“be the change you wish to see in the world”
“tomorrow has to start somewhere”
“we’ve already won… we just have to start acting like it”
“I am becoming all that I am”
“bread before morals.”
That’s a lot of pressure.
I am a superhero.
At least that’s what I tell myself to get through some days.
I love seeing how malleable I am, how those around me and the world at large are. You really can change things. Maybe not on the epic scale you envisioned as a child, but that would take being World Dictator For LifeTM. I mean the small changes. I’ve seen it. The spark of magic in someone’s eye when you don’t approach them as everyone else that day has. Joy truly is infectious.
So I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on becoming the person I am – every step has helped this process (even the things that some would look back and see as mistakes) – I wouldn’t be me without the decisions I’ve made, the consequences I’ve faced. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of where I want to End Up. I don’t waste time on things that don’t further this end. If I’m not passionate about it, why would I do it? (thank goodness I’m often passionate about other people’s passions, I suppose, otherwise I might be entirely selfish).
My True Identity is Willow, blue-haired, music in the ears, comic book in hand, magic in the heart, glint in the eye, and unconquerable (also often highly caffeinated). I help build communities. I bring people together and nurture their passions and help them learn new things. I cannot learn enough about technology, about sexuality, about people and how they interact. I see the How and the Why of people and I find it inspiring, though sometimes puzzling. I am going to change the world.
However. I also enjoy the thought of food. And due to having their hearts broken too many times, it’s not likely that I will ever find a place to start at that will accept my passion at face value, shove money at me for food, and say “make it work.” I’m working my way into the world of law (bum bum bummm), which means starting at the bottom. Which means finding a place anywhere I can right now (later, of course, I will create an Awesome Place and it will be, well, Awesome). And this means I have to Not be Me.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are neat companies out there that would take me and use me to my potential and let me change things and them and myself. But those places were all booked up because of how awesome they were. The place I am, it’s feasible, but it’s not Awesome with the capital A.
So every week day morning when I wake up, I carefully put away the comics or academic papers I was reading the night before, put on some This Morn’ Omina, and I put on my second identity. I wear clothing that is incredibly similar, but without the edge. I cover the blue with a red wig, tuck in the lengthening hair, put on red glasses. I cover up the dark humor, the sexuality, the “ooh shiny” personality. I still have the coffee cup in hand, the glint in the eye. I listen to Dido and Faithless at work. I organize things, not people and events. I follow requests cheerfully. I do not let on (nor do I cover up) who I Actually am.
I cannot lose my Self to this new identity. I have to remember that I’m doing this to learn (and to eat), not to put energy into becoming something I am not (nor have any desire to be). It’s a mask, waiting to be thrown aside after the preparations have been made, after I’ve learned the good bits and the bad bits of what it is to be on this side. I’m sick of sides. We’re all one big group, it just makes people feel more special if they have the option to cast and be cast out. It’s the oldest story. We’re all drama whores when you get down to it. But the divides between groups are arbitrary. The divides we put up for our personalities and our different social interactions are necessary for adaptation and sanity.
I do, after all, have to protect the people and ideas that I love from this other world. I have to protect my Self, too. The world I’m infiltrating so that I might change it. The world that we – not just generationally speaking, but also we: the geeks, the freaks, the thought-inducing individuals – are going to have to be in if things are really going to change. We are constructing our new worlds at incredible rates, aptness, thought to consequences, and intelligence. But we also have to remember that other social constructs still exist. We are a culture existing within a bigger culture. We are a subculture, but not for long. Corporate Globalization is not the way to go about things. While it certainly has some really good ideas, and it’s really neat that you can spread so far and be so consistent, it has forgotten that consistency is not necessarily sustainable or desirable. And so the global networks of communication and sharing (for example: Etsy) are trumping the corporate. And that’s really cool.
This post was initially going to be about compartmentalizing identity, but I guess it turned into something else. I think I’ve rambled at you all for long enough this time – another post later this week, perhaps.