( 11 informants — We want information! )
-/- - nerd_king - Apr. 21st, 2003 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 21st, 2003 07:31 pm (UTC)
Well, to start Stew, I'd say everyone has a mental projection of the person they think they can be, and the person they are.

The person you can be does things totally unlike the person you are.
The person you can be only comes out during emotional high points.
The person you can be decides to do things to "improve" upon your social status, and relationships with others.
The person you can be drives your creativity at times, and at others destroys it out of antipathy and anger.
The person you can be appears only at the edges of your mental existence, and when you least expect it, and when you do not wish to think a thought - but do.

The person you are is who your own Mother and best lover sees you as.
The person you are maintains the things that the person you can be made.
The person you are decides to obey law, or disobey law according to the demands of the person you can be.
The person you are knows your emotions, and how to stop them.
The person you are knows who the person you can be quite intimately, and is constantly wonders what they are thinking, and waits..anticipating their arrival every second of every day.

Apr. 21st, 2003 07:42 pm (UTC)
As an aside.
At least you were brave enough to question yourself, even the greatest minds can falter in doing that.

Also, those that know themselves the best still wonder if they truly do.
Apr. 21st, 2003 08:35 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't think generally staying within the bounds of legality is much of an indication of one's lack of conformity. I mean, if you were a moody alcoholic, or a man whore, or smoked crack, that might make you a non-conformist, but it wouldn't make you interesting. You're hardly bland, love. It's all attitude, it's all appearances, and you do nothing that could remotely be considered bland by any stretch of the imagination, trust me. You don't accept the world for what it is, and that, right there, is more than the vast majority of humanity. Okay, so we're not mad activists. But what's wrong with the occasional conversation used to try to open the minds of others? Hell, that tends to work a lot better than being a screaming naked radical on the streets with a placard!

Sure, the placard's attention grabbing, but it doesn't inspire any kind of connection, and to convince, you need connection. Just enough normalcy to reach out to the drones is all we need.

I *really* do not think you need to worry about a "common theme" to your personality. We are not themed restaurants, where everything from the pictures on the walls to the lighting to the stupid names of the stupid drinks "matches" a theme. We are human beings. We are mix and match and patch. Embrace this fact, even when it's a funky-ass looking mess. Or it tends toward a particular color or kitschiness. That's life. It'll be something different tomorrow.

Don't stress, dearest. You're different. Enough to make all the difference.
Apr. 21st, 2003 10:32 pm (UTC)
If you're the poster child of conformity, then I'm on the front lines, fighting for the world to all be corporate whores and consumerist sheep.

Yeah, especially in today's society where we see what everyone's up to at pretty much any moment in time, and have hit all sorts of extremes in the last 50 years, it makes sense to want to be different, to achieve the unachievable, to simply do something new[1]. Walking into work 5 days a week with khakis and a crappy work shirt on, I sure as hell feel it. I'm sure it's not the same feeling you have, but I can relate.

Well, the conclusion I've come to is that it doesn't matter so much how different you are, so much as how true you are to yourself. Pushing the bounds of reality is important, and well, I'm glad to see those who do it. Keeping within some sort of civilized society is important too, or we'd all still be looking for berries and running down deer with stones and spears. Some tend to do more than others, and I have the biggest problem with those who are into stasis, but overall, what matters isn't so much being different, but simply being unique.

Yes, it is a thin line, but they are different. Attempting to be different sticks out only because, well, you don't fit in. If it's not you, then it's all for naught. Being unique however, lets you stick out specifically for being yourself.

And yes, you are unique. Honestly, I knew who you were even before hitting the forums over a year and a half ago. I found your web page or some writings somewhere during some random searching on role playing stuff. I found someone who, even online, was obviously not a cookie cutter image of dozens of others. Sure, someone who fit into a stereotype or two, but still his own man. When I got to the forums, I realize you were the same person, and therefore one of the first regulars I recognized and started reading.

So yeah, you're unique, and by virtue of that alone, you're breaking down the walls of conformity, if only a crack at a time.

Who has no idea where that all came from.

[1] Pardon my run-on sentence. It's 1 am here and I'm ranting.
Apr. 22nd, 2003 01:35 am (UTC)
Stew, Fucked Up And Weird is not a state of action. It is a state of being.

Be, and that's all you need. Untold dimensions of insanity lie unfolding in the stratosphere of your mind, and it's all there for you like a roadmap. That's all there needs to be, honestly.

If doing drugs, breaking things and being arrested is all part of what it is to truly be non-conformant, well... how is that non-conformant? To set standards for what must be done to break standards is in itself a self-defeating prophecy.
Apr. 22nd, 2003 04:18 am (UTC)
I'm with all the others. You seem to have too much imagination and attitude to be a "bland conformist schmuck."

Plenty of people break the law every day of their lives, or party till dawn on a whim. They rarely make a difference, and never go anywhere. Decide what you want, and then do what's necessary to achieve it. Everything else is just a distraction.
Apr. 22nd, 2003 02:27 pm (UTC)
The point has, I feel, been missed with all the comments telling me I'm worthwhile/whatever. It's not whether I'm a conformist or not. That was to illustrate the larger point that the very small sense of self I have that is not defined by others[1] has been called into question by the conflict between who I thought I used to be and who I appear to be now when I look at myself. The conformity schtick was just to illustrate this, though I did go heavy-handed on it. It's a question of wider self-image.

[1]: Borderline, remember?
Apr. 24th, 2003 03:28 am (UTC)
"...the very small sense of self I have that is not defined by others[1] has been called into question by the conflict between who I thought I used to be and who I appear to be now when I look at myself."

This is the condition known as being alive. People change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. You'd have to pretty much live in an isolation chamber to remain the person you used to be. Perhaps I've taken this down a completely different path from what you meant, but that's what happens when different views interpret the same thing. ^_^;

.....Yeah, 5:30 am. Class in 11 hours. G'night!

Apr. 24th, 2003 01:07 pm (UTC)
Spare me
Perhaps I've taken this down a completely different path from what you meant

You missed the point even more than everyone else. This is not just a change, this is a reevaluation of the core values I thought to hold true, a well and true rewriting of the thing that gives the internal realisation of the concept of "I". This is what is known as an identity crisis, and is not as you oh so flippantly remarked, "just being alive". Next time try to read what's there rather than picking a quote and making some smart-arsed remark, okay?
Apr. 25th, 2003 03:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Spare me
Like I said, that was my take on it. Apparently it was wrong. Big fuckin' deal. I've never talked to you outside of the forums, so all I could offer was what I got from your words. Maybe it's just the fact that life, to me, is one big identity crisis. Maybe that's why I said it was simply part of "being alive." Anyway, take that as you will.

( 11 informants — We want information! )



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