Tonight’s stories of Peasants and Identity….

So who are you really?

One way to think about this is the stories that you tell yourself about who you think you are.

We all do this… we make up stories to explain things to ourselves.. to justify certain choices that we have made.. certain beliefs that we have.

For example–today I told a friend about how I approach cooking and various other activities–such as working out–and I described it as “sort of a kind of smart peasant kind of way of looking at stuff.”

Now.. what does this mean?  Well I elaborated a bit about how what I meant by this was I try to incorporate fundamental aspects that I think are worthwhile in an efficient and flexible manner in most of the various practices that I do.

Well, actually, what I said was “Well, as an example, when I cook, I like to cook a meal that can feed 10 people and is healthy, but which doesn’t ever take more than hour.  I specifically don’t try to make some elite meal that takes 4 hours to make and only feeds two people.  I don’t see the point.  Similarly, when I work out, I do a lot of basic exercises that seem to work well for me, but they aren’t all that complicated and they probably don’t work a lot of particular muscle groups in ways that other exercises do.”

This was a story.  A kind of story… on many different levels.

1. It was a story for my friend about me–about what I do, but also what I claim to believe in.

2. It was also a story for me–it was a way of trying to express things that I believe and that I do in a way that makes sense to me…

Going deeper, however, I have been thinking about that second narrative element.  Specifically, I wondered about what it really meant that I was portraying myself as trying to act like a “smart peasant” when I did these things.  What meanings was I trying to incorporate by using those terms?  Now.. I know what I understand under those terms–and maybe my friend understood them also as I did–but maybe not.

I do know that this kind of portrayal–this kind of narrative–is common in my own self perceptions of who I am. It is not an entire picture of myself–for as I’ve noted before… I contain multitudes–but it is one of the more common avatars/masks that I like to use to describe myself.  Another common construct is the idea of the noble intellectual who gets involved in leading the revolution.  Such a picture, which is equally romantic/idealistic/fanciful, has always been favored by me for various silly reasons.  Part of me will tell myself a story about how this fits because 1/4 of my ancestors were O’Dowds–and that this clan can legitimately trace itself back over 1000 years to a group that were one of the 7 kings of Ireland.   This story also then ties in the fact that my blessed life has allowed and encouraged me to be one of the lucky few who has gotten more education than is ever necessary, but which I have long enjoyed–while simultaneously making me feel both distant to many of the inhabitants of that ivory towered realm and more at home with much less educated folk who I can much more easily bond and relax with.

I tell myself that story a lot… and while it does connect to reality in various points–it is still just a story.. and a rather romantic one at that..

In any case–these are obviously just two stories that color in but a few of the vast numbers of facets that make up this particular conscious meat puppet. There are obviously so many other stories to tell about me… stories that I tell about myself and to myself, and stories that others would tell.

So… what is your story?  Tell me who you are–at least who you are at this moment?  It will change–but this story will be part of your grander narrative.. and I would like to add to the book of you that I hold in my head.

Tell me.

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About Prof. Woland

I contain multitudes. Come meet us.
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6 Responses to Tonight’s stories of Peasants and Identity….

  1. Billious says:

    I once lost a bet and consequently was forced to play D&D. For a month. And present my character sheet on demand for a year.

    The thing was, I just couldn’t get into the whole imagination thing of inventing a different character. So within the realms of what the rules allowed, I modeled my character exactly after myself. I made the exact decisions that *I* would have placed in such ridiculous circumstances.

    I thought I was subversive as shit, throwing the screws to the fantasy dorks who managed to force me into playing their game.

    And then I realized, they’re still in imagination land no matter how literal I am about shit. Whether they deal with Bill in real life or in game, it was filtered through their perception of the character THEY played.

    The point of this (other than that I lost a stupid bet and a little of my dignity) is that I think people do this all the time. People interpret me different when they approach me in the club than they do when they approach me in my home. My business partner perceives me differently in meetings than he does when we run into each other out on the town. Chelsey’s interpretation of my demeanor is vastly shaped by her mood and mindset.

    The fiction is in the perception just as often as the presentation.

    • tricstmr says:

      Oh.. I agree.. storytelling goes on in both instances–in the telling and in the hearing.. It is a multi-layered thing..

      I tell a story–and am trying to project something to another person and to myself…

      .. a person hear’s the story.. and they interpret the story in a certain way and create a story about the other person (often not at all like what the intended story was SUPPOSED to mean acc. to the teller) but also, in this way, as they are perceiving, creating part of the story of their own lives–as they then adjust their thoughts and alter the path of their own narrative in response…

      Re: D&D.. One issue I realized once was that their were assymetries involved in character portrayal. For example–while this factor didn’t really creep up that strongly in things like “strength” or “dexterity” or “constitution”–because it is easy to linearly project these characteristics in a positive or negative direction–such kinds of linear projection don’t work the same way for things like “wisdom” “intelligence” or “charisma”–Specifically–it is not a problem to play a character that is stupider, less wise, and less charismatic than yourself–but try to play one who is smarter, wiser, and more charismatic than you are… I mean–it isn’t really appropriate to say “well, I have 18 in wisdom, therefore I roll for common sense and know the right thing to do–so we do whatever the right thing is..”

      That just doesn’t play out..

      anyway.. I’ve talked about this earlier I think in an earlier NOM.. or maybe back on LJ–if it is there.. I should dust it off and NOM-ify it..

  2. Nikita says:

    I often relate to Goldie’s character from Sin City…the hooker with the heart of gold. Part of it is my ties to the sex industry, part is becuase of my attraction to and need to feel a sense of protection from “bad boys”. As in protection stemming from, not against, bad boys.

    It allows for my sense of sexuality without cheapening it with definitions solely based on money or relationship status’ such as marriage, but rather focusing on the fleeting pleasures of one night flings and matches of convenience.

    She fucked people to piss other people off. She fucked people to disempower them using her sexual prowess. In the end it fucked her…but what a way to go!

    • tricstmr says:

      Oh Nikkie!

      I can totally see that.

      Now.. Tell me your story.. or one of your stories… Tell me about Salt Lake.. tell me about design.. tell me about the people around you..

      Give me a bit of the cloth of your reality.. so that I can add it to my patchwork..

      Tell me…

  3. Ms. GM-Danson says:

    I have a necklace that says (basically) “I will not change except for death”. I bought it specifically because the irony of that was hilarious to me. My story is about change and always changing. I will not stop changing except for death.

    It’s a useful story of sinc and sine, oceans and fire, dead runs and fallow times, hard roads with great returns. It tells me that when I fall down… I get back up because I don’t know how to stay down. As I said, it’s been useful. It’s also a story of leavings, endings, infinite transient things.

    Right now I’m happy. Right now I’m preparing to change again.

    Those I love are those able to keep up.

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