Environmental Identity

>> Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was once again reminded of how the environment has the ability to begin defining who you are. Of course, I say "begin" because at some point you realize that you are being defined instead of defining yourself and put a kibosh on the whole thing. At least one would hope.

What I'm talking about is that phenomenon* where you act in one way say, at school, and another way at work and another way at home. It's not really a different "you", it's really more like different parts of you; you can be the controlling organizational one at work, the quiet studious one at school who sits in the back, the obnoxious baseball fan, and enjoy reading in front of the fire in the evenings, but friends who only know you in one situation may have a completely different picture of what defines "you" than someone in a different situation. That is what I'm talking about.

The next question then is why am I talking about it? We went to ReaperCon in Dallas** this last weekend, and I was surprised to find myself needing time to adjust to myself. There were a couple of people I'd never met (or forgot I met) with whom I found myself acting, or wanting to act, one way. I helped out running the registration desk, which brought out my repressed administrative skills and a little bit of my power-hungry side. I can be very power hungry, but simultaneously insecure, which makes for a very interesting and sometimes poorly-controled result. I don't know if it's greed or self-defense, honestly. Anyway, the strangest thing was that, even though the gaming world is something that I treasure because Lanse and I enjoy it together, in that specific setting I realized that I did not know how to interact with him. He went to his corner of the convention, I stayed in mine; and while I was very proud of him, I couldn't cognitively decide what was the best way to be around him there. The wife-me conflicted with the leader-me which conflicted with the artist-me and the socialite-flirty-me. It's been so long since I've defined myself as anything other than wife-me that I had to take actual moments to stop and make decisions about who I was.

In the end, though, I figured me out. Now that we're home, I kinda miss the me that found balance... again. ReaperCon was fantastic, seeing all the old friends and finding new friends who felt like old friends. The artist-me got some painting time, which turned out okay even without proper light. Lanse won two bronze medals for his painting, and I am so proud of him that it aches. Being one of Bryan's assistants was sort of like when you're a kid visiting your dad's office and being allowed to run errands; everyone knows you and lets you go into restricted areas but you don't really know the rules so you get away with more than you should... and you know it. There's a bit inside every kid who feels at home somewhere away from home where they're given freedom to run around, and that's what it was like. Home away from home. Except now that we're actually home, I feel like I'm not myself again.

We're having a family reunion this weekend at my uncle's house. I'm curious as to which parts of me will be the most obvious.

I also think that perhaps I think too much.


*doot doo-doot doot
** Pictures of the event are on my flickr account and I also did a set called Monkey Goes to ReaperCon that Reaper's webmaster, Kit, hosted for me.

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About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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