Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Continuity of Identity

In my previous post on coming out resources, one of the firs sites suggests making an "inventory" of your life: "anger, resentments, fears and guilt that you may have about your existing life, the positive characteristics that make you who you are today, your life goals, priorities and the things that make you happy".

I'm gonna nerd it up back to my Philosophy 101 class, but these are all the characteristics that a philosopher studying Reductionism (exemplified by British Philosopher Derek Parfit). Parfit used several thought exercises to illustrate that identity has little to do with your physical composition, or even the composition of your brain, but rather your identity is your own personal continuity of dreams, goals, fears, and ideals that make you who you are; constantly potentially changing from minute to minute, but each state in an overlapping chain of connectedness. So I guess it is comforting to know that despite me upending everything in my life, the core of my identity is not going to change, from a fairly definitive view on the subject. OK, enough nerd talk.

Anger, Resentment, Fears
One of my big fears that certainly comes through in my previous posts is a self-directed anger from having waited so long to be honest with myself. It's not
particularly rational, but there it is. I'm trying to actively channel that anger into this to force myself to acknowledge it, and I have to say, as long as I can feel myself actively working to fix my life, I really don't feel the anger anymore.

Resentment is a slightly different beast I guess. It's very hard for me to actually resent any of the situations that led to me waiting this long. While my other posts may have been kind of desperate, I actually do like most aspects of my life. I have great friends and family and I'm professionally successful, which is particularly rare these days. It's hard for me to be resentful when I'm acutely aware of how fortunate I am in other aspects of my life.

Fears... I could go on for days about, but let's just get them out there. I'm afraid I'll lose my friends, as my social situation will have changed and I won't be able to see them as much. I'm afraid that this one new thing I'm going to tell them is going to suddenly DEFINE me as a person to them. Eh, those are the big ones right now, but we'll see. I do feel like my fears are diminishing the more I write in this blog, which is probably why these posts are so long, heh.

Positive Characteristics
I'd say my strongest characteristics (and in this case it has been a double-edged sword) has been my strong ties to family. Even though I live in a different city than my parents now, we are in constant contact. I'm especially close to my younger sister, and we talk on a daily basis. I have an older brother who is married with kids and in such a different place than I am, but I'm still grateful to have his guidance when I need it. Beyond that, I have a huge extended family of cousins and aunts and uncles that I'm incredibly fond of. These attachments are also what make it difficult. I know that 90% of my family will be completely ok with this, and the other 10% will deal, but they'll also worry about me. Not saying I want to keep living my life for other people, but I'm just putting that down to acknowledge it.

Other than that I've been pretty blunt about what I find positive about my life. Even though I think I waited too long to do this, I'm still relatively young and have my health and am in good shape. I'm financially independent and can live in my own place and comfortably afford nice meals, clothes, and gadgets when I want to splurge.

I have really awesome friends. This may sound weird, since I haven't been comfortable coming out to them, but again, I know they'll mostly be cool with it. We live in New York, for crying out.

So, family, career, friends. Everything but romance, I guess.

Life goals, priorities, things that make me happy
Things that make me happy are video games, good food, and working out. I like to express myself creatively through photography, and I guess to a lesser extent, writing.

My Life Goals are pretty traditional. I think my dream is to find one stable, interesting, funny guy, and fall in love with him. I dunno if I'm interested in marriage or kids yet, it's really just been about a month since I've let myself think about any of this stuff in depth, so I guess I'm germinating ideas. However, I'm definitely an idealist; I believe in "soulmates" even though just typing it out makes me cringe with cheesiness overload. Heh... my Firefox spellchecker doesn't recognize that word.

My priorities have always put my family first, which is kind of why I put it above as my lame justification for waiting so long to come out. After that my friends and my political and ideological convictions.

Boy, this post was kind of long and boring. Oh well. Anyway, I'm going to video chat with my sister tonight, but I think she'll be in some foreign internet cafe. I guess probably not the right time, huh?

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