When I think of past mes, I feel detached from them. I examine them as if I’m an anthropologist or sociologist or, quite frankly, psychologist rather than me looking at me. I don’t recognize any of them, and they certainly don’t feel as if they are a part of me. I feel a lot of compassion for them, but I don’t feel connected to them in any way. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth.
I don’t like myself. I never have, and I don’t know if I ever will. However, there are parts of each of the past mes that I actually admire. Let’s go over them quickly.
Minna 1.0 (0-5) was fearless and brave by all accounts. My mom used to love to tell the story of how my brother was being bullied by some kids, and I chased them away from him. I was two and he was five. Another story my mom would tell (and confirmed by other relatives) was how I would jump off the coffee table in the living room and yell, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!”, displaying my early love for performing. I don’t remember this me at all except we were at Disneyland (that’s the one in CA, right?) watching some ice-skating Animatronics-like figures, and all I could see was the grooves in the ‘ice’ and the mechanical spikes moving the figures around. I was disappointed it wasn’t the real thing.
I wish I remember Minna 1.0 because she sounds like one badass girl.
Minna 2.0 (5-10) had a troubled childhood. I realized I was going to die when I was seven, and it’s all been downhill since then. Not coincidentally, my depression started at the same time (not for that reason), but, on the positive side, so did my creativity and love for the written word. I apparently taught myself to read at age four (another part of the badassery of Minna 1.0), and it was my escape ever since. I was first bullied when I was in first grade, and it didn’t end for the next twelve years. I escaped by reading every book I could get my hands on (in the days before Kindle and the internet because I’m an Old), and I started writing poetry. That was how I coped with hating life, and while it wasn’t the best coping method, it did keep me alive.
Minna 3.0 (11-20) is the one who brings out the most compassion in me. Oh dear. What can I say about her that is positive? Honestly, not much. Those years were by far the worst of my life, and I can’t remember many having many happy times or victories in life. I will say I got my first boyfriend during this time and we dated for two years. That relationship set me up for many of the dysfunctional romances in my life because I was not mature enough to relationship well. It was also the beginning of my eating disorders, which I still struggle with now. I can’t help thinking how if I had gotten a good therapist when I was in this period, my life might look seriously different now.
Minna 4.0 (21-40) is probably the most interesting of the bunch and the one who accomplished the most. She’s also the one who experienced a really traumatic experience in a relationship in a foreign country, and that’s another thing that shaped my romantic/sexual history. I didn’t deal with that well at all, and I’m still handling the ramifications of that ‘relationship’. Not coincidentally, I did a lot of sexual experimentation during this time, which is not an uncommon reaction to sexual trauma.
On the more positive side, this was also the timeframe in which I was the most creative. I performed with Theater Mu (now Mu Performing Arts), did a bunch of one-woman shows (what I termed guerrilla performing), went to grad school for writing, and wrote for a very popular political blog. I did this despite my almost-crushing depression, which makes it even more impressive.
Minna 5.0 (41-current) is still a work in progress, and I’m contemplating what to do with my life now.
The reason I’m reminiscing about past mes is because as much as I hate myself in general*, there are parts of each of the Minnas that I admire. I wish I could take the best of them and cobble together a brand new me. From Minna 1.0, I wish I had the confidence that she had. The ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude that I can’t imagine displaying now. Yes, it’s all through tales, mostly from an unreliable narrator (my mother), but goddamn it, I need a shot of whatever Minna 1.0 had.
From Minna 2.0, I would take the creativity and the sensitivity. I still have both, but the former feels stagnant right now, and the latter is wrapped up in a thick layer of bubbles to protect it from the cruel and callous world. I sometimes think the latter is the reason for the former, but I’m not sure what I can do about it. Well, therapy, but I’m not quite there yet.
Minna 3.0 is perhaps my favorite Minna. From her, I would take the ability to actually do creative shit despite depression. Yes, I can’t help but wonder what I could have accomplished if I didn’t have that kind of depression, but I still did a whole lot for how much my depression dragged on me. I would also take the sex. Not the reason for the sex, but the sex itself. It’s very amazing to me that I was able to get laid while being so depressed, and hey, maybe that’s the lesson here. Forcing myself to do shit despite the depression. Eh, maybe that’s not the lesson (it’s probably more like get help with the depression), but that was the most productive period of my life.
From the current Minna, I would keep the ability to not caring what other think about my taste in popular culture, my ability to occupy myself all the time, my love for being alone, and my not being so reactive to everything (for which I give all credit to taiji). I hurt myself less, also because of taiji, and I’m more aware of my body than I’ve ever been. Weirdly, I’m more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been, but I’m also more aware of all my flaws. However, I know the ones I am not going to change because for better or worse, they work for me. The example I always give is that I work towards the back end of a deadline. I always have, and I probably always will to some extent.
The example I always give is that I’ve done editing for my mother. When we first started, she would give me a deadline, say two weeks. Then, three days later, she would ask if I’d started on it yet. I would keep saying not yet and get increasing irritated by what I perceived as her pestering me. What I learned from her after a lot of friction was that she was giving me the absolute latest deadline that was acceptable to her. She didn’t want to push me, so she was giving me a cushion that made her uncomfortable. I had to emphasize to her that whatever deadline she gave me, I would meet it, but just barely. If she wanted it in three days, tell me that. Don’t tell me two weeks and bug me about it three days later. After much disagreement over this, she eventually started telling me exactly when she needed/wanted the work done by, and our working relationship has been much smoother.
I have always been this way, and I will say that one change I’m glad I made was that I no longer fret during the ‘wasted’ time. In the past, I would procrastinate, but the work would swing over my head like a pendulum-scythe, and I didn’t even really enjoy the time not spent on the project. Now, I figure out how long it’ll take me, plan accordingly, and then not sweat it until it’s time to work on it. It’s a much better way to procrastinate, and I heartily embrace it.
I will also say that I’ve gotten a little better at meeting a deadline, but I will probably never be the kind of gal who sits down immediately after receiving an assignment/project, and dives right in. I know this is a flaw of mine, but I also know that I don’t care enough to change it. I think this is an important point of self-assessment–knowing what is and isn’t worth trying to change.
I know that I could recapture parts of the past mes, but I’m not sure I have the energy/desire/wherewithal to do it.
*Trawl my archives for umpteenth posts about this.