(Warning, this post is probably far less scientific and far more personal than the title implies)!
I am fascinated by other people and how they come to be the way they are. All the people I know best have been through many changes in their lives and yet in some ways they remain essentially themselves. There are some people I haven’t seen in nearly a decade and they may have had a family, got married or divorced in the meantime or been through other life changing episodes of life. Their views on some things may have changed but they are essentially the same person I always knew. When you think about it that is pretty strange and remarkable. It raises questions about what it is that essentially makes “us”, “us”. I guess the same s true for me…
Would the sixteen year old Cassie recognise the person I have become? Would the Cassie of just a few years ago know or like the person I am now?
Sixteen year old me might actually be less surprised about some of the changes in my life than a more recent version. I was hungry for life and experience then and pretty fearless. I don’t think sixteen year old me would be shocked to hear that I had a steady girlfriend now although at the time I was at the start of an enthusiastic quest to sample as many people as possible, and I while it was only about a year from my first sexual experience with another woman; men and their dangly bits were uppermost in my mind!
In my late teens I was more sensible and worldly wise than some of my peers, but I was still prone to experimenting with things that an older me might not contemplate. I went through a slightly druggy phase and had my share of boyfriends who were mad, bad and dangerous to know! My poor Mum had to put up with all of this and help me pick myself up on the few occasions where I crashed. But I was always very spiritual and I think the sixteen year old me (who was flirting with Taoism and witchcraft at the same time) would be more open minded about where that path had lead than the me of a few years ago…
I think 29 year old Cassie kind of thought she had things sussed and was quite set in her ways. She was fiercely Pagan and looking to settle down with Mr Right and raise a family. I think she’d be a bit shocked to discover that just a few years later she’d be writing a blog about Satanism and be in a serious relationship with another woman. At a deeper level I think she would be most surprised that present day Cassie thinks of herself as more lesbian than bisexual.
I guess I am of course still bisexual. There are still men I fancy. I can still be aroused by images of good looking men with big willies… But something has changed… In terms of sex and romance I am now more comfortable with women. I actually prefer women. I am more turned on by women than men. Significantly so… I am not particularly into the politics of lesbianism, but emotionally and sexually I am now certainly more interested in women than men. I don’t particularly like labels but when pushed I always used to strongly identify as bisexual rather than anything else (some of my old blog posts bare witness to that). But now, if people were to describe me as a lesbian I wouldn’t be offended or feel the need to clarify. In most of the ways that people understand that word; that is what I am.
I think the younger versions of myself would still recognise me though; and hopefully still like me. Yet I am quite different. And it really is a puzzle how I or anybody else can be so different and yet remain essentially the same person. Future me will no doubt have been through even more changes, her life might be very different to the one I have now, but I think I’ll still recognise her. I am sure there will be something in her which is uniquely myself. But what that thing is (in any of us) I really don’t know.