Every identity crisis circles back to an odd period of replacement.
When you decide on something to be, the new identity feels so exciting and potentially fulfilling at first.
You quickly get a picture of how the new you fits in the world.
The characteristics and mannerisms seem quite live-able.
Then a few lines like tiny cracks in glass begin to surface and spider web in ways you recognize but try not to notice.
Just before your new identity feels like always having to flex a muscle, you find yourself drawn to another.
Some stay trapped for a lifetime, ever cycling through components of identities like outfits as the waning appeal of one is swallowed up into the attraction of the next.
Since this story happens to center around my weed addiction, I’ll just say that weed, in my experience, is not very tolerant of fakeness, machismo, or any kind of intentional self-identification; but my general point today is not about how weed might make it harder to be dishonest with yourself.
Identity is complicated.
As I work through this story, I sometimes recoil at my own words.
Even if I know what I’ve captured is completely true to my experience, some part of me refuses to believe it’s the whole picture.
Right away, I go to work chopping down my own landmarks, trying as hard as I can to discredit each hard-won conclusion.
Is that just me?
It’s frustrating when time keeps passing, and I can’t quite seem to decide on exactly who or what to be.
Should such things ever be decided?
I once got high and wrote:
“I always seem to want to regulate my thoughts or the direction I’m going.
“But I also seem to be searching for some final fixed pattern I won’t ever have to regulate from.
“What if there was no decision-making property?
“When I was young, I had this tendency to suddenly (and sullenly) write off all my previous thoughts as inferior.
“Now I see wisdom in considering how thoughts from different times might fit together.
“You’re a jumble of shifting feelings, intuitions, compulsions, desires, interpretations, imaginings, etc.
“Each piece of you is like a life of its own that only wants to flash itself more into being.
“All living things are primarily self-interested; but nothing exists as an end to itself.
“If you see all the pieces of your evolving self in time, then regulating between your components no longer has the feel or function of an identity crisis.
“As all is brought together, balanced, and canceled out, you begin to hear the collective harmonies of your own inner consensuses.
“That’s when the pieces of your life stop fighting each other for dominance, but begin to arrange themselves into themes that continue on forever, always expanding and adapting.
“The beautiful thing is that, with the platforms available to you today, your inner consensuses—those lasting fragments of your true, holistic identity—can tie almost automatically to an outside world, giving you purpose and a place to thrive.
“Even the very best plans for how to become whatever you think you should be are only premature attempts at fixing some sort of future from a particular snapshot of the ever-shifting combination of feelings, intuitions, compulsions, etc. that emerge together to form you in time.
“That’s why choosing an identity never works.
“Even if you could see every aspect of yourself as you prepare to share your experience—and even if every part of what you see could be illuminated by all outside sources that naturally speak to confirm it—your inner consensuses are always only probabilistic.
“They’re never fixed.
“You can never be completely certain.
“Your journey is never over; you’re always becoming you.”
I think it’s a mistake to see even the clearest inner or outer guiding lights as certainties to blindly follow forever.
In this story, we’re talking about hunches, best guesses, seeming connections, confirmed theories…
Honestly, each aspect of my perspective right now is primed for total annihilation in the face of better evidence; but so is the theory of gravity.
My high thoughts continue:
“Sharing your experience over time is what keeps all the pieces of what you believe (and think you see) properly arranged—your convictions, intuitions, feelings, ideas, etc.
“A consensus about what you think or want is a general direction you see yourself consistently wanting to go, not a fixed goal to plan and chase.”
Basically, going public with your experience gives you a more holistic view of your evolving self—your wants, your values, your reasons…
The other option would be trying to double-down on some prescribed identity.
I get really sad when I think of people putting their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes, and running until they crash, again and again…
Tomorrow: more on priming your perspective for annihilation.