Some months ago I walked away from a theatre group that I had been a part of for fifteen years, and that departure left a fairly large mark on how 2017 has gone for me. Part of that has been a change of how I present myself socially, with whom I associate, and even specifics of my online presence.

On multiple gaming platforms I have been known as “FreshFeesh” for the majority of my adult life. Honestly the name didn’t really come from anywhere specific, it just sounded funny and I kept it. After I left the acting group however, with such a large blow to what I felt about myself, it didn’t seem right to keep the old monicker.

I admit I wasn’t feeling very positive in the subsequent weeks, and to be perfectly frank the loss of identity is something I still feel and deal with, and as a result I went with the nickname “Filament.” None of the people I play games with asked about what it meant or why the change – it was just something they accepted.

For my part, I chose the name for its simple symbolism: something that burns in order to give light to others.

I also started moving away from other imagery that I once heavily associated myself with – particularly the red and black marble scorpion pattern from Legend of the Five Rings, a game and setting for which I’ve long had a particular fondness, and which was even the inspiration for my tattoo.

More than anything I suppose that in losing the acting group, and my place therein, I also felt that I wasn’t the same person anymore, and either wasn’t entitled to things that used to define me, or perhaps weren’t worthy of them any more. I suppose in my thirties I thought I was largely done trying to define myself, that I had a solid handle on who I was and how I fit into the world.

It’s far from clear whether I can or will go back to the names and images that I felt once defined me, and I have no idea whether doing so would even feel good or appropriate any more.

I suppose today is a pensive, thoughtful day, as I still try to reorient my body to a West Coast time zone. I’ve been waking up at 3-4am every night since my return and while it hasn’t been terribly detrimental to my mood, it certainly has put a blunting yet melancholy effect over everything.