Archives for posts with tag: who are you?

“Do you.”

“Be who you are.”

“Be yourself.”

“Be real.”

If we’re struggling to know ourselves, it follows that being ourselves comes with an obvious challenge; we may only be trying things on for size, exploring our options, or even (and often) terrified by the potential that we may be wrong about it. Uncomfortable – and in our discomfort, and insecurities about “who we think we are”, we lose our way, and potentially become a composite of other people’s values, notions, and assumptions of who we are – some tidied up caricature of who we most want to be, perhaps, or worse, in the struggle to resist, we remake ourselves as monsters. Yikes.

Is it enough to “be who we are”, if we’re not sure about who that is, exactly? Is there an alternative that doesn’t require fakery or bullshit? How do I “become my best self” – and who is that? 56 years old and still, sometimes, wondering who I want to be when I “grow up”. It’s not a process that has a clear conclusion, ideally; I will strive to be that woman I most want to be, until the day I stop being, having become, in that final moment, only a collective of deeds – and memories. No “finish line” – and it’s not a race, more a walk in the countryside. When we’re fortunate, our journey is well-lit, paved, and we’ve got company along the way, and maybe a sense of direction. Less fortunate travelers walk a harder path; it’s dark out there, the way is not paved, at all, there’s no map, and we wander, confused, alone, and feeling wholly fucked over. There’s a lot of options in between – variations in the human experience.

I’m sipping my morning coffee, and thinking about mortality. 🙂 Oh, I’m not feeling gloomy, or down, nor am I obsessing over the details, just very much aware that even this will pass. All of it. I’ll “move on”, not necessary to anything else, perhaps this truly is all there is? I can’t know that in advance – that’s part of the challenge – and I personally choose not to attempt to fill that uncertainty with any sort of conviction about the unknown. It will be what it is, when that time comes, right? Whether I face it with inquisitive openness and curiosity, or with an assumption built on faith and assumptions, it will, reliably, be only what it actually is, in fact. We’ll see when we get there. Or, um, not. lol Sorry – I’m not prone to existential angst, and if you are, this prosy nonsense about whatever the hell may or may not be on the other side of life could be stressful. My bad. Please forgive me – let’s move on. 😉

We’re mortal creatures, that’s my point.

Being my authentic self got tested yesterday. Work stuff. I had a moment, as an adult, to live my values, speak my truth to power, be as frankly and honestly the woman I am, without compromise, in a work scenario that would previously have provoked me to mold myself to the moment, and to try to be who I perceived myself as expected to be. Reasonable enough; people do that all the time. Compromise. Small compromises in values justified as “choosing our battles” or “not starting shit” can so easily lead to becoming a shell of a human being, feeling disconnected, closed off, “not heard” (because we’re not speaking our truth in the first place), and even ashamed – once the dust settles –  of whatever the outcome turns out to be. I don’t want that for myself. 🙂 I went home feeling… clean. Satisfied. “Legit.” I felt whole, empowered, and inspired; I was heard, accepted, and valued. Well… so, yeah, that made it easy, didn’t it?

It’s much harder not to cave to social pressures when we are not accepted, not valued, and dismissed or diminished, instead of heard. It’s not up to chance, though, and I made specific choices to refrain from making assumptions about the outcome of necessary conversations, and chose to simply prepare for the moment in an authentic away – relying heavily on experience, professional knowledge, and trust that my values – and the convictions I hold that are built on those – would be enough. No panic. No “presentation” building. No “controlling the narrative” – and frankly, I’m pretty good at conversation. 😀

…I even managed an entire 45 minutes of conversation without interrupting. lol

This morning, I sip my coffee, smiling, listening to music, looking forward to brunch, and feeling something I guess I can call “proud of myself”… or, maybe… “inspired”? I am even excited to return to work on Monday, which actually feels pretty strange, I gotta say; I’m not generally “about that”. lol It’s not that I don’t enjoy the work I do… it’s more that it definitely feels like a job that takes time away from my lifetime. Time I could – and would – so easily use differently for myself, were I a woman of means on that order of magnitude. I’m not. I work. That’s just real. 🙂

Being our most authentic self is challenging at work. Challenging in relationships that are precious to us – particularly if we feel insecure about the relationship… or who we are. A few years ago, I opted out of most relationships in my life that felt insecure, or which seemed to hold an element of investment in my worst self. Easier than trying to force some other human being to be a different person than they are, I learned to understand that (as with any work team) “fit” matters – and not all human beings are “a good fit” for friendship, romance, partnership, casual fun, lunch out… so many humans to choose from, why would I spend time struggling to force any one relationship to be something it isn’t? Those choices definitely served to make authenticity easier. That just leaves managing the work piece – and the “being out in the world” piece.

