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Worlds Colliding

There’s work you and home you, café you and hospital you, friends you and strangers you. In this week’s writing challenge, tell us about a time when two or more of your “yous” ran into each other.

Image by Tobias Mandt (CC BY 2.0)

Do you ever notice how many different versions of you exist? We slip in and out of our different personas without even noticing.

We’re the impatient smartphone fumbler waiting for our coffee, the generous stranger offering our seat on the bus, and the annoying partner/parent/roommate who forgot that one errand we were supposed to run — sometimes in the span of ten minutes. Each of these comes with its own set of gestures, its own voice, its own language.

Sometimes, our personas depend on location. Other times it’s what we’re wearing, who we’re talking to, or what we’re trying to accomplish that conditions our behavior. This variety makes our lives more complicated and more prone to mishaps — but also so much more interesting.

For this week’s challenge, think about a time when two (or more!) of your personas collided. How did you react? Did one take over, or did you come up with a strange hybrid of your different selves? Was it a source of anxiety and embarrassment, or a great moment of comedy?

If you’d like something more specific to sink your teeth into, tell us about…

  • That time when you ran into a coworker in an unexpected place.
  • An encounter you had in real life with someone you’d previously only known online or by voice.
  • An event with relatives of different generations, and how you had to tailor your behavior accordingly.
  • A trip abroad where you had to switch back and forth between manners, languages, or attitudes.

Feel free to tweak any of these ideas to suit your needs!

I can’t wait to read your stories — whichever “you” you choose to present us with.

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Comments

  1. Gee I hate to sound like a bore…but I am the same in any situation! Lol….I could not honestly write on this one.

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  2. I wrote about the mommy version of me which took over the me version of me. (If THAT makes any sense!) And how I finally figured out that they do not need to be exclusive of each other 🙂

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  3. I remember a very challenging time in my life when I needed two or three of my different personas. There was a time when I sold stocks and in so doing, I needed to be the confident business person who knew all about a company/companies whose stock I was selling. In turn, I needed to be a very close adviser who guided my clients to their goals of retiring, saving for college, or any number of financial ends that were important to each. It was like stepping outside of oneself to take on the challenge. As I look .back, it reminds me of Clark Kent who would discretely close himself into a phone booth only to emerge as SUPERMAN. After the transformation, he was always able to perform the life changing “rescues” needed for the moment.

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  4. I think it depends on mood and the emotions felt at the time. It also depends on your relationship with the people you’re with. A combination of these factors decide what kind of persona you’re going to exert to the world.

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  5. This explains the phenomenon of having different states of consciousness. It is a very hard thing to fully explain especially since it is not fully understood. Something triggers this familiar neural pathway and brings us back to a previous pattern of behavior associated with a certain person, place, sound, idea, activity, etc. This is one of my favorite aspects of neuroscience and psychology! So nice to hear it described from another viewpoint.

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  6. I just wrote an essay on this for my degree; it’s a really interesting subject and there’s people arguing all sorts of things – that there is only one ‘true’ self for each person, that we are constructed by consumerism, and even that it’s all completely performative.
    Personally, i think there are several ‘versions’ of myself but i always try to put the best one out there in the world, so i hope there’s some consistency. It’s always interesting though when friends and family come together in one place – for example, i never swear with my parents around; does this mean i become a temporary mish mash of several of my ‘selves’ – who knows?! 🙂

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  7. Ones spirit works in many mysterious ways to the personality of a person. Did you know that the spirit is multidimensional and people have lost touch with their own spirit – so much programming has taken a toll on our lives as a race.At times we are connecting with our spirit and that is why you think you are experiencing different selves.

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