Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Praises of Phases.
(Programming note: I live, as many of you are aware, in the Boston suburbs. It's starting to get a trifle stormy up here. If my power or cable are knocked out or my home is damaged, there may be some interruption in your Pervocracy service. As opposed to the usual "I slept late and then I totally had to, like, do a thing" interruptions.)
I've been through some goofy phases in my life. Various things I have been, and am not now:
-Animal rights advocate
-Fanfic reader and writer
-Horror fiction writer
-Indie filmmaking nerd
-Shapeshifter roleplayer (don't judge me!)
-Obnoxiously condescending atheist
-Eclectic pagan (okay, still sort of this)
Sometimes I worry that things I see as fundamental parts of my identity now--kinkiness and masculinity, in particular, but really all of it--are just phases. I was kinkier a year ago, and girlier. (Then again, I can look at this entry from four years ago and see that this isn't my first time feeling uncomfortable with the trappings of girlness.) But sometimes I worry that even thinking about these things is just my youthful exploration. What if all of my current identity--gender and sexuality and beliefs--turns out to be some goofy phase? What if, ten years from now, I've "grown out" of all this and I'm totally "normal"?
Then I will have had a great ten years. And I'll know so much, too! The awesome thing about going through a lot of phases is that even if the convictions don't stick with you, the knowledge does, so I'm a non-fan who can tell you all about OTPs and Mary Sues and plot bunnies, a non-observant Jew who can tell you which bugs are kosher and what the prayer is for going to the bathroom (you thank God that none of your holes are closed up), and a non-filmmaker who knows what to do if the best boy sends you to the grip truck to get a box of F-stops (punch him). If I'd had one cohesive identity from birth to death, I don't think that my knowledge and experience of the world would be as broad as it is right now.
So "just a phase" shouldn't be used to discount things that were genuine parts of your life and self but didn't happen to be permanent. You were real then and you're real now, no matter how different; and you'll be real tomorrow no matter what changes. I'm embarrassed of some of my past identities, but it's an "I was pretty annoying, huh?" embarrassed, not an "I wasn't expressing the real me" embarrassed. It was the real me.
Is all this just a passing phase? Maybe it is. That's okay. It's real right now.