How I Built ArchetypeMe

Once you build a world in your own mind, it's nearly impossible to deconstruct it. Reframing the components from which you built your world is much more feasible; it's easier to reassign pieces of an untruth than to make them go away.

This is how books and movies, for example, stick with us. We map them into memories. Done effectively, we can call up a world to visit where we haven't been and which as far as we know does not exist.

Applied to people, this can be useful, awkward or dangerous.

Here's what I mean: Archetype Me is a set of traits, interests, experiences, and skills. Actual Me also has habits, bodily functions, needs, and history; me's made of cells, bones and gravy. Stressors, triggers, bills to pay. All of that, not just what you think you understand about me, comes to the party when I show up.

I build an archetype of myself in my mind; I also have them for all the people I know. It's what humans do, how you think you know somebody and why you believe you can make plans or assumptions with that person.

We build an archetype of a person based on observation - it isn't a complete mapping of the person, but our model reinforces the traits which give that person value for us. Sometimes we learn something which tips our perspective, compromises the archetype we've built.

It seems to me that we cannot unbuild, at least not easily, and we tend to disregard that which doesn't reinforce our useful archetype of a person, no matter how important a piece of data may be to the person it represents. When you are shocked by someone  you thought you knew, realise just that: your data-set was incomplete. Now you know. Reassess with the new set, no hard feelings. Seriously.

We should do the same for ourselves while we're healing: we can't forget, can't delete. Reframe.

Sort your parts carefully, and reassign that which still serves you; relabel that which doesn't. Know what it is and where you put it so it's less likely to sneak up on you later. Don't let new discoveries derail you - label them and find where they fit into Archetype You.

I'm lucky because I've been okay with perceiving myself in a fluid state for some time. The hard part for me is noticing that I need to readjust my self-archetype. There is sometimes a head-slap moment, and then I laugh - I truly enjoy realizing I'm an idiot. I love an opportunity found.

Once the opportunity is found, I can squish around what I know about myself, move furniture, get rid of wardrobe that no longer serves me. There's usually some metaphysical discard that goes along with literal unloading of items. I try to remember to always leave a space - literal and metaphysical - some wiggle room for what is to come now that I see I'm readjusting.

Leaving a space is uncomfortable. It's scary, so I have to assume it's good for me.

It is. It's good for me. 

...and brought it home. 

that time I found a rocking chair on the side of the road


  1. I think we are always healing, if not from one thing, from something else. The trick is to be able to leave spaces for joy among the bruises. Life is a process.


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