Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I am

Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about what I want to be when I grow up.  With that comes a lot of reflection on what I am today.  Thankfully, I’m not asking myself who I want to be or who I am.  That’s probably one of the most convoluted, crazy-making mind games someone can play on themselves.  Who I am will constantly change as I try to grow and as I gain more life experience.  So I guess I know who I am – ever changing.  What I am?  Well, that can be crazy-making too I guess because I am made up of a lot of different pieces and if I’m asking the question, I’m the one deciding which pieces to count!!!  For the purpose of not ranting onto a philosophical tangent, I will keep the ‘what am I’ question confined to my professional world.

As a little girl, I wanted to be the next Olympic superstar, mostly for the fame and notoriety.  As a young teen, I wanted to be a nun, mostly because I had decided that I was a better person than everyone else and should be marked as good and special forever.  In young adulthood, I gave up wanting to be much of anything except cared for and protected and even that felt horrible.  By my mid twenties, I wanted to save all addicts and alcoholics everywhere, because I had gained so much experience with both and believed I could relate to anyone.  This would have seemed a bit more logical if I had been sober myself, but even then it would have been grandiose. J  A couple years later I realized that I had gone kicking and screaming through my whole life to avoid the ordinary.  My efforts had left me jobless, broke and hopeless.  I told myself that what I did would define who I was.  So, I had become completely worthless. 

Thankfully my brother, sister and brother-in-law didn’t just stand aside and let me wallow in my bog of self-pity and depression.  I moved in with my sister and bro-in-law and my brother quickly hooked me up with a friend of his who got me a job as a human resources coordinator.  I hated going to work.  I hated how ‘average’ the work was.  Albeit reluctantly, I showed up day after day (well most days) and before I knew it a year had passed.  My siblings even threw me a one year on the job party because they knew what a big deal it was for me. (Yeah I have the coolest siblings in the world!)  I worked there for over two years and by the end of my time there I had some employable skills.  I did quit my job so I was jobless and close to broke but I was no longer hopeless. 

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I got sober shortly after I left that job and moved back home to California.  Just by holding a job down, I had gained a little hope in myself and some esteem – two things I had not experienced in adulthood.  I had also learned a little humility.  I needed to show up for life no matter how mundane I decided the day would be.  I knew I had to get sober to give myself a chance at showing up consistently again and when I did I learned how to do a whole lot more than that. 

I had a ton of direction my first year of working as a sober woman: “Put your head down and do eight hours work for eight hours pay.”  “Be a worker among workers.”  “Self esteem comes from doing esteemable acts… just do the next right thing.”  “Act better than you feel.”  The daily practice of all these pearls of simplistic wisdom brought me to what I am today.  I’m a good worker.  In the office I am a very able professional.  People like me and easily trust me at work.  I am given more responsibility than my job description dictates, and I welcome it.  I am articulate and capable under pressure.  Flipping to my coaching self, I am an awesome coach.  I think I say awesome because I love doing it so much.  Really, I am responsible.  I am deserving of the trust I am given by both the kids and parents.  I am talented and get to see my kids improve at a rapid pace.

Now, after all that, what do I want to be when I grown up?  Ha!  I still don’t know.  I want to give this public speaking thing a shot and see what journey it will take me on.  I want to be a mother and provide for my family.  I don’t know how those things will mix or work if both are in my future.  What I do know is I will be present.  I will work hard.  I will be one in the mix of so many in this enormous world that try to do good things for it.  I will take comfort in my past experiences and know that no matter what, no matter what, things will change.  In the end, what I am matters very little.  Who I am will be born of the things I do as I continue to put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.  It’s in the doing.

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