Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Am I?

I had the realization Friday night that I feel very lost.

I don't know who I am anymore.


I used to be that girl who was very driven to make my dreams come true. I wanted to move to Dallas. Check! I wanted to be a singer. Check! I wanted to go back to college and study information technology. Check! I wanted to graduate cum laude. Check! I wanted to have a great job, travel, swim the Great Barrier Reef. Check! Check! Check! I wanted to get married, build a big house, have children. Check! Check! Check!

Then little by little, those things faded. I stopped singing because I had children. I was laid off and became a stay at home mom. I got divorced. I moved out of the big house.

I felt like I was floating in space with nothing to hold on to.

Slowly those goals started reappearing: I wanted to buy my own house and get my girls in good schools. I wanted to do a triathlon.

Every time I set a goal, I accomplished it. I'm hard headed that way. Now it is January 2010. I feel like I'm expected to have a goal and I just.... DON'T.

So, Saturday morning, I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends, "Who am I?"

Here were the responses:

You are what you do.

You are T; friend, mother, daughter, sister, confidant, lover, healer, helper, blogger, etc, etc, etc.

You are you!!

my blogging sister friend!

U are a beautiful woman that makes my "big brother" very happy!!! And for that I say thank u & love u!!!! (from a friend of Gentleman Jack's)

A Crazy Freaky Hottie - geaux saints! (yes, I have *always* been a Saints fan.)

And Jack's response was:

My girl, my angel, my love! Single mother of 2 beautiful brilliant girls and hard working IT professional. Friend, athlete, counselor. Fantastic Lover!

All of these responses were amazing, supportive and sweet. But then came the response I wasn't expecting:

Be careful. If you don't decide who you are, other people will decide for you.

And that was the crux of the entire question: Who am I to me?

I had to sit with that a while. I know that I am very flexible in relationships with people. I will generally find a way to like what someone else likes. I will find interest in another's interests. I will start a hobby or activity that I'd never done before because of a relationship.

Some consider that weakness. Maybe I'm redefining myself because of those around me and I don't intrinsically know who *I* am.

But on the contrary, I've realized that I do!

I am a person who lives authentically. I am honest. I am FEELING. I don't have warm feelings - when I feel, I FEEL all the way. Sometimes those feelings make me extremely happy and sometimes those feelings make me very sad. I don't hate. I love. Extremely deeply. I am empathetic. I care about others. I forgive. I am introspective, intuitive and sensitive. I choose to keep learning. I want to inspire. I feel inspired to teach what I need to learn.

That is WHO I AM.

Am I a triathlete? Am I a college graduate? Am I a single mom? Am I a singer? Am I a homeowner? Am I any or all of those things?

Sure, I am perceived that way by many people. But those things are not the "me" that always has been and always will be. I may choose not to do another triathlon. I may not use my college degree. I will always be a mother but I may not always be single and my children will grow up. I may or may not sing in a band again.

Maybe that's why I can be so flexible about all of those things. Because all of those things are only temporary things that I do - not who I am. Those things will fade.

Apparently, I'm pretty good at playing chameleon with those around me. I refuse to limit myself to what I *do* or *don't* do. My identity isn't tied to that.

I will always be that feeling, forgiving, loving, honest, authentic me. No goal or absence of a goal will take away that part of me. That is the part of me that is real.

My strength is in my ability to continue growing and loving.

And I can move mountains with THAT kind of strength.

2010?

Bring it on.

21 comments:

  1. I can identify with this post in many ways - as I have several of your recent posts. I think it's that deep feeling and loving quality - and the pain that sometimes comes with it - that keeps us seeking answers, understanding and growth.

    Without the pain how can one find wisdom? It seems that those who avoid feeling also avoid pain (although they often inflict it onto others) but then they lack awareness and their growth is stunted as a result.

    Keep being who you are and sharing your bright light with everyone who is lucky enough to know you. :)

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  2. It is very simple- you are a person that keeps ask questions and challenge oneself. Most people don't do that at all, just float from one month to another, from one job to the other, from one relationship to the other. Keep doing it and you will be what ever you want. Good luck!

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  3. A person who questions themselves, and then strives to answer those questions, is a strong person. Especially when those questions are goals they've set.

    I think you're doing a great job of making yourself a stronger you!

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  4. "Be careful. If you don't decide who you are, other people will decide for you."

    Really smart comment.

    Really nice post.

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  5. Did I just catch that you define yourself by the goals you set?

