Monday, February 7, 2011

Ted versus his past selves

I have an adversarial relationship with the previous iterations of myself.

No, I'm not talking about reincarnation. (Although I'm pretty sure that, in a past life, I was an Aztec warrior.) I'm talking about the fact that not only do I feel disconnected from what I've done when I was younger, what I was like at previous points in my life, I'm downright hostile towards these previous selves. I don't want to be reminded of them, I don't want to acknowledge they exist, and when necessary I even try to erase evidence that they ever happened.

For example, there's video of me in, I think, kindergarten, doing some kind of group dance where we all went around in a circle. Only, I had just recently come across the concept of "winking," and so every time I went around the circle, I tried to twist myself around so I was facing my father and his video camera, and wink. I am absolutely mortified by this video, by proof that I used to act like, well, a dumb little kid. Living in my parents' house, there's all sorts of videos and papers and old school assignments and, basically, the paper trail that proves I wasn't always the suave, sophisticated man-about-town that I am today.

There's the old saw about how, because of cell death and replacement, after seven years your body contains none of the same matter that it once did. (Thus disproving the Blinovitch Limitation Effect and the premise of Timecop.) This is sort of how I feel about myself: after seven years (or so), my mindset, my personality, my whole brain has changed enough that I no longer feel any connection to that person. This shows up even in minor ways, like needing to reread/rewatch/reexperience books or TV shows that I saw only a few years ago. I'm aware that's not an impulse unique to me and others with similar neuroses, but still, I think it's connected. After all, how can I be sure which Ghibli film is my favorite when I—this I, this particular me—has only seen a few of them?

I wonder if anyone else has similar hatred for their past selves. Am I crazy, or am I just experiencing something normal in a crazy way?


  1. This is totally normal. Me and my jr. high school self would be at pretty big odds. As we grow up we discover new stuff, learn new information, create different types of relationships, and ultimately value different things.

    But I've found the process slows down over time. My tastes between when I was 7 and 14 changed drastically, and my tastes between 14 and 21 are pretty different, but my tastes between 21 and 28 aren't all that dissimilar. We'll see how it goes between 28 and 35.

  2. I really want to watch video of you winking.