Random interactions with strangers. Right. Those, too. There are expectations of how we behave socially. Being my best self doesn’t require me to be inauthentic – but it may require me to change, to grow, or to choose differently than I might, if I were left utterly on my own, feral, undeveloped, un-socialized, and without context. lol There are choices to be made, every social moment. Kindness or cruelty? Compassion or callousness? Patient or angry? Polite or rude? Distant or intimate? Quiet or talkative? Chill or anxious? Rushed or relaxed? So many choices. Who am I?

Who are you?

“Your vibe attracts your tribe.” That’s real. When I am “my own person”, living my life in an authentic way, the people who enjoy my company are enjoying “the real me”, and my social circle, over time, fills with those people. Other people walk on. Letting them go is a natural fit – no need to fight it. Easier not to, too.

Today, this moment, feels easy and relaxed. My coffee is nearly gone. It’s a lovely morning that looks like a hot day to come. I sip my hot coffee grateful for air conditioning. My Traveling Partner went back east to see family – during a heat wave. I frown sympathetically, and ineffectively, at my monitor, when I think about that. I’m sure not going to bitch to him about 86 degrees, when we next speak. 😀 I finish my coffee, and jot down a quick list of things to do today; I like being prepared, when I begin again. 😀

 

I’m sipping my coffee, before dawn, on a Spring morning. Well-past Winter, and headed for Summer, the morning is mild, and the patio door is open to the cool morning air. I haven’t written a word in days… unless a letter to my Mother, for Mother’s Day, counts. I suppose it does… but…

…I’ve spent lovely hours in the garden…

…I seem to have broken my writing habit. lol Yep. It’s entirely possible to break a habit, however long-standing, however well-favored, and even when that habit is relied upon, enjoyed, and cultivated until it becomes a plot point in one’s life, and an element of character. Still breakable.

Just stop doing it.

Stop a habitual behavior one time, and it has little impact. Stop it again, and it becomes a repeated behavior. Continue stopping it ( as in, don’t do it) and, over time, it becomes part of who you are that you don’t do this thing. We become what we practice, it is that simple.

This is a technique, a practice, that works. It works very well; practice something long enough and changes occur. Practice a desirable behavior. Practice something tedious. Practice something useful. Practice something foolish. We become what we practice.

I broke my writing habit by taking a day from writing, now and then, which grew to amused tolerance of not writing, even for a couple days, which slowly became a small kernel of doubt; do I even want to write? I took a vacation for a few days, to focus on Love, and found myself just… not writing. At all. Good times. Challenges. Adventure. Drama. Practice? Well, one thing I was not practicing? Writing. It’s been interesting to live life without it.

The last day or two I have tended to be somewhat irritable, and easily hurt. At that same time, there’s been something “a bit off” every now and then, between my Traveling Partner and I, in spite of how delightfully well we get along, and how much love exists in this relationship. It struck me as I fell asleep last night that, in some small way, my writing is not only part of who I am… it is part of who we are. When I don’t write, not only do I lose “my mirror”, and regular moment taken for self-reflection, and reinforcement of those practices that tend to make me more the woman I most want to be… it also removes a handy window into who I am, and how I’m doing, that my Traveling Partner is quite used to having available. I wonder if that’s something he counts on? I remind myself to ask, some other time.

This is not to say I sense any obligation among all these words; my choices are my own. I miss writing every day. There is a longing that exists alongside the tempting freedom from this habit of sitting down each morning, over my coffee, reflecting on my thoughts, my actions, my experience… and frankly the longing won. 🙂 That’s okay, too.

