At the end of “Perfect Mate”, the Star Trek: TNG episode that gave me the phrase “empathic metamorph” (as I describe in nauseating detail here), the empathic metamorph says, “I am for you, Alrik of Val.” By that statement, she means that as an empath, she will know what Alrik of Val will want from her, and as a metamorph , she will transform to meet that need. Her priority will be his needs, not hers, because she is for him.
(I know, technically, she’s not a metamorph anymore at that point because she had bonded with Picard, which gave her a high regard for her moral and civic duty, even at the cost of great personal sacrifice, but let’s just gloss over that explanation for the sake of narrative efficiency in my blog, shall we?)
For a while, I couldn’t pin down an answer to the question, “What is the difference between Galiana and your off-phone self?” because I bring so much of my self to the phone, and into Galiana. But finally, through a series of fascinating conversations with friends and family and callers, I can answer it:
Galiana is for you. My off-phone self? Not as much.
It’s not that my off-phone self is uncaring, it’s just that she … wait… I shouldn’t call myself she… ummmm… let’s give her a name, shall we? Galiana is my phone sex self, and my off-phone self is… Chooser! That makes sense (at least if you’ve read this blog post). Okay, so where were we?
Galiana is for you. Chooser is for me, at least as her first priority. Chooser makes sure that before I lavish attention or affection or assistance on someone else, that my needs have been met, so that any giving is from a place of strength. Chooser makes sure I don’t forget to eat, or drink, or go to the bathroom between calls.
And sure, Chooser makes choices that help others. The wedding last weekend is a great example of that: I ran myself ragged helping out as a bridesmaid, not hesitating to go up and down those stone stairs again because some message needed to be conveyed, not picking a seat for my husband and I until I knew the families had room to sit together, not getting food until everyone else seemed settled, standing by the door for the last hour to guard the party-favor-truffles from thieving munchkins (how often do you have the chance to use the phrase “thieving munchkins”? Not nearly often enough, I’d wager).
But Chooser also made sure I rested the week before, and that I rested up afterward, and that I handed off tasks to others who could help as often as it was efficient, to minimize the wear and tear on me.
It’s a matter of priority. Chooser’s first priority is me, and as long as I’m good, then she gives freely to those around her. Galiana’s first priority is you, and as long as you’re good, then sometimes she gets selfish and begs to come, or spins a fantasy in a way that gets more of her juices flowing, or withholds the really dirty nasty phrase with that word she knows you love to hear until you’re allllllmost there because that gasp and that growl and that power in shoving you over the edge like that is just. too. fun.
A recent conversation solidified the difference between Chooser and Galiana:
I’m supportive of my husband’s gaming habits, so much so that I joined World of Warcraft with him and played for 5 years (until vertigo hit – too much zooming and swooping). Lately he’s been playing Minecraft, a solo world-building game with a cool success story behind it for the guy who single-handedly wrote it, and a growing community of geeky enthusiasts. The first few hundred times that he showed me something cool he’d built, or explained something new he’d found, it was interesting…. but…
We were getting ready for bed, and he was telling me about how he’s learning to preserve his gear by building these totem-pole-ish things to mark his spot and putting his treasures into a chest nearby, just in case he falls down a hole into lava. And he was telling me in that “I’m dumping things out of my brain and don’t care if you’re listening” way, not that “I’m saying something important” way.
Chooser: (realizing I was falling asleep standing up) Yaaawwwnnn bored now (walk away)
Hub: (following me, as if I said nothing)… but I have to make the totems really tall, because sometimes I’ve gotten very far away before I die … (continues on for a few more minutes before pausing)
Chooser: (blank stare)
Hub: (expectant face)
Chooser: (with no interest in my voice or face whatsoever) Totem, trunk, lava, find. Mmhmmm.
Hub: (disgusted) I’m gonna tell Galiana. She would totally listen to me.
Chooser: (doubled over laughing)
Galiana: (perky and attentive) Really, honey? What do you lose when you die? Is that just when you die in lava? What if you fall? What can you put in the trunk? What do you have to carry with you? How do make a trunk? How long does it take to get back to it? Where do you spawn after you die?
Hub: (grinning, kisses me) Fuck off.
(laughter all around)
We had been talking about the Chooser / Galiana split, so it was only a matter of time before he used it against me somehow. It was pretty awesome.
And to be clear, it wasn’t that Chooser didn’t care, Chooser was simply prioritizing “going to sleep” over “keeping myself awake to continue discussing a game I’ll never play, which we can talk about tomorrow when I’m more awake.” Galiana would have chosen to drink some more caffeine and keep digging into interesting aspects of Minecraft.
She’s still me. She’s just me for you.