Updated: Aug 17
On Friday, I received some exciting news: ALICE LIGHT + DARK has been accepted into the 2020 First Person Arts Festival on their RAW stage! News, which I'm now realizing, draws Project Entrope to a close. Last week, I began having thoughts of integration. I started writing all four #trope characters into a stage play. I now realize that "Alice Light + Dark" is an integrated stage character on her own: the story aligns Alice's adventure down the rabbit hole to that of a psychotic episode and the performance dissociates Alice's moods and mental states into all the different Wonderland chracaters, re-integrating them together at the end. So, I guess this is the end.
Although "Sage the Human" has been my most likeable #trope, "Alice Light + Dark" has, undoubtedly, been my favorite. She has provided me with a public platform for my dark, existential thoughts, witchy chalk drawings and beautiful photos of the exhibit's stop-motion puppets - created by Noel Williams. As far as the other two: I realize that I inadvertantly unplugged "Sage the Robot" as soon as I took her out of the online dating scene and "Jessi-Clam" just failed to thrive on Instagram (although I doubt she is hanging up her shells forever).
So, what does this project say about my social identity? Social media served as an ineresting vehicle for me to determine the "likability" and viability of each of my social identities. The only two that have survived as public personas are "Sage the Human" and "Alice Light + Dark". That said, "Sage the Robot" and "Jessi-Clam" were not only the least human of all my identities, but they are also the least positive. Even though "Alice" maintains a dark and broody persona, she is aligned to a classic children's story that has been adapted into a Disney Film. No matter how dark I make her (and I'm certainly not the first to "darken" her), "Alice" still conjures positive imagery for most people. I don't think that it will surprise anyone that the public prefers to interact with humans who demonstrate positivity. However, what do I do with "Sage the Robot" and "Jessi-Clam"? They represent real parts of my identity; my anger, frustration, existentional dread, apathy and/or disconnection. Should I pretend like those parts of me don't exist so that people will actually like me? Is it better to sacrifice authenticity for likability?
In fact, I think the answer is yes.
So much emphasis has been placed on "being authentic" and getting in touch with our "true selves" that I think we've lost sight of the point. In order to feel intimacy, we must be honest and vulnerable with others. Sure. However, being intimate doesn't necessarily mean shoving a unfiltered, raw, unedited version of ourselves into other people's faces, demanding that they enjoy it. In fact, accepting and ignoring what we we don't like about someone is a sign of intimacy, of love. Personally, I think I'm ready to accept and cultivate the two parts of myself that others find likeable:
Sage the Human: basic, middle aged mom #trope
Alice Light + Dark: dark, mysterious inner-child #trope
Maybe I'm giving up on authenticity because I've been alone with myself in quarantine for far too long. Or, maybe, I am trying to create a more likeable version of myself because I'm ready to move on from divorce. Or, perhaps First Person Arts was just the first entity to give me a real opportunity to re-invent myself.
Whatever it the reason, all I know is that what comes next is going to be an adventure.