BouncyMischa (bouncymischa) wrote,

Further Reflections on Self-Insertion, Character Discrepancy, and the Character-Artist Divide

I've done some more thinking about the topic that I wrote about earlier... specifically, the discrepancies between genie-Mischa and rl Mischa. :3

Back when I first started playing in the Napping Cat's Dream, Kasumi Murasaki was my primary (and, for a while, only) character. As such, I'd often find myself called 'Kasumi' in other situations with people from the NCD. For example, I'd go on AIM or into the chat and people would go "Hi Kasumi!". I found it rather uncomfortable, since in my mind Kasumi is a very distinct person. All of my characters reflect portions of myself, but at the same time Kasumi has her own history, her own family, her own friends, her own enemies, her own job, her own goals and aspirations... and so on. She is so vividly her own person that I cannot see myself as her, or vice versa.

I tried creating Chad Robertson, another character, as a reflection of myself. His name was a slight distortion on my own, but that small gap proved to be enough to make it hard to identify him as myself. In the end, he became his own character as well... similar to me, but not a perfect reflection. Thus, in the end, I created Mischa as my 'player-god' avatar. She's still gone on to be very different, but I still identify her as 'myself'.

The issue I had before largely related to the discrepancy between how I depict Mischa online, and how I am myself -- not the variation between Mischas in different worlds, other than rl vs. fantasy. For example, how would someone who'd only perceived genie-Mischa react when they encountered the real Mischa? Most people that I know who use characters as avatars have avatars with different names, so there's a divide between themselves and the avatar. Thus, you expect the real person to be different. But in this case, by associating myself so closely with my alter-ego -- particularly one radically different from myself -- I wonder how it might affect people.

The main issue that I was considering today, then, is the matter of [i]name[/i]. After all, Kasumi and Chad felt unique because their names differed, while Mischa still feels like me because her name doesn't. Other people's avatars differ in name and thus are distinct from the artist or writer. Names are always important identifiers, especially in an online environment. So it makes some sense.

My quandary, then, is that if I change Mischa's name she won't be the reflection of me that I want her to be. And yet I'm also worried it'll cause people to develop a false impression of me! Ahhhh, paradox...

One idea came to mind, though. At first I thought genie-Mischa could use a nickname (like Mi-chan, or something) that could be derived from 'Mischa'... but I couldn't think of much that worked off-hand. But then I realized I had another option available to me.

I'm Mischa. She's Bouncy Mischa.

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I'm Mischa. She's Bouncy Squishy Mischa.

Fixed that one for you... >.>
Oooh... you do the Squishing and bouncing too then with the genie, mmmm?

Which one's the foam rubber squeaky Mischa?

In any case I'm glad you found a simple and pleasing -- not to mention fun-sounding -- solution to your personal questions. Identity can be curiously fluid online if you give it half a chance.

Janus> Awww, thanks. :D

Taross> It's more related to another question I discussed with Janus. I'll have to bring it up here sometime, since it relates to the associations I make with things like balloons. :P

Austin> That one would have to be Bouncy Mischa, sadly. :P But it is an interesting question, since it also touches upon things like self-identity and the ideal self. Mary-Sues and self-insertions might be the most blatant display of the ideal self, but it is interesting to consider why we make idealized selves like that...
I don't know if I have anything very useful to say about the main subject here. Maybe just that when we first meet people on the internet, we tend to not have a very good idea of what they're really like at first, especially when we're also interacting with their RP characters. And I don't think that should matter. You interact with people OOC a little bit, and if they decide that means they want to meet you in person, then you just meet them and act like you normally would. Any false expectations should only cause temporary discomfort-- no more than you might get in a blind date, I suspect--and if they're the kind of people who can't get over that, chances are they weren't going to make good OOC friends anyway.

The real reason I'm replying is to tell you that I had a dream about you. I dreamt that Karina, Tellana and I had to go on a quest to find the Mischa the genie, and we flew over to your house in a dirigible to pick up the real you because you probably had the best insight into how to find your character. And then I think we were planning a wedding for you. But I'm unclear on who you were going to marry.
YAAAY! Carp dreams! ^___^

Although... yeah... marrying genie-Mischa would have been very surreal. Probably par for the course for you dreams. XD

But yeah, you've got a point. I tend to worry a little too much about what other people will think. My major problem here was that if I carry about as a bouncy rubber genie, and then people find out the real me is a not-so-bouncy dull guy... well, you're right that if they're my friends, they'll accept it anyways. :D

Thinking about it though... a wedding planned by you, Karina, and Tellana would be a scary thing... XD
Maybe he was going to marry Mischa the Genie. That'd be weird.