Who am I not? So do you

Betsy Calabaza
4 min readJan 4, 2022


The holidays were dope. It was hosted by partner’s family so we traveled with proper precaution.

I felt a sort of improvement in my social skills. These skills are absolute shit so even with the improvements they’re below standards. But the physical manifestation of being aware and comfortable with one’s own reaction in social situations does have a feeling.

Part of my improvement was not caring about what I usually cared about. Rather, I focused on other issues that could distract the mind until the moment of socialization presented itself in the present moment.

Now that the present moment has become the past, we can focus on it with reflection. This reflection feeds back into the present moment by the way we physically react to it. If we’re talking about traumatic events, these are reflections defined by the hold they have over our physical reaction when the reflections are triggered into being.

In general, the correlation between who/what we define ourselves as and what the past makes of us through reflection impacts the course of our life’s trajectory.

When people force us into a trajectory we weren’t expecting, we are thrown off. For example, in a social conversation with social political rivals where people have to be as polite as possible while communicating tension. Or in my case, conversation where meaning is lost because I have autism. It takes a while for people to realize sometimes but socially conclusive once they see a strange person with a pretty good life. But before people realize I’m just autistic, there’s tension there because they’re not sure what to expect.

Before they realize I’m a social idiot, they’re thrown off because as our social situation unravels, the social moment presents many forks of reflection. These reflection will determine our social continuity.

Social geniuses can read body languages like a gambler can read faces. The routine of the game creates patterns, labyrinths of reflection. Our commonality of being human creates objective tells that let’s us know what part of the labyrinth we are in.

As the social walk continues, there is always some unknown regarding meaning and intention.

The labyrinth is a reflection and is true insofar as our reaction is true.

If our reaction shifts, the labyrinth changes. And we are lost.

I would like now to stretch a long analogy using Sudoku.

Reflection remembers the past as abstract rules. Not so much content.

Imagine the past like a new game of Sudoku. There are barriers that present the playing field. There are set numbers claiming objective content and position.

In social situation, there’s a collective memory that sets out the barriers of reflection. What defines social boundaries. What you can or can’t say to anybody. What you can or can’t say to a young man. What you can or can’t say to someone else’s grandmother. What are you expected to do when you see somebody? Should you help an incapacitated older person cross the road? Should you open the door for someone? If you’re with a group, is there a socially graceful way to abandon one member?

Any possible response to the above questions would depend on first reflecting. This starts the next iteration of our existential self. Our move in the game.

We don’t just answer based on reflection. We also calculate how our move can impact us. When we’re defining someone else in social situations, as numbers in a game of Sudoku, if we read them wrong, eventually one of our moves along the game will provide an unexpected error.

We stand back and the game has changed and we have to make our next move. We have to read the board again and see if we can feel like ourselves again.

This seems like make belief when we’re talking about social situations. But when no one is looking, how do we play the game?

When no one is looking, how do we truly judge the board without us being judged? Somehow, this introspection impacts your trajectory in social situations too. Our own reflections affects where we go because a crucial part of the board depends on where you think you are in the game. The move you make determines what game you’ll play.

In a game of Sudoku, the board may have many outcomes. Which outcome you take in solving the game determines which outcome you’ll get.

This speaks to the objectivity of the boards we see in the reflection. These abstract rules and borders only exist insofar as awareness is able to focus on them. How we focus on them and how we see them reciprocally correlates with who we are. Like when someone tells you to be more confident but eventually you see them as a bully. There is a correlation as confidence from the first person perspective but in social situations some people will see you as a bully.

Then being seen as a bully calibrates who you become. You can justify being seen as a bully or you can change your ways and become more sympathetic to others. This presents the next iteration of the game.

As the iterations continue uninterrupted, the games become more foreseeable.

Think about neighborhood kids. Naturally, their local epistemology creates a click/gang/crew/family where they each play a game together. This game continues. Multiple neighborhoods, multiple clicks create bigger games. The games become older and eventually the kids are running the city as political members or community organizers.

The game continues.

Disenfranchised people speak up and say the game needs to change. The game changes but there’s still social rules and borders that seem unfair.

We reflect further back to hopefully see a pattern that creates a response to the current regime that shifts the game so that more people can play it together.



Betsy Calabaza

blooms — crazy rants masked as abstract experimental philosophy. s/o CS Peirce