I listen to a little bird outside my window, and my neighbor’s car warming up in the driveway. I sip my coffee, and feel the cool morning air fill the house. I think of the happy happenstance of running into a former coworker (current friend) yesterday, that I hadn’t seen in a while. I exist in this vaguely merry pre-dawn state, drinking coffee. I love this “place”, this particular moment and state of being. How is it that even this habit is so easily broken? How is it so easily resumed?

We get to choose. 

Imagine the insane power our freedom of choice actually implies – and what it says, really, about who we each are (and who we are choosing to be). Raw power.

…And…yeah… it means that it matters who we each choose to be, and that who we are is a product of a great many choices we willfully make, each day. We can choose differently, and better, than we often do – and once we notice that? We sort of have an obligation to ourselves – to that person we most want to be – to step up, and walk a path we choose with care, and make those choices that make us more fully who we do want to be, until, over time, that’s who we actually are.

…So… There’s that. I check the time, and begin again. 🙂

It is a Sunday morning. For me, that’s a regular day off. I “slept in”, meaning to say, the alarm was not turned on, and I woke when I woke, no clock, no specific timing. I made coffee, still drinking it. I took time for meditation, and to contemplate the day ahead. I stood gazing out the patio door for some minutes, aware that it is Spring, and that it is a good time to clean the glass, for a better view. I consider drinking my coffee on the deck. Recognizing the early morning temperatures are not yet properly suitable for such things, I reconsider, and wander away, cup in hand.

…It’s been a peculiar handful of days. Nothing particularly share-worthy, or even especially noteworthy, and I let go my attachments to assumptions and expectations, and let the morning begin to unfold as it will. Likely the usual sorts of things: a trip to the market, laundry, hanging out with my partner, a friend coming round to kick it with us awhile… it’s not fancy. There’s no requirement that it must be any different than it is. It is enough. The unknowns are mostly small details; will my Traveling Partner decide to come along on the trip to the market? Will I actually get off my ass and put away 100% of absolutely all of the fucking laundry once it is dried? Will I be out in the garden doing gardening sorts of things at some point? I used to be so easily stressed out by deviations from plans. Not really a problem, these days; I accept and even expect that plans will not always be followed or well-executed, and that so long as I am feeling good with things, generally, there’s no reason to try to tug things back to a rigid plan. I guess it is more about a general direction, than specific steps on life’s path. 🙂

It’s strangely illuminating to directly experience how much time I have gotten back by break up with Facebook. Could it be that it was occupying that much of time and conscious bandwidth? Holy shit. I don’t have that kind of time to waste. lol

My coffee is nearly gone. The sun is up. I’ve some emails from friends to answer, this morning, which puts a smile on my face. Our conversations have quickly become more connected, deeper, more meaningful, and I am enjoying it greatly. It’s a nice moment to move from this, to that.

It’s a good time to begin again. 🙂

I remember a conversation I had with my Mother, many years ago. I struggled to communicate to her, at that time, my lack of “sense of self”, and waxed poetic on that topic, attempting to make sense of my experience of adolescence. She was amused, a bit patronizing, and dismissive. Another such conversation, years later, sometime in my early twenties, shortly before a long period of time during which I was estranged from my family (by choice), she was blunt, and frank about her thoughts on that. “Don’t talk to me about “finding yourself”, that’s all bullshit; you’re already all you will ever be.” I felt frustrated, unheard… and crushed.

…Could I seriously not ever be more than the heaping pile of disappointment, ugliness, heartbreak, and wreckage, that I perceived myself to be?? Fuck…

For years afterward, that conversation rang in my thoughts, an echo of being dismissed, and I did try my very hardest to crush my own spirit, to squash any “radical notions” into a very small box, labeled “normal”, with little success…but enough to push myself farther and farther from any deep understanding of who I was – or could become. Not helpful, long-term, honestly. I could have done much better by the woman in the mirror.

I mention it because the result was mostly a lot of wasted time. It’s not time that we’re required to waste, and given the chance to explore the matter of self, over a longer time, I certainly could have, perhaps, learned more sooner, about this human being I am, as I stand here now, and who she could become, given the solid foundation of wise self-reflection, considerate decision-making, and skillful selection of practices to be practiced over time. I learned much, regardless… but… it could have been a different journey. Very different.

