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I've been having these really bizarre moments of self-awareness lately. And it's not pleasant self-awareness. It's the sort of thing where you realize that you exist and everything you're doing and have done have happened to an actual person and that person is you and everything gets existential for a bit and you can't quite get over it for a while.

The first incident was on Tuesday. It was night, and I was at my grandparents' house like I usually am on Tuesday nights. My grandparents were asleep, and I went to the bathroom and noticed myself in the mirror. Maybe it's because they have a lot of mirrors in their bathrooms so I saw myself reflected more times there than I'd see myself reflected in most bathrooms, but I saw myself in the mirror and thought, "This is me. This is the body I pilot. I am looking at a human's body, and it is my own. It is the one associated with me. This is me. I see actually me in the mirror." And it was one of those moments and I had to leave the room and just sort of calm down for a bit.

The second incident was on Wednesday. I was in a bathroom again and I saw myself in a mirror again, and the same thing happened. Not quite as intensely, but it happened.

The third incident was on Thursday. I was trying to wake up my Arthur Shappey facet, because we were finally going to do a "cookie party" at my aunt and uncle's house that I had promised Arthur we'd do (he likes Christmas and I asked him if he wanted to do "Christmas stuff" with me, and this was the most appealing "Christmas thing"). He was sort of there but not entirely, and I wanted him to be there to enjoy it, but it just wasn't working. And then I realized how weird it is I have people in my head and how they're not really associated with my body, they're associated with my mind. And it was just so weird and I realized the surreality and weird layer of existence associated with them.

There was a bit more about Thursday than just that, though. It was also on Thursday that I realized, after two days of writing-related difficulty, that my characters didn't feel real to me and never quite had. There's a certain extent to which I'm willing to stretch my definition of "reality". I accept the world around me as real in the sense of physical reality. I accept the things in my head, like my facets, as reality in my head - you might call it head-reality. I accept religious things like God and angels as real in not just a physical sense (in that they are things that exist not just in my head) but also in a surpassingly-physical sense - like a super-reality, one might say. I accept stories and fiction as reality in their own contexts - not like I actually think things like A Wrinkle in Time or The Great Gatsby or Doctor Who happened with real people, but I accept them as having a sort of continuity that makes them "real" in their own contexts. There's different kinds of real.

Anyway, I'd been having trouble with my writing. I didn't feel motivated to write, and I didn't care about the story. I kept productive during those two days by writing some details about one character's backstory (or rather, things he did before the story's start) that would help me further the story's point if they actually appeared in the story, but I don't think I'm going to be able to conveniently work them into the story. I don't think that's what made me come to my realization, but I did realize that I hadn't been able to see my characters as real. I was invested in them and their relationships, but I didn't feel like they were real. I didn't believe in them. And as a writer, you have to believe in your characters and you have to think they're real on some level. It just wasn't working for me.

I told all my grandpa about this today while I was hanging out with him. He asked me how I was going to deal with it. I thought about it for a moment and said, "I'm going to stay away from mirrors." He laughed. I went on.

"I think I'm going to dissociate for a bit," I said. "I live in pretty much a constant state of dissociation - just doing things and not really thinking that it's me who's doing them. Just doing them. I think the reason other people don't think about these things like I do is because they're busy doing their own lives and not thinking about the fact that they're the ones doing them, that they're actually them, doing things in their bodies, in this reality. So I'm going to distance myself from the fact that I exist and just think about other stuff. Which is kind of the exact opposite of my problem. It's kind of ironic."

(My grandpa thought this was all quite interesting, and he said something to the effect that this is why he likes talking to me. We can get curiously philosophical together.)

That's been my experience with realizing that I'm real and that I exist and I pilot a body in the physical world and weird stuff like that. Interesting stuff to think about, as long as you don't have to think about it for too long.

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January 2015

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