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23 May, 2008

Little boxes

As I explained years ago, my life is rather 'compartmentalised'.

I don't discuss work issues socially, and have no wish to take personal issues to work; H. never comes up in conversation with my mother, and vice v... (er, no; bad example. Don't ask.), and when I'm with H., life in Lancaster seems a long way away (it is, if we're in Berlin, Paris, etc., but I mean lifestyle, not location). If I'm the product of my experiences, those I've shared with certain people determine my behaviour in their company. That's hardly a revolutionary observation: I'm different in different company – radically, in some cases.
This separation isn't entirely deliberate, but ordinarily I'm comfortable with it. Yet once they've evolved, one can't break out of the compartments at will, and the barriers to casual intimacy can be a bit upsetting.

In the Lakes last month, someone casually asked "if you had to be an animal, which would it be?" If I was with H. or anyone I knew in Aberystwyth in the early 1990s, my answer would be obvious and unhesitating, but those events & associations – that me – never travelled to Lancaster. With H., it's faded to personal shorthand with different/muted meanings, but if I offered that answer in Seathwaite, it'd have seemed odd, requiring explanation of the source and possibly disinterring a 20-year-old me the 36-year-old doesn't particularly like. So I remained silent; another brick in the wall soundlessly slid into place.

The specific example is utterly trivial and isn't relevant; my point is that I had an opportunity to give people I love a deeper insight into the underlying me (or amalgam of mes). And I faltered.

Comments

it's an interesting anthropoligical study, no? the subtle divorcement/differentiation b/w the self and the blogself. things you can say, things that you can't. and all that's changed is the medium. and the (hopefully) implied social context/framing.

Posted by Saltation at May 26, 2008 01:07 AM
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