Okay, now that’s said, I’ll also say that there’s little time, now, to further waste on spiraling ruminations of what I did not do, or failed to choose, or any of all the things that are now entirely and wholly behind me. I’m done with all of that, and the outcomes are now part of my experience – nothing more. Experience is good for what it is, but it also isn’t “everything”. “Then”, as it turns out, isn’t part of “now”.

Beginning again isn’t an empty suggestion, or just words on a page, it’s intended as an encouragement, as a rallying cry for change, and as a moment to break firmly from the past – however recent, however distant – and start fresh. New thinking. Self-reflection. Improved decision-making. Wiser choices. Heading for a future self, someone who is much more like that self I would most like to be. I mention it because it’s a lovely day for self-reflection, and for taking a moment to pause, and see just exactly where I am on this path – and where I want to go from here. It’s a moment. One of many. The only thing that holds me back from forward progress in becoming the person I most want to be is my own decision-making about whether to do so, and the actions I take that follow up on my thinking.

Are you the person you most want to be? Have you “found yourself”? Do you even have a clear understand of what “finding yourself” could mean?

It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Who are you?

Where are you going?

Start with a question. 🙂

Sipping coffee on a quiet President’s Day holiday morning, and contentedly relaxing, letting go of baggage and bullshit lingering from jobs past, preparing for a future that begins in earnest, tomorrow. (Doesn’t it always?) I breathe. Relax. “Fuck my bullshit,” I think, smiling.

This seems relevant today (and many other todays as well). Far more experienced and expert words than I could offer. 🙂

I’m comfortable telling my own bullshit to fuck right off. If I don’t, I’m sure someone else will, but… what would I learn from that besides rejection? It’s too easy to excuse bullshit because someone else called it out, and the resulting feelings of defensiveness, hurt, rejection, and possibly resentment and anger, will quite likely blot out my ability to easily recognize that there is real truth to it. It’s important, I find, to be awake to my own bullshit, as much as possible, and do that work myself. It’s peculiarly far less lonely. 🙂

While I’m on about it… fuck your bullshit, too, damn. Can you do a little something about that? (Yes, you can. Choices. Verbs. It’s a lot of work I know.) I’m being somewhat playful, but also quite serious and purposeful. When was the last time you did a serious self-inventory? Who are you? Where are you headed in life? Are you wasting your resources and potential as if there is no future? Are you playing a grand game of Let’s Pretend and failing to understand how very much control you actually do have? Are your thinking errors preventing you from being emotionally and physically well? Are your addictions degrading your quality of life in return for a few minutes of something like pleasure? (Fine, fine, you’re not addicted, it’s just something you do… whatever. Fuck your bullshit.)

Seriously. Fuck your bullshit. Let it go. Change something you don’t like about yourself – because you don’t like it. Change your circumstances, if they suck. Seriously. Make choices. Use verbs. Don’t just party through your heartache or the wreckage in your head that’s holding you back. Educate yourself. Read a fucking book. See a damned therapist. Make every possible effort to be the person you most want to be! This is your life. Live it well, for fucks’ sake – because it is yours.

Why? Well, damn – because it’s what you want. Did you not already catch on to the fact that when what you want (of yourself, and of your life) is very different than what you are providing yourself, a deep despairing unhappiness can set in, an ennui that can destroy your ability to act – or to care – leaving you vulnerable to yet another evening/weekend/week/month/year of going… nowhere. Stress that never ends because you never choose in favor of your own long term interests and needs. Are you on a path that leads somewhere? Are you “wandering purposefully” seeking a greater truth? Or are you sort of just… killing mortal time? You could likely do better, for yourself. Your will to do so will matter a great deal. There are verbs involved. It’s a lot of work, and at least initially (maybe always, just being real; there’s work to do), damn little in the way of obvious pay off. It takes time. Incremental change is slow.

Anyway. What I’m saying is; this is your mess, you clean it up.

…And also? Fuck your bullshit. Damn.

…And also?…

Begin again. ❤