Do you ever feel like you suffer from a multiple personality disorder?
It’s not that I’m not authentic around certain people, it’s just that I’m not sure if I will be fully accepted as I am around some individuals. If that makes any sense – okay, for instance – I have my margarita momma’s that I can totally let loose, say whatever comes to mind, not worry about political or religious beliefs or panic if I throw out a colorful expletive. Then there are people that I feel compelled to always have my game face on and talk about more cerebral topics. There are the polite relationships, the competitive relationships and even some relationships where I lead, they follow or vice versa. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy almost ALL of these relationships, friends, or acquaintances but I worry about image. We all worry about impressions and opinions people have of us in different circles. That’s why I have tried to be so “anonymous” on this blog for fear that perhaps there might be some readers that might take me less seriously as a mom or volunteer in their communities based on one blog entry instead of really getting to know my true character. However, now I am at the cusp of a very exciting opportunity. A local on-line newspaper has accepted my blog as one of their “local writers” and will be linking it to their website. There’s a good chance that I will no longer be faceless in my neighboring community. That is a little scary. It took much courage already to link this blog to my Facebook page where all of my family, friends and highschool alumni could easily access pieces of my life. I am not naive to think that I haven’t already bristled some hairs of loved ones by putting my opinions so starkly in focus, but I don’t worry about these relationships. They have been strengthened over years, not internet content.
Now don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for everything – I would never start throwing out “F” bombs during a parent teacher conference or talk about abortion in front of my middle school running team. There are just some things you don’t do if you are tuned in to your common sense. But I’m not sure why there are sides of myself that I hide in front of some and not others. Is it because I am not totally sold on my identity? I still stumble and stutter when people ask me “what do you do” because I interpret that as “who are you”. The answer to that latter question changes daily – but can’t we be a little of everything? Does me cursing with a close girlfriend make me less of a creative thinker? Does being interested and accepting of different religions make me less of a Christian? Does the fact that I like to get dressed up on a date night and enjoy feeling sexy make me less of a role model?
I would never purposely write or say something to intentionally hurt or embarrass another person, but I don’t want to apologize for things that I strongly believe. There is no way to make everyone content -comfortable- so the best I can do is allow myself to be myself as much as possible. And hope for the best. Afterall, it’s usually our flaws that end up binding us together, helps us relate on a deeper level.
This opportunity has made me start thinking about writing a book about all the things we don’t talk about – for fear of what others will think of us. There are also all the things that we don’t talk to our children about for fear that they will stop seeing us as an authority figure. But wouldn’t it show strength of character if people were more honest about who they are – or even more honest about who they were? We didn’t become the adults we are today because we followed all the rules or because we never suffered the consequences of poor decisions.
“Committing yourself is a way of finding out who you are. A man finds his identity by identifying. A man’s identity is not best thought of as the way in which he is separated from his fellows but the way in which he is united with them.”
– Robert Terwilliger