Tuesday, May 21, 2013

real vs real

Everything looks real, and therefore it is real; in any case the fact that it seems real is real, and the thing is real even if, like Alice in Wonderland, it never existed. 
-- Umberto Eco Travels in Hyperreality "Travels in Hyperreality"

There was a conversation I had the other day with Jack. It was when I was more or less depressed (well more depressed than I normally am). He mentioned how he never understood why I don't have a sense of self. He knew who he was at a very early age, whereas I am always in flux. Of course there are things about myself that will never change, my snarky-ness, my seemingly non sequiturs,  my depression and my mania. But who I am changes with the people I surround myself with. I am the same girl who can go to a gay club and dance the night away, then only to stay inside for days on end reading my epic  fantasy or deconstructing meta fiction. 

I am a constant state of flux. 

I have these obsessions (? that's not really the correct word, but it will do) that deal with reality. Am I really here? Are you? Are you really just constructs of my mind put here in order for me to grow/learn/change/evolve? Or are we not really here at all ala The Matrix? OR am I just a replicant ala Bladerunner? Is my past fabricated? Are the people I call friends and family real or not? What is the definition of "real" and "reality" anyways?

Sometimes, I wake up in a panic not knowing these answers. 

Even though, at the same time, I know these answers don't matter. Because, regardless if we are all just constructs or holograms, this is all we know. Our fantasy is reality only because we don't know anything else. 

One would say that I need to be content with this, but I'm not. I can't be. 

I constantly question myself. My actions, my thoughts, trying to figure out why I do anything. Why people come into my life so rapidly and change my perspective on things. Why I don't do the things that attract my attention (moving to Brooklyn for one. Actually writing everything that's in my head is another. Creating the art I promised people. Writing the letters. Hanging out with the people who asked me to) 

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm bipolar. My moods swing so much and so drastically  that how can anything really be "real." Is there a "real Kelly?" I guess the correct answer is that everything I do is "the real Kelly," but it's hard to accept that answer when everyone else seems to know who they are. How can I be conflicting ideas and emotions? How can every answer be right? 

How can my way of life be wrong though? It's the only life I've had. 

There's a line that I spoke in the play that I took one of my tattoos from:

I'm in the middle,
neither the end
nor the beginning. 

And it's true. I can't explain how I will ever end, nor can I really explain how I began. I am not defined like that. 

Which brings me back to the quote. I know there is another one by Daniel Dennett that I can't for the life of me remember but I did write a paper on it my senior year of college. (another time where I was obsessed with this idea of reality) And brings me back to what Jack and I were talking about: is my identity an identity if I don't have a sense of self?

(And people wonder why I relate so well to Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion)