Seeing this challenge, I had to agree with the statement by Ben Huberman that we do slip in and out of differing personas without even noticing. I couldn’t really think of nor remember a prominent moment when the switch-a-roo happened.
Instead I can only think of a ‘period’ or ‘timeframe’.
It’s a period that most of us are very familiar with.
The period when my persona changes a lot – when I’m chasing after someone whom I have a crush on / interest in.
I’ve noticed a rather obvious change in my persona during such a period; be it during active conversation to passive contemplation.
Take conversation for example.
Having conversations, be it in person or over text messaging, I change my manner of communicating. Sometimes I try to be funny, to put a smile on that person’s face and brighten her day (nothing beats happiness in someone and knowing you were the person who made their day). Other times I try to be matter-of-fact or serious. And there are times when it’s casual. Depending on the situation, my persona changes.
I had to shift between being an interested person trying to know more about the person I was after; to being highly casual and distant (this will be explained below).
I want to know so much about the person. I ask the important questions at as appropriate times as possible, some of which are rather hard because the anxiety of awaiting the answer kills more than the answer itself.
One very popular question is (in its many forms) :
“Are you seeing someone?” or
“Are you going out with someone?” or
“Are you dating / in a relationship?”
But while the querying is going on, I don’t want to get too carried away for fear of making her uncomfortable by over-bombarding her. This is where I put some distance. I try to make it feel casual. I slowly pace myself, bringing out the relevant questions when the timing is right.
When you’re trying to pursue someone you’re interested in, pacing is kind of the key (well to me anyways). Perhaps I’m not a highly skilled person in this little venture, but this is kind of how my personality works and how I go about it. To me it’s all about timing.
But what a whirlwind of personalities I go through. During a period such as this I transform from my normal contemplative self to a frantic bunny chewing on an electric-charged carrot. Quiet and thoughtful to fidgety and restless (inside of course, I try to keep as calm an exterior as possible).
Then there are those moments when I’m confronted with my mobile device or computer screen.
I await for the sounds of notification that a message has arrived on my device eagerly. So that I can continue to speak to that person, to keep the conversation going, to stay connected.
Once in a while I try not to send a message out, hoping deep down inside, that the person would message me instead, that she would make the first move and send the first “hi” of the day. To see if there’s a connection or at least, a start to one.
And then I come to a time when I get so restless as I stare at a silent mobile device. I start to think and wonder how is that person, what is that person doing. Am I in that person’s mind.
High school stuff I know. But I guess it still hits me even at my age (nearing the 30 mark as of this writing), no matter how jaded I might be with the world around me. When you find someone that revives you, that makes you feel alive again after sleeping in a corner of life covered in cobwebs, you feel reborn. That the world, in all its grey colour, has had some of its colour return.
I guess it’s true when they say that the most exciting part about finding someone is in the chase. You get that rush. But what a powerful crank / switch that person is to your gears. That person can perk you up, or make you feel rather empty. Make you feel anxious, or satisfied for the rest of the day. Make you wonder restlessly throughout the night, or sleep soundly with a smile till the next day. That is the power of someone who means a lot to you / you have a crush on / you start to notice with interest.
That adrenaline rush keeps the motors running. A kind of “purpose in your life” that serves as fuel. The jolt of fresh electrical current into the ol’ engine starter.
It acts as a catalyst for a very manic chemical reaction in the Petri dish that is your personality. It changes your mood across the spectrum; from happy, to restless, to agitated, to distant, to dazed, to anxious, and back to happy again – and it does not follow any particular order either.
Of course, saying all this I must add :
The effects of the chase; there are those who have it, there are those who don’t. Those who do have it experience it differently from person to person at varying degrees.
For me, I definitely have it.
A whirlpool within the waters of my soul.