I wonder how much time people spend wondering who they really are. If it even matters to them, or if they just know. My distaste for stability makes me feel like I change a lot–hopefully, and ideally, for the better–but it also makes me wonder what, of my fleeting interests, is core to my identity. What would happen if I just gave some of them up, one by one, to replace them with other flights of fancy? If I quit writing and took up crocheting. Quit drawing and started programming. Quit reading and began acting. Quit gaming and pursued volleyball. I’ve given up some of these things before but returned to them, which might indicate their importance, but it’s new additions that I worry about sometimes.
For example, now that I enjoy reading literary fiction, I’m reading less fantasy–but fantasy (surrealist or traditional) is still what I enjoy writing. I can’t recommend The Bell Jar to my geek friends. And I can’t recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora to my literary friends–though there’s a little more hope there. I can’t recommend Dresden Files to my serious-writer friends, and I can’t recommend The Sun Also Rises to my spec fic-writer friends. I can’t recommend Bukowski to my gamer friends and I can’t recommend The Witcher 3 to my Mom. Well… you get the idea, anyway. But I enjoy all these things at once, so what does that make me? A renaissance man? Geek-flexible? Confused? Posing?
I hesitate to tweet, sometimes, because I have concern that I’ll alienate one group or another. That some would consider me “changed” or stuck-up or slumming when I alternate between talking about Infinite Jest and my latest raid in Destiny and my newest cartoon and my proudest illustration and my experimental watercolour/ink painting.
Sometimes I want to sit down and make a list of everything that I have jumped into over the past few years and try to rank them on how important they are to my core self. Try to find out who I really am. But can I really quantify that? And are “interests” really what makes me me?
Anxiety and over-thinking would be on the list.