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The Three Brandons ‍‍‍

Recently, I realized something about myself. There are three Brandons who are at war inside of me:

Normal Brandon: the sort of default/authentic me, likes what he likes, doesn’t worry so much about things, leans into hobbies and nerdiness

Past Brandon: the hopeful twenty-year-old, who had a healthy relationship with technology before it completely infiltrated our lives, and guy who likes watching 90’s teen comedies and being creative

The Brandon I’m Supposed to Be: this guy shows up every time I get triggered into survival mode or maybe even watch too much of the wrong TV. This is the guy who is no nonsense nor much fun.

I wanted to write about this, because I realize that I have these different parts that are fighting within me with different ideals.

For example: over the past few months, I’ve been freaking out over money. My wife is out of work, the savings is dwindling and suddenly I go from enjoying life and being pretty calm (Normal Brandon) to being strict (Brandon I’m Supposed to Be). I start blaming myself for being so lackadaisical in my spending and shaming myself for not being mature enough. Why haven’t I gotten a second job, yet? I tell myself, this should never have happened, had you not spent money on video games this would never have happened. Why are you playing video games anyway? You are a forty-year-old man. It’s time to put that childish crap away and focus on being an adult. And why the heck are you blogging? No one cares, if you are going to write then at least write something that matters like a book. Man up.

Of course, the rational part of me goes, “And what does that look like?”

And I reach a stalemate, because am I just going to substitute reading comics with watching football? Like, really, what is a “man?”

When I get overly stressed at times, the Brandon I’m Supposed to Betakes over. I believe it would be referred to as a manager part in the Internal Family Systems Therapy and I think he’s fueled by societal expectations and probably my own male insecurities and issues. And I think being able to channel this part of me is good, because it helps me get organized and get things done, but there is no room for fun or enjoyment. It’s just “I got to do this, so I’m doing it, and I’ll just be miserable while doing it.”

Of course, when I let this version take over for a few weeks or months, I tend to get depressed. I can’t live like that forever and what usually breaks me out of it is something that makes me lean into the other direction of the Brandon I Used to Be. It might be a song or an old TV show, but something triggers that comfort of nostalgia, so I retreat into this version of me. I find myself looking for old entertainment or ways to recreate a more peaceful time in my life and that’s usually when I start hacking away at an HTML website because I think somehow, I’m going to bring back the 90’s when I’m writing it.

shifting from one extreme to the other, I eventually find a little relief and some breathing room, which allows the Normal Brandon to reemerge. I show up like, “Hey guys, what’s going on?” and meanwhile the other two versions of me are glaring at each other ready to throw down.

course, this doesn’t happen over the course of a day, usually these things happen in cycles over weeks if not months. So, by this point, I’ve closed out a blog, or sold a bunch of stuff I felt didn’t represent the version of myself I wanted to be at that point, so when the Normal Brandon shows up, he’s got to survey the damage and try to bring everything back to center.

I’ve noticed these cycles for years now, but it wasn’t until this most recent bout with a little depression was I truly able to step back and see how my mind handles it. I realized that jumping from one extreme to the other doesn’t do me any good and obviously, when you lose yourself in the process, that’s not a good thing either.

Over a decade ago, my friend Jimmy noticed me going through these phases and he bought me a Ghostbusters wallet. He knew it was something I’d keep on me all the time and hoped it would help ground me whenever I pulled it out to buy something. He was right, it helped a lot. But the wallet fell apart and my attempts at changing my phone’s wallpaper or finding some other talisman has failed. I need to find a way to ground myself when I start freaking out and hopefully help me realize what is going on, so I can ride it out or avoid it depending on the situation.

Right now, I’m thinking maybe a very small tattoo once I have some extra funds. Maybe something small on my wrist under where I wear my watch. Something so small that folks wouldn’t notice, but something that I can stop and take a look at and say, “Chill the hell down.” Obviously, I wouldn’t tattoo that on me, but maybe something like 42 from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or a little Batsignal.

I’m not really sure what the solution is but I’m hoping by recognizing it and writing a little bit about it, I’m bringing it to the surface, and I can help ground myself going forward. I think getting off this emotional tetter totter will do me some good.

Thanks for reading.

Published inSelf-Reflection

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