changes of the Self

in August 2015, Brian and I moved from southern Louisiana, very near to the Gulf Coast, to the “great” white tundra of the Minneapolis, Minnesota — which is over 1,000mi (1,600+km) as the bird flies, or ~1,1200mi (~1,800km) as the car drives.

there were many reasons for this move: Brian found and earned a job that would at least incorporate his academic focus (very slightly so, we later fully learn) for a reasonable pay; I wanted to get away from my family drama; I wanted to get away from my paternal drama; I wanted to escape many of the acquaintances I had; I wanted to break free of previous obligations and social contracts I had; I want to explore the world/nation; I legitimately wanted culture shock; and … I wanted to try to recreate myself.

I managed to do so somewhat within the nearly four years I have been up here. I gained better habits and lost some worse ones — some instances of each by choice, and others by force or requirement. so with us discussing the potential success of Brian’s job hunts elsewhere in the nation, it’s time to review these changes and reflect on them.


Who I Was in Louisiana

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I was social butterfly, and often the center of attention.
  • responsible, in charge: I was constantly organizing events or hosting, rarely delegating and actually really being just a participant.
  • empathetic: I pretended to be very kind and compassionate, almost as if I was genuinely interested in other people.
  • adventurous: I sought out wild opportunities and places (granted, I was restricted to the local) in hopes of an absurd escapade.
  • inquisitive, curious: I always wanted to know more about everything, was often researching random facts or topics, and was always asking questions.
  • pillar of strength: The backbone or glue or a group or the unflinching emotional support of a given person — it was more often than not me. Though, naturally, I relied on one (or at least, very very few).
  • energetic, loud, hyper: I had boundless energy, and could go from one activity or event to another with no break necessary.
  • alcohol lush, drunkard: I was the group’s (usually) happy drunk. Any unfinished drinks?– everyone knew I would empty them.
  • giving 110%: if I did anything, I did it to my full capacity — including my faults. moderation was not a concept I understood.

Who I Was in Minnesota

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I still embodied this, but to a lesser degree. I was at several parties wherein I actively avoided calling the group’s attention to myself.
  • responsible, in charge: I let up on this a lot too. I was, in fact, tagging along more often than note with the already created plans of others. Brian has said I take on more of an “okay guys, I’ll join in on your thing” approach than I did back home.
  • empathetic: I did this still too, but I lessened it. if I had too few Spoons on a given day, I didn’t listen to all the bullshit others spouted, but instead scurried away quickly.
  • adventurous: I lost this drastically. part of the limitation on this was winter exists up here from October to now (April) — by which I mean, it is so cold outside it is physically painful.
  • inquisitive, curious: I still had my curiosity, but I didn’t really act on it much. I was too tired all the time to put forth the effort to research anything.
  • pillar of strength: I became a Pillar of some sort for several people up here. but I made to have them understand I was not on-call for them figuratively or literally. even when hanging out IRL, I would sometimes be distance.
  • energetic, loud, hyper: this depleted greatly too. I took breaks when I needed them (even while volunteering), I actively scheduled “Recovery” time in my Google calendar, etc.
  • general lush: I still drank way my than I should. and my first social connections up here were made via a kink community, I was none for my input and presence there (not so much actual physical involvement, granted, due to Brian’s requests).
  • 90-100%: I gave less of myself to other people and things. sure I still “did my best”; but I help back when necessary, so as not to over-extend or exhaust myself.
  • open about my Crazies: I was much more open about my struggles here than I was back home — which is saying something, because I was a major advocate back home. by embracing my faults in an early meeting of someone (other than of employers, lol!), I set the stage such that if I fuck up in one way or another (my bad memory, my low Spoon, etc.), no one is surprised or offended.
  • patience for bullshit: normally, I would just let people say shit no matter how dumb. but now, depending on the person, I either address the fallacies I see or I just walk away. I’m not paid to give you my attention, and in most cases, I don’t even care — so fuck off.

Who I Hope to Be in the Future

this is where we are now. I’ve already begun some of these changes (as you will see below), though I have not been in many situations wherein I can challenge or test the adjusted approach or reaction. so we’ll see how it goes.

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I think this is a skill set I still want to maintain and occasionally practice, as it is very useful for making connections for future social or occupational concerns. however, I do not need to make it the core of my identity any longer.
  • responsible, in charge: again, this is useful if I maintain it as a skill and not as a personality trait.
  • empathetic: I think this is at a fairly good level currently. I am empathetic to gain the favour and affection of others, but I don’t drain my resources on pretending to care.
  • adventurous: Brian has mentioned to me multiple times recently how this is obviously incredibly important to me. and he’s right. I do need to incorporate this into my life more.
  • inquisitive, curious: I’ve started getting this back already. I’m getting my Productivity Projects going again, so that’s nice.
  • pillar of strength: I need to be careful who I befriend. granted, you can’t tell right away — but up here, most of my early friends, I have learned, were exceptional needy. and I just can’t do that anymore. not for everyone all of the time.
  • energetic, loud, hyper: I need to balance this. I don’t like how low-key I’ve become, but I like that I’m learning self-care.
  • sober: another one I’m already well started into. as Brian says, he likes being in full control of his faculties — I’ll adopt that saying as I’m so all over the place already, I can’t risk giving up anything.
  • 90-100%: I think I’m at a healthy point for this one. I try harder than most anyone there, but I’m going to break my back for you. I just have to continue this when we move.
  • open about my Crazies: again, setting up my faults and being open about my issues early one makes it less difficult and more accepted in the long-run.
  • patience for bullshit: I’m still learning the balance on this one. I’m ignoring my father’s stupid political comments, literally not even acknowledging that he said them sometimes. so I like that. but avoidance can only work on some people; I need to figure out my approach for the other folk.
  • solo fun: branching from “adventurous”, I need to learn to have fun by myself. I spent so much time in Louisiana organising collections of people, I never learned how to go out on my own. I want to grow into that before we relocate again so that I can better explore the city and learn about it on my own time, instead of waiting for someone else.
  • us vs them: I have always had an inclination to the “not our kind” mindset, as much as I hate it. working in the political landscape recently, I developed a quicker reaction to it. I also developed a stronger sense of unity, conversely, in my internal effort to fight the aforementioned propensity. but wherever we go, I want to continue getting this out of my system.
  • volunteering: I stopped volunteering as much here as I did back home. in part due to my parents not being here with scout trouble in which I grew up, and in part to my constant transportation issues (RE weather or no license). but wherever we go, I need to start doing that more.

you may be noticing I didn’t include a terrible number of “bad” character traits. that’s because I like to think I am quite aware of those and am already working on fixing them — trust issues, self-hatred, anhedonia, anger issues, superiority complex, a general impatience, misanthropy, etc. I mean, that list I can make in a hot second!

but this was just a very quick, light assessment of my recent growths and how I want to be as positives, a side of myself on which I’m rarely focused.

if you know me IRL and have insight or comments on anything, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to ensure my self-perception includes at least the consideration of others’ perceptions of me. so it would be beneficial for me to hear — both the good and the bad.

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