Many of the women I work with have, on some level, become dislocated from their sense of self.
We crave authenticity and alignment, but recognize that our beliefs, preferences, and ways of being in the world have become deeply conflated by others’ expectations, as well as our own.
I’m quite sure that the first step toward realignment is self-reunion.
It is both simple and profound, and begins to chip away at the complex question of who you are when you’re more you.
As a way to experiment with exploring this concept, try this: write out 25 little things you know about yourself. Or, even better, write 50. I dare you to come up with 100.
They don’t need to be profound. You don’t need to dig, here, for revelation…it will come. This will be hard, or it will be incredibly easy, and all that is information about you in and of itself. It might feel a bit like writing a love note to yourself.
(I hope it feels like writing a love note to yourself).
Here are my 25 things. Would you share yours, too?
1. After 15 years of classical piano training, the sound of a piano instantly transports me to a soothed, meditative space.
2. I don’t like cutting things that are round: pies, pizzas, cakes…don’t ask me why, but don’t ask me to do it.
3. Lists make my world go round.
4. Writing is my way of decompressing, expressing, processing, channelling, creating, and contributing.
5. I am a kick-ass swimmer.
6. I have always – and probably will always – commune with nature as my way of processing and finding clarity in my life.
7. I harbour the unique ability to believe I can do anything. Truly, and almost to the point of this also being a fault of mine.
8. I am an introvert only recently becoming comfortable with what my introversion requires of me: I can confidently claim my time to myself in the name of re-energizing without worrying what others are thinking about me.
9. I am a voracious reader. Though I prefer not to have more than one book on the go at a time (even though I often do), I devour books and always crave more reading time.
10. I am proud of myself. This is a hard one to claim, as I still have some lingering negative connotations and stories associated with self-pride. But I am proud. I have done some amazing things in my 35 years here on earth, and I have confidence that I will continue to surpass my own expectations.
11. I have a uniform: leggings and my IceBreaker wrap with All The Jewels, Blundstones and hand-knitted socks in wild colours in the winter, and shorts / tank top and Keens in the summer.
12. Setting goals and getting ‘er done is basically in my DNA: I started my first day planner when I was about 7 years old. Sometimes I have to temper my enthusiasm for accomplishment, but drive, the ability to plan, set goals, and follow-through has always been my strong suit.
13. Small talk makes me crazy, and exhausted. When I connect with people, I crave depth.
14. I have a great love of pottery mugs. I have dozens in my collection, and each, in my opinion, is meant for a specific type of tea or coffee on a specific occasion. (and, as a result, it’s better when I make my own hot beverages, because anyone else will inevitably get it wrong).
15. I am slowly recovering from passive-aggressive, self-victimizing / other-blaming tendencies. My loved ones are delighted.
16. I think best when I’m knitting.
17. I love travel AND I love home. I love the unknown AND I love the creature comforts of predictability and routine. This is a dichotomy that I’ve only just recently gotten comfortable with and claimed as my own way of being in the world; not a nomad but not a homebody either.
18. Every shade of ocean blue is my favourite.
19. I really (really really) like going fast. Mostly on my bicycle; my purple motorcycle takes a close second.
20. I am a coffee snob but identify as a tea drinker.
21. I am a fierce advocate for women in a world that I believe needs Feminists – with a capital F – more than ever. I am convinced that women, empowered, can change the world, and that that terrifies the patriarchy. And so we remain underpaid, overworked, and disempowered. But we are rising.
22. I have a deep love for the music of Ani Difranco, the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, Alice Hoffman and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the art of women who paint oceans.
23. I am overwhelmed by the opportunities I have to express my authenticity, and, along with that, by the ways in which the overculture has contributed to my sense of self, what I like, who I am, and how I want to be in the world. I am working, slowly, to know the difference between that me and the real one.
24. My childhood and teenage years seem to hold the clues to this authenticity: I am slowly returning to the girl who used to sit in the corner of the dodgeball court writing her first novel and hoping not to get whammed by a wayward ball.
25. On any given day, you can find me in my office, cooking up a feast in the kitchen, out on a hike, or hanging in my fire-lit basement with my kids, playing horsey.