I am a chameleon. I have been through so many personas in my short 39 years that it makes my head spin. In a pre-memoir exercise, I’ve been writing a stream of consciousness journal about my life to date. In the process, a stark pattern has become clear, I lose myself in friends and colleagues over and over and over.
There is a process to this losing and a process to the finding too. That will take more than a blog post to explain. When I lose myself, it is complete. I take on the ideas, interests, beliefs, and personality traits of another. This mostly happens at work and it has made me an exceedingly good #2.
I “tune into” the leadership and produce communications, fundraising, and strategic plans that align beautifully with their vision. Each time, I one day wake up. I have no explanation for the timing of these awakenings, they just happen. When they do, it can be quite jarring.
In my personal life, this ability to merge is less useful for success, but equally as present. When I am with a friend, I enter her world and take on her ideas as my own. When I entered a marriage with a self-proclaimed narcissist, I made an excellent shadow to his persona. When I speak with my atheist brother, I experience waves of doubt. When a friend expresses a strongly held opinion, I take it as fact. Or at least I did.
I have been a Northwest grunge kid, a hip hop DJ’s girlfriend, a raver, a manager, a humanitarian, a yogi, a community organizer, a helpless codependent woman, a fierce feminist, a horsewoman, a fashionista, a pothead, a spiritual “teacher?”, a monastic, and a materialist. I’ve danced on private yachts, sang karaoke with Vanessa Williams, traveled to destitute reaches of the Earth to help others, meditated in some of India’s most sacred sites, and experienced moments of inner bliss beyond description. Who is this mess of experiences? Who are any of us, really?
Today, I can hear my inner voice calling out for another transformation. As I let her be heard over the din of other voices and the inner thumping of my “should” demons, I am returning to my knowing. At nearly 40 I feel free.
The yogi would describe this inner knowing as the soul. She is constant, no matter the changing scene of this life. Being a chameleon has it’s upside, but the constant loss of self can be a real drag.
In this chapter of life, I hope to increase the volume of my inner voice enough to allow the chameleon to exist as a tool, rather than a way of life. This is an exercise in trust and empowerment. One would think my daily practice of meditation would be sufficient, but it’s not. I am tired of waking up to find that I have lost myself again.
Transformation is ever-humbling. We let go of everything in order to “live a more true and beautiful life” as Glennon Doyle puts it so well.
I’ll keep you posted on what I find!