So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

26 July, 2007

Who Do You Want To Be Today?

It's been one of those weeks for gnawing on questions of identity for me, which happens every so often, especially when I get moody. Being fed into by Annwyd writing about self-definition and identity and appropriation, some, and Ren's "Walking Away from Feminism" winds up oddly apropos to where I am at the moment, sort of cognitively, though not specifically.

I got a 'run along, little subbie, and get your dom to talk to me' comment recently. When I refused -- partly on the basis that why should I ask him to waste his time, partly on the basis that I'm the one with any relevant experience whatsoever -- I got completely blown off as a sub because I asked him to be my master. Because this wild communication shit is only for tops, or some such blithering nonsense. (And we get back to my embittered, "You can't expect people to do something as radical as communicate, honestly" snarkling comment elsewhere.)

But it comes around to the tangle that is the question of identity and meaning, and cycles around that a lot. There are all these adjectives and descriptive nouns kicking around, and people get all tangled up about what not only they denote, but the connotations thereof.

I've been wrestling with religious obligations, like. Gods know my religious community (in the sense of 'co-religionists') is pretty fucked up; I've no patience for any of its organised manifestations at the moment. And yet I'm trying to build something sane that can last in the same framework, even knowing that by my standards nobody has done it. (Kemetic thought takes some work to apply to moderns, and I am not satisfied that any of the extant groups has done it successfully, let alone successfully and non-abusively.) And I'm doing it off on my own -- into the desert, be a heretic, claim your elbow-room. Which is perverse for something as communitarian as most any of the ancient religions was. And so there's the whole question of what's real, what qualifies as within the faith, and these things matter.

And even on the edges of the structure, the social obligation stuff, there's my personal things, which go off into weird dark places full of lightning, and I don't even begin to know how to talk about any of that. And I come across a line that might be helpful, a reference to something in an old document, and it's ... a sentence summary, something that doesn't illuminate a damn thing. I'm chasing ghosts. (And I idly contemplate whether there's a seidhkona on this side of the continent that I could talk to, outside the boundaries of the norm, but this is all about outside the boundaries of the norm.)

These big words take wrestling. What does it mean to be ... and here's where I actually do the examining, where I sit down and try to work out what it means, if I believe this, if I am that, how that actually fits in with the world, whether that's something I want to do, whether that's someone I want to be. And I look at how people use the words, and ask myself if I can use those words on me if I differ on this, that, and the other, and sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it's no. And it's all part of defining how the world is working for me and around me.

I get chewing on it too hard, though, and I wind up feeling hollow; all these words making up a whole lot of nothing. It comes out feeling like it's all chasing ghosts, conjuring false meanings, what does it mean to be a woman, to be a submissive, to be a Kemetic, to be any of fifty thousand other things that are tangled up in that spooky verb 'to be'. Too much clawing at the mirror opens up the void, and then there's nothing, just the mirages of dancing photons. (And metaphysically, if 0=1, is one zero? Off to disappear up my own existence, too much looking back to figure out how I got to where I am, not enough of the actually being.)

I'm gonna go read a book. Maybe I'll find a little real in there, in memories of the lives of dead priests, servants of the gods.


WordK said...

I find that I'm both drawn toward Buddhism because of the idea that everything, including myself, is in a constant flux, and completely terrified that there really isn't any actual eternal core of identity belonging to me. And then, there's the fact that my understanding of Buddhism is still very limited.

And that's a whole separate issue from trying to put words to the sense of self I have. I'm very comfortable describing myself as my father's child, for instance. I'm no longer comfortable with the word daughter because of the connotations attached to it. Some of the connotations of son fit well -- I feel an intense pressure both internal and external to fill my father's shoes -- but that doesn't exactly work either.

P. Burke said...

I got a 'run along, little subbie, and get your dom to talk to me' comment recently.

Grrrargh! People who can't tell the difference between "dom" and "asshole" are one of my biggest pet peeves. It's dangerous as well as annoying. Glad you filtered that one out early.

Hope you find some of what you're looking for in those books.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

It's interesting, the way I fall back on books, sometimes. The ancients I'm reading about did it too -- they had this belief that the answers were written down somewhere, if they could only find the piece of paper, perhaps the sand had drifted over the stone some divine finger had inscribed upon.

And I want to go forward, but I also want to have the foundations built; going out without my footings in order leaves me unstable and terrified, uncertain of the state of the world.

It puts me into an unstable orbit, testing an idea, finding out how it flies on its own, and then dipping back into the books, into the texts, looking for something to confirm what I've found, looking for something to suggest the next refinement. As a compromise, it has its eccentricities and epicycles. But at least it moves, in a wobbly kind of way.