anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

An Essential Self?

I woke up this morning to the hazy thought, If someone takes medication for a mental illness which affects his personality and mood, can we still say that there is an essential self that exists within the body, the outward representation of the person to the world? Maybe Henry Rosemont Jr. was right to reject the notion of the individual self because it is simply a false description of being human. We don't even need to consider specific cases of mental illness, but simply think back to the person that we were 10 years ago. I am not the person that I was 10 years ago; I have changed in fundamental ways since then. So why do I still think that there is a 'me' that persists in a strange metaphysical manner throughout those changes?

Being human is so infinitely complicated, complex, confusing, confounding. Add bipolar to the mix, and I wonder: will I ever really know him, the essential him? But this begs the question: is there an essential him to begin with? Where does the medicated self end and the non-bipolar one begin? What would it mean for him to say, 'This is the real me'? Is this concept even coherent?

I ought to run for the hills. But I suppose I can't, don't want to, and won't, because the part of me that yearns for the seriousness of life that I read about in books is drawn to his wistful air of melancholy, attracted, as if magnetised, by his seductive solemnity, his seriousness. Oh, I have read too many novels; they have given me a distorted outlook on what makes a fruitful, meaningful, life-changing romance. This has all the potentiality in the world to crash and burn. This has little of the potentiality that I would latch on to for a long-term relationship. I am too old for this; but I want him. I think it is really as simple as that.


He'd recently read Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which I studied for A Levels. I honestly do not know if there ever was a time when I picked up a man's book and was genuinely curious about his annotations.

He said he's going to read The Blind Assassin next. I hope he likes it as much as I love it.


In other news: I am on a four-match winning streak in terms of the mini league matches at the club. I played my third match of the current round yesterday evening and won 9-2. I felt quite bad for winning by such a wide margin, but I didn't feel bad enough to not win by a wide margin. My opponent was a PhD student; she was probably younger than me. She hadn't played in a while so I could tell she had no confidence in her shots. She did try to disrupt my rhythm by playing short balls though, probably because she figured out that I love ball-bashing from the baseline, so she deliberately (I can tell when someone drops a ball short on purpose and when it's by mistake) dropped some balls into the service box, forcing me to run forward. I lost a lot of points at the net. There was a particular point that I really ought to have put away; she kept hitting these paceless balls back to me, and in the end, I fubbed a forehand volley wide. I clearly need work on the netplay.

I am too much of a perfectionist, however. I can't take too much delight and pride in a victory where I know that I didn't hit the ball that well. It didn't feel good. I placed the ball well, but the hitting wasn't perfect. Still, it feels good to be on a winning streak. It gives me confidence going into the next match, and helps me enjoy tennis just that much more than I already do.


I have some thoughts about how I think I am an embodiment of various contradictory personality traits; for example, I think I'm split pretty evenly between a Type A and Type B personality (just using these loose categories as convenient shorthand for the personality traits they are meant to capture), in the sense that I have equal amounts of A and B personality traits. So my thoughts are about how these contradictions are the cause of my seeming inability to find someone whom I can be mostly satisfied with.

Alas, I am super busy today and I am already too late in showering and going to the faculty, so I'll leave this thought for another day.
Tags: dating, gareth, literature, personal, playing tennis

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