What Identity Is(n’t)

Finding Yourself from Botgirl Questi on Vimeo.

Identity can be many things: costume, tool, vehicle, weapon, armor, teacher, life boat, beacon, mask, medicine, camouflage, comforter or gate pass. What it can never be is Self. Identity can neither contain nor express the holistic fullness of your being. The ultimate value of identity exploration is in awakening to your transcendance from all identities.

Categories: Identity, Machinima

11 Comments on “What Identity Is(n’t)”

  1. Monday, 30 July 2012 at 19:08 UTC #

    Hi Botgirl… Great vid representation of the search for Self. I’ve discovered that experimenting with different identities in virtual worlds can turn identity into something like a cloak you can wrap around yourself. Each new virtual identity — geisha, adventurer, socialite, et al — seems to show me my real life identities more clearly.

    My big virtual identity revelation came when I assumed the role of geisha. Many friends observed how easily I slipped into that role and became geisha. I created an identity that was far from my real world idenity, and i was able to shed it completely when I walked away from my computer.

    Since then I’ve seen more clearly into all of my identities. Being able to shed identities has helped me understand my true Self, but transendening those identities is something I’ve experience on only a couple times in my life.

  2. Botgirl Questi
    Monday, 30 July 2012 at 20:15 UTC #

    Hi Yordie,

    Yeah, “awakening to” and “experiencing” are two very different things. 🙂 I’ve never participated in a full-out role play sim. How strict were they about staying in character? Did the friendships you develop there stay pretty much within character, or did some of them end up extending outside?

    • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 20:36 UTC #

      My experience at the okiya felt very real to me. There was a great deal of training and everything had to be done in the way of the geisha. The degree to which everyone was actually role playing was disappointing, however, there were many patrons who came to the ochaya for tea serving who expected in character behavior.

      There was a seriousness about our serving, training and performances. Some of the women were just there to become geisha though, like gaining some rank in a game. I stayed in character 90% of the time and even today I can slip into that identity the instant I put on a kimono.

      /me bows respectfully.
      konnichiwa questi san.
      /me smiles at her patron.

      You need to understand one thing. When I joined the okiya I was mostly curious. As I did my training and performances, I didn’t realize I was role playing. I didn’t realize I was assuming a different identity until someone pointed it out to me. Only then did I come to realize I had a separate identity. That was a moment of great importance.

      Concerning role play in general, I believe forces of strict adherence vs. those who don’t particularly care is a constant challenge. In theory, I like the strict adherence people but they can be so overbearing as to turn fun into a labor. And so it goes, factions form.

      • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 21:09 UTC #

        Yessy… maybe the best RP is when you didn’t even know that’s what you were doing… but were just being…

        I think we’re all “Multiple Personality” patients… just for most of us it’s not acute enough to require hospitalization. Somehow maybe we equate “RP” with “performative” or “fake”… but nobody calls it “RP” or “performative” or “fake” when IRL you behave entirely differently in a tough boardroom negotiation than you do at home with your daughter. We call that different facets of your personality.

        So facets… or identities… you could say that “self” is more than any of them… but like those clinical multiple personalities, if you’re truly immersed in one embodiment or being or presence… do the others really exist at that time?

        • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 21:36 UTC #

          Yessy back at you… this idea of discovering you are role playing is hard on some people. I mentioned to the DJ I used to host for that we were role playing DJ & hostess and she was horrified that I’d suggest that she is role playing. She is a top DJ, been doing it for years in SL, but in real life she’s a housewife. In her view, RP means you are deceiving people.

          You point out the boardroom behavior and yeah! And children can slip into multiple personalities with ease as they play.

          So, I don’t know how to classify someone as “clinical multiple personalities” although I suppose when you take normal role play to extremes you get some nut jobbers.

          • Botgirl Questi
            Monday, 30 July 2012 at 22:10 UTC #

            Do you think that a virtual job such as DJ or hostess has an inherently greater level of role playing than in physical life? I

            • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 22:32 UTC #

              As you point out, there’s a difference between reality and virtual. i believe virtual geisha have the same responsibility as RL geisha when serving and performing. But RL geisha is a lifetime of training, we virtual geisha can only mimic the skills they have. When I am geisha, it is my identity and if i do a good job I feel proud.

              The quality of hosting depends on the establishment. At Junkyard Blues there is an elaborate set of instructions on how to behave, handle problems (so the DJ doesn’t have to) and encourage tipping.

              I don’t feel that any of my role play is equivalent to real life, but I feel I have a kinship with those who perform these roles IRL. I’ve tired being a Starfleet cadet (dreams of being 7-of-9, heh), Na’vi healer, Ninja and other roles. i wasn’t as well suited for those roles.

        • Botgirl Questi
          Monday, 30 July 2012 at 22:02 UTC #

          I agree with you that most of our lives are lived in one role-based activity or another. That said, there are huge differences between “actual” and “fictional” role play.

          One difference is the amount of purely fictional content we bring in. For instance, a “real” policeman certainly plays a role, wears a costume, follow set behaviors, etc. A role playing policeman can do all of the same things, but has no actual authority. The people he encounters aren’t really committing crimes. He’s not risking his life. And so on.

          Another aspect of fictional role play is the agreed upon denial or avoidance of information that doesn’t not fit into the scenario. For instance, people who role play living in ancient times agree to not discuss current events, modern technology or personal aspects of their lives.

      • Botgirl Questi
        Monday, 30 July 2012 at 21:51 UTC #

        Fascinating! Geisha is an interesting role playing example. There’s the dimension of role playing being a Geisha, a person who takes the training, puts on the makeup and kimono, etc. But there’s also the dimension of role playing done by the Geisha with her customers/patrons.

        • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 21:59 UTC #

          hey questi san, when i am in ochaya there are very important rituals to observe. my behavior toward a patron can set that patron’s own role play in motion. you must never break character while serving tea or saki or cakes. it is an art to serve and your reward is both financial but also in the way your patron responds. my favorite patron used to come in and say things like, you are learning your craft well yordie chan. of course this is a great compliment. the japanese men instinctively know how to behave in a geisha house. these are the same rituals and behaviors in real life. real life geisha are living works of art. it’s a very compelling art form. and it’s also a unique expression of our femininity.

    • Monday, 30 July 2012 at 20:51 UTC #

      Oh! And friendships, that’s a more difficult question to answer. For many, they did take those friendships elsewhere and try to draw me elsewhere, even real life. I was not interested in that. However, I developed several long term relationships but always within the framework of my status as a geisha. My onesan moved to a new okiya and I followed her there. And I immersed myself into that new group.

      She was my closest friend and to this day 90% of our experience together is in role. All I knew about her real life is that she was a real woman from France. The funny thing is, she was shocked when I once told her that we are role playing. She couldn’t imagine that what we did could be classified like that.

      The apprentice geisha experience was one side of my self I wanted to explore, and when I tp’d to my home I was ready for another role.

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