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Identity Crisis

I’m not having one, not any more than anyone else is anyways. I think this is a problem we all experience on some level, whether we recognize it or not. If I ask you who you are, if we sit down and I say, “tell me about yourself,” how would you respond?

Take a second, really. I’ll post a picture so you can think about it without jumping ahead.

(picture of me in complete alignment while on vacation with my kids and holding my best friend's baby)

I asked a few people this question today. Their responses were:

- I’m a (working/stay-at-home) mom

- I’m a (fire/service/electricians/pastor’s…) wife

- I have a business….

- I want to help (women/children/humans) with…

- I’m a (insert job)

These all without a doubt help others to know about your life. They are all things that are important, both to you and to understanding you. The thing is…they are all just who we are to other people. They are surface-level. I’m not suggesting that when people ask us about ourselves that we delve into the inner workings of our psyche and what truly matters most to us in relationships and life. But…we should at least be able to, right? We should be able to define ourselves.

Truthfully, think about how you would respond if you met a new mom or person at an event and upon asking them to tell you about themselves they responded with: “I’m an empath. I take on the hurt and frustrations of others, I worry about how others are feeling too much and it freezes me at times, I’m working hard to harness this beautiful energy but also set boundaries so that I’m not hurt or taken advantage of, or just a complete mess of emotions all the time. I’m starting to realize my part in this and it’s a journey. I value emotional connections, deep conversation, and community over most things, but I also feel anxious when I’m in groups or I haven’t had enough time to myself, an extroverted introvert…or something like that. I love to write and play music, although it’s more for my soul than to entertain anyone. I’m silly, honest, and loyal, but learning that loyalty doesn’t have to mean sacrificing who I am. I’ve been through a lot in the last 5 years that no one really knows about and I’m growing from it because I have a passion for helping others grow, in every direction.”


I could go on, but you didn’t actually ask about me ;). The truth is that, depending on who you are, this response would maybe be refreshing, but it would be odd. You may start to look inward and consider how you had just described yourself. You’d probably feel a little uncomfortable too, for many reasons. My guess is that you would tell some people about this strange and unique encounter. Some you would tell with awe and reverence, others you would tell in jest. Funny how we do that, right? Depending on who the audience is we are honest about how we feel or we are just performing for their entertainment. What if we didn't do that anymore?

My other guess is that after learning these things about this person, although a little confused by the response and thrown off by the honesty and intimacy of it, you would feel suddenly compelled to explain who you really are as well. Would you? Could you? Would you just repeat what they said because it sounded nice? Would say you’re very similar simply because you can relate what they are saying?

Do you know what your honest soliloquy about who you are at your core would be?

Can I challenge you to start to figure it out?

Does that make you feel uncomfortable? It’s not easy to determine who you are at your core, maybe sometimes it’s not really something you’re proud of, not because it’s bad, but because it’s not fully developed yet. Maybe it’s who you want to be, but instead you act differently, because it’s easier and what the people in your life are used to.

It was Walt Disney's brother, Roy, who said:

When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.

A few things from my younger life stand out to me regularly since deciding to start a new career and become a better human, someone my kids will be proud to talk about in many ways. I remember driving somewhere with Brian and discussing whether I should go into my master’s program or not. He was always very supportive of me academically and professionally, he was trying to encourage me to pursue my educational and career goals. I told him “The thing is, no job will ever make me complete. The only thing that will ever make me feel complete is having a family.”

Ahhhh…if I only knew. Do you know how long it took for me to accept that being a mom wasn’t actually going to completely fulfill me? We suffered a miscarriage and then 18 months of unexplained infertility before our first baby. After all that, it seemed so wrong to feel like I wanted to be more than a stay-at-home mom. I had incurred debt from graduate school, gave up a career, and fought for motherhood, it was all that I ever wanted. So I must be bad for wanting more. So I fought back against the desire to grow.

The other memory is before kids. We would get together with friends. Everyone had their drink of choice and the plan was, essentially, for my girlfriends and I to drink wine and chat while the guys did whatever they do. At that time there weren’t big careers yet, and we didn’t have children to discuss, so while I’m sure there were some meaningful conversations, the most I can remember is talking about others. Talking about what frustrated us in relationships, talking about what someone else was doing. Feeling angry for one another because of something that happened. I loved my friends, but we were not sitting around talking about dreams and goals.

So two things happened around the same time for me, almost immediately after having my first child. I started working on my art again. I never considered myself an artist. I have artists in my family who put me to shame, but I’ve always loved art. I love being creative. I created a business as a stay-at-home mom. My husband was gone for work almost constantly. I had plenty to do, but no close friends at this point, new motherhood is so lonely without a village, I needed something for myself and this could fly under the radar of, God Forbid, admitting that I wanted to be more and contribute more. I saved all of my earnings to prove my time was worth something. My dad was my sole investor, he bought every single tool I needed and then some. His ROI was nill, he’s a good dad.

As most know, I moved from this personal business to a new business in the world of network marketing…something I swore I’d never do. I decided I would run the business online, and while I did one thing at that point that was pivotal in my personal growth, another thing happened that I wasn’t aware of.