Skip to main content

"I Don't Know Who I Am Now" or The Importance of Not Assuming for a While


The next 5 months are probably going to be kinda weird. Uncertainty and anxiety flying all over the place. Duck! And then after that ... it's also going to be kinda weird, but a different kind of weird, as we move into the After Times, and figure out what exactly they're going to be like, and what exactly WE are going to be like. 

It is in times like these, that I like to turn to art to help make sense of it all. 

I refer, of course, to the art known as the television series Doctor Who. I mean, if we know things are going to be weird, we probably should look at some art that deals with the weird, right? Now's the time to examine Hieronymous Bosch and Marc Chagall. And Doctor Who, that time-traveling, face-shifting hero. 

Part of the Doctor Who story (and why it's been able to keep going so long) is that rather than die, the Doctor regenerates, retaining who they are, but with a different face, body, and to a certain extent, a different personality. 

Immediately after the regeneration into actor David Tennant's Doctor, the character mused: 

I’m the Doctor. But beyond that I just don’t know. I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy? Right old misery? Life and soul? Right-handed, left-handed? A gambler, a fighter, a coward, a traitor, a liar, a nervous wreck? 

We have survived a global pandemic. We have experienced a year like no other. Who are we now? As individuals? 


Cartoonist Emily Flake did a strip about this for The New Yorker, sorting through feeling different about hugs, being around other people, and her feelings about herself. I don't know about you, but "I eat flies now," may be how I introduce myself for the next year. 

What this means: we cannot assume anything about each other anymore. Our ourselves, for that matter. So for a while, we need to learn to communicate very clearly and directly about what we want or don't want, and most importantly: do not assume. 

Do not assume that your friend who was always a hugger still is.

Do not assume your extroverted friend still is. 

DO NOT ASSUME THAT WHAT YOU ARE FEELING, EVERYONE IS FEELING. 

DO NOT ASSUME THAT PEOPLE CAN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING. 

One of the positive things that may come out of this pandemic is if we will take more seriously the entire issue of consent. Not just sexually, but all touch. Everything, really. For the next few months, I can see "Do you mind if I remove my mask?" becoming a fair question, even when everyone together has been vaccinated. Our threshold for risk, and for comfort, will not be the same. 

Like everything, there is opportunity in this. Including opportunities for ourselves. 

It’s all waiting out there, Jackie. And it’s brand new to me. All those planets, creatures and horizons—I haven’t seen them yet. Not with these eyes. And it is gonna be… fantastic.

We can allow the world to be brand new to us. To experience it with the newness that is us, regenerated. We are not the same people we were before. 

Time to explore. 

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Whole Church Worship

TL;dr -- Our church does "Whole Church Worship," or "All Ages Are Together for the Whole Service, Every Service, Every Week." I've been getting a lot of questions about this. Here are some answers. Preface: For some reason, I occasionally run into people from other churches who want to explain to me all the reasons this won't work at their church. Sure. I'm not trying to talk you into this. You do you, Bub. Whole Church Worship is working at our church, at this time. Live Oak is pretty special, and I don't know that there are many things we do that would work any other place, including our Chili, Chocolate, and Karaoke Party. But that's a post for another day.  Okay, then. So, I first got involved in Whole Church Worship as a result of a fit of pique - my own. This was before I was a minister. At my home congregation, we had "Children's Chapel," and we had reached the point where we couldn't get anyone signed up to coordin

Post-Pandemic and the Expectations of Others

  We have the hope that the covid-19 pandemic's end is in sight ... and it's bringing up a lot of feelings. Not all of them happy .  Many of us are feeling some level of anticipatory anxiety.  The anxiety is rooted in a fear that almost all of us have, in some form or another. The fear that others will make us do something we don't want to do. Whether it is through what can feel like the aggression of "your job depends on this," or the polite friendliness of social obligations, we pre-emptively worry about being dominated.  Look, the pandemic made saying "No" to in-person events super easy. So easy, in fact, that we didn't even have to say no, because no invitations were forthcoming. We didn't have to send regrets, we were all living in a world where responsible people didn't get together. Heck, those of us who before might feel we were being antisocial could now feel self-righteous! A win/win!  I kid, but only a little.  We anticipate that p