    See all of these goals sit on top of who are. If you haven't figured out who you are, then all the goals mean diddly squat.

    those goals kept you busy and preoccupied... but didn't really do any good for you. Because you expected these goals to define you, and you've just realized that they didn't.

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  6. Thanks for the continual inspiration. You are one of the most curious, open-minded human beings I know.

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  7. Great questions you ask!! They are questions that we should always be asking ourselves...

    I think its ok to ask others who they perceive us to be, but the person asking the question needs to be aware that the answers of others are only perceptions...

    Maybe even you answer the question, you are still giving your perception... however, your perception is probably the most truthful...

    Who you were changed when you married... and then when you had children... and then when you divorced... but as long as you are aware, you will be in charge of who you are and what you become...

    Don't worry so much about what/who others think you to be...

    Good luck in your pursuit of (re)discovering who you are.

    ~shoes~

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  8. Glad to see that you're figuring all of this out for yourself. :) I think that the things we do, and the details of our lives will keep changing, but that who we really are, deep down to the very core, changes very little over the course of time. You may not always be a triathlete or a single mom, but you will always be forgiving, introspective and inspirational. :)

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  9. I feel like I am having the same problem - WHO AM I? And reading your post is exactly what I am feeling...and reading this: "Be careful. If you don't decide who you are, other people will decide for you" is so true, and so easy to fall into. I don't have the answer, but I loved your post, so I had to comment.

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  10. Who am I? ... is it a good question? Does our Western culture value defining ourselves by what we've accomplished and what we do? Does that make us competitive to the point of being counter-productive?

    Let me know when you've found the answer because I'm a little confused too ...

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  11. I truly believe that we are someone different for each person we know. Including ourselves.

    And sometimes the question is, "Who do I say that I am for myself TODAY?"!

    :) And you know who *I* think you are.

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  12. I felt like I was floating in space with nothing to hold on to. - Such is life. The heart of Buddhist wisdom is that nothing has meaning. The universe is a vast sea of nothingness. Any meaning we ascribe to any thing is a figment of our own imagining. We all perceive the nothingness differently. Have you read the Dalai Lama?

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  13. Don't worry so much about who you are - be thankful THAT YOU ARE!
    I love you, T, because you're T.

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  14. Sometimes the question isn't even so much, who am I? Sometimes the real question is who do I want to be? Those of us who are goal oriented get a little discombobulated when suddenly it seems like we don't have any new fresh goals to strive for. We think that what we are, where we are, what we have already accomplished isn't enough. More. Always striving for more keeps us focused.

    It's okay to sit back during these moments to assess where we are in life and where we want to be. To me, you have become a blog friend, a constant source of inspiration and joy and hope.

    And while you give so much to all of us in your life, know that we are here to give right back to you. Big hugs!

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  15. I agree wholeheartedly that we become who we are partly due to how we live up to others' expectations due to the roles we must fulfill in Life...and that we choose who we are. We cannot let others dictate who we are, but others can influence and help us to constantly better ourselves.

    That's a tough question and my identity in this separation is something I am struggling with finding again--being Ms. Llama again, not always 'Mama'.

    Be well, T.

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  16. Oh gosh... I've been feeling the exact same way. The biggest goals and life challenges that I've ever had were recently accomplished and I'm past that. Now I'm standing around thinking "OK, now what?". I don't quite know what to do with myself and am in the middle ground between checking those things off and finding new things to work toward. I'm in that floaty space. I need to sit and think about this, I need to know what to say when someone asks me "Who are you?"

    Thank you for the little kick in the pants to start exploring this again.

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  17. T,
    Thank-you for sharing your thoughts on who you are. The words "I am" are two of the most powerful words we can ever use. It appears that as you have gone through this process you are using "I am" to your advantage and that my friend is key. Great post.

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  18. I think that anyone that care about their lives progress asks the same question often. If we don't constantly try to figure that out, than we have stopped trying to learn what will make us better.
    You are someone that inspires me to make myself better.

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  19. Wow..when I read "Be careful. If you don't decide who you are, other people will decide for you" I actually said "oooohhh" out loud (others in the cubes around me think I am even crazier). Thanks for making me think.

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  20. How did I miss this brilliant post? This is *the* question, my friend. One that should echo all of the time in each of our heads and heart. The day we have a definitive answer for this question is the day we stop living. May we always keep asking.

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  21. I wish somebody would decide for me. I feel very unaccomplished. And all I have are dreams and hopes.. I can't afford goals. Well, that's not true. After 18 months of unemployment.. there is a bright side. Mary Kay business starter kits are still only 99 bucks!

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