You and This Moment

Have you seen yourself lately? Before you think you opened the wrong blog post, I want to be clear. I am not talking about your physical appearance nor am I am shaming you for the color of your roots or even for the pallor you’ve begun to exhibit after untold hours facilitating Zoom-athons for you and every member of your household. The glimpse I am referring to is something we might not regard in the normal course. It is a version of you that intersects with the pandemic in a unique way, one that reminds me that amidst the devastation of our time there may also be something powerful and profound.

I am talking about seeing you. Resplendent. Imperfect. True.

I remember vividly the first time I encountered ‘seeing ourselves’ in my work. I was talking with one of my earliest research participants, Camille, in a Pasadena, CA coffee shop. She had just lost her job after nearly two decades with a fabled movie-industry employer. She was devastated and embarrassed. Honestly, I was surprised she agreed to meet me for coffee since she told me she had been in hiding ever since it happened. She said, “Who am I without this job?”  It was a line of questioning with which she was familiar. Years before she asked herself a similar one. “Who am I without alcohol?” Camille successfully gained her sobriety, a step towards seeing herself that seemed distant and yet connected to her current state of affairs. Camille was single and responsible for herself financially, a layer that added anxiety to an already difficult moment. Amidst all of this, Camille courageously turned her curiosity inward. Wondering. Interrogating. Asking. Who am I without all of this?

Even though your experience of 2020 may not have similar heartbreak and anxiety, the moment still invites you to ask an important question. In fact, the pandemic-related alterations of the past seven months create an on-ramp to these questions like never before. Have you been working from home since March? Who are you without the commute and the lunches at your desk? Have you been unable to see loved ones whom you would otherwise see regularly? Who are you without those touches?

I am not the only one advocating for such questions at this time. A piece in last weekend’s NY Times, “Teaching Elite Women Athletes to Value Themselves,” called for the same questions (NYT, 10/16/20, pg B10).  Coach Lauren Fleshman’s philosophy centered on a simple inquiry. She asked her elite runners, “Who are you if there are no races, no championships, no money to be made, no performance aspect at all?”

What do you see when so much of what you may have prioritized pre-pandemic is suspended or no longer possible? Can you learn anything from who you are in that place?

This moment holds a lot.  I never imagined our democracy would be at risk in my lifetime. Nor did I ever have imagine that the efforts I and others expended in a long fight for equality over thirty years would be met with truths that underscore a simple fact – we have not advanced an inch towards a more inclusive society despite all of our efforts.  Regardless of the ills of the moment that may appear on your list, the moment still offers us sight lines into something profound.

You.

Who are you?  Is it time to ask yourself  who am I without all of  ___, ____, or ___ (you fill in the blanks)?

What can you learn from the answer to that question? Do you need to summon the courage to address what you do not?

Many believe that transition is about leaving a person, place or thing and going to something else.  After more than a decade of working in the field, I believe we have it all wrong. Transition is a process that calls you to bring forward more and more of who you are.  I hope you take advantage of this moment and welcome the you that you find there.

Stay safe and well and please vote on November 3rd.

Linda R. (linda@lindarossetti.com  or visit https://lindarossetti.com/)

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Do you have another moment?  Listen to my newest podcast, Transition to Motherhood,  featuring a discussion with Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, author of Mom Brain. Dr. Ilyse and I talk about the challenges of crafting new identities, a difficult task at any time, let alone during the sleep deprived early years of motherhood. Something for everyone – only 11 minutes!

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Copyright © 2020 Linda Rossetti & NovoFemina.com. All rights reserved. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from NovoFemina.com.

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