Lately, I’ve had a lot of moments where I have suddenly become conscious of how different I am now from the person I was sometime in the past. It’s been really interesting and neat to realize the things about me that have changed. There are so many things that have changed about me over the last decade or so where the new version of me has come to feel so natural that I’ve managed to forget I was ever different.
There was a time when I had an enormous guilt complex about watching porn. I periodically tried to stop ever watching it, and failed every time. That ended something in the range of 5 to 8 years ago. These days, I love watching porn, and I don’t find anything wrong with that.
There was a time when I was completely incapable of having casual sexual relationships or casual sex. That started changing maybe three or four years ago, and finished changing completely sometime within the last year. The first time I ever hooked up with someone I had never had a serious relationship with was maybe 2008 or so, and there is a long, analytical LiveJournal post from around that date where I talk about having a bad emotional reaction to it and trying to figure out the reasons why. In retrospect, I think it was probably because I used to have a huge complex about being shallow or doing things for shallow reasons, at least where sex was involved. These days, well, I recently started hooking up with a friend of mine, and I keep having moments of being conscious of how completely unconcerned about it I am, at least in the sense that I used to be concerned about doing casual things being wrong or destructive or shallow (I mean, maybe it is shallow, in a sense, though I’m not sure I would put it in those terms, really, but either way, if it is, I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that*).
There was a time when I had trouble believing that anyone could love me. If I had to pinpoint, I would guess the turning point for that was something in the area of 10 years ago. These days I tend to think that the type of person I could fall in mutual love with is fairly rare, but I don’t think of that as being because I’m unlovable, I think of it as being because the type of person I can have that type of chemistry with is pretty fucking rare.
There was a time when I was a staunch pacifist. I’m going to say that ended something in the range of 5 to 9 years ago. These days I tend to think that violence, both the verbal and physical, is used way more than it should be, but that ultimately there are situations where it is a reasonable, if regrettable, solution to a problem.
There was a time I would’ve said I had absolutely no idea how to flirt with people. I would say that changed over the course of the last five years or so. You can see where a couple of the changes around that happened in my conversation about not finding sexy to be sexy.
I very often forget how much I’ve changed over the years. I often find that I don’t feel like I am particularly different from the person I was 10 or 15 years ago. I want very similar things in many ways, and there are times when I feel like the difference is nothing more than that I am the same person, but filtered through the lens of having collected more data about the world, and changed my ways of interacting with it accordingly. But then, maybe that, in and of itself, is more than sufficient to, for all practical purposes, become a completely different person. Either way, I keep having these moments where I have experiences that Past Mitch wouldn’t have had, or would have reacted to completely differently (most frequently, recently, this has been in the context of doing casual sexual things with people and being 100% comfortable with it, and remembering how I used to be essentially 100% uncomfortable with it). It’s jarring, but often in a very positive way. Though occasionally, also, in a slightly frustrating way (“Think of all the awesome sex you could have had, Past Mitch, if you had just gotten over this whole casual sex thing sooner!”).
Yesterday, I talked to a friend of mine that I hadn’t talked to in a while who may be visiting me sometime early next year. If/when that happens, there will probably be some hooking up, which we are both excited about. I spent a lot of the conversation talking excitedly about conferences and about finding out that there are awesome people I know who think I’m cute and attractive and other nice things. After I hung up, I went to hang out with a friend of mine, and we ate and had pie and had drinks and talked about how our waitress was incredibly attractive and made out. For me, it was an afternoon that highlighted just how different I’ve become from the person I used to be. Comfortably, casually, ethically slutty Mitch is, in reality, a relatively new person in the world. He didn’t exist in this form even a year ago. I constantly forget that, and then on days like yesterday I remember how much I’ve changed.
* How much do I love commas? A WHOLLY UNREASONABLE AMOUNT!