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Roles

Posted 07-23-2008 at 01:03 PM by ostarella
Had a conversation with a friend recently and - either because I'm extremely egocentric or because I'm deeply introspective - I started thinking about it in terms of - TA-DA - me. Which was basically the subject of the conversation - the idea of being accepted for ourselves, not just the roles we play in other people's lives.

One has to wonder, sometimes, how much our roles affect the "Me". How often do the roles become Me? And how often does Me become the role? And how much control do we have over either?

Just for an example: I've been the family "caretaker" for as long as I can remember. I started working when I was fifteen and almost immediately was helping pay for my brother's college. My sister once told me my siblings "relied" on me to stay in close proximity to the folks to make sure they were okay. And of course being a single parent, going through my dad's cancer, my mom's dementia - all of which was my making sure things ran as smoothly as possible. That "things" got done. At work, it always ended up the same way - my bosses eventually reached the point where they would rely on me to make sure that "things" got done.

In other words, I took care of the dirty work so others wouldn't have to. And that meant not always being "nice". Someone at work once mentioned that to me, and I told him, "I'm not getting paid to be liked. I'm getting paid to get the job done." And after a few years of playing that role, it got to be a habit. So much so that it filtered into every aspect of my life. I would try to be "nice", but if the job - whether at work or at home - wasn't getting done, then "nice" went out the window.

I didn't like it. But...

The role had become the Me. And any time I tried to reverse that, people would react negatively. They *liked* the bitchy, bossy Me - because then they didn't have to deal with the dirty work. But I was tired of that. Very tired. Which is one reason I "retired". But the Role hasn't given up the ghost. Not yet.

So now I'm thinking about that cruise in March. And as I drove home last night, I made a few decisions. One, I'm not taking any jeans. I'm getting some dresses, some skirts, getting some jewelry - maybe even perfume! What does that have to do with the Role? Everything. The Role means I wear jeans and work boots and carry my wallet in my hip pocket. It means I can tear apart the plumbing or wield a chainsaw with the best of them. It means I've learned more swear words than a sailor and I'm not afraid to use them. It means I can tell off a guy whose belly button is at my eye level - and never bat that eye.

And that's not Me.

It's "part" of me, but not the total. There's the me that likes - no, loves - being a Lady. That likes having doors opened for me, and to have guys stand up when I walk in the door. That likes wearing nice clothes and - though it's been ages - having guys watch as I walk by. The part of me that likes to sit back and enjoy a quiet drink without talking about the problem with the hydraulics on the forklift.

The Me that likes being *liked*.

So that's what the cruise is going to be for me - besides the obvious of meeting Dirk again and learning more of the in's and out's of eating healthy. It's going to be my chance to take control of the Role and remind myself of *all* that I am, even though I have to take the next seven months to prepare for it.

But I think I'm going to like it.
Total Comments 10

Comments

  • Old Comment
    The trick is in the constantly reminding yourself of who you really are as a person. Deep down. To keep touching base with the "me" and let everything else, even if it's for a while, fall to the wayside.
    Renewal of spirit is fundamental in a person's life.
    We are all things to all people, but the "me" was there in the beginning, before the "all things to all people".
    It's really OK to indulge now and then because it's something we all [I]deserve.[/I] ;)

    So go on that cruise for [I]you. Be you. Enjoy you.[/I]
    Life will still be there when you're done your "me" time.
    It always is. :)
    Posted 07-24-2008 at 01:38 AM by
  • Old Comment
    Quote:
    It's really OK to indulge now and then because it's something we all deserve.
    Sometimes I think that's the biggest hurdle - giving ourselves permission to be ourselves, even if it "inconveniences" other people. But I think they'll live
    Posted 07-24-2008 at 08:53 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    I really enjoyed reading your blog.
    You be true to yourself. You don't need permission from people to be you. If that inconveniences them, that's their problem.
    Like you said they'll live.
    Like my Father has always said to me if people don't like you for who and what you are, that's their problem.
    Posted 07-25-2008 at 09:41 AM by bibbi bibbi is offline
  • Old Comment
    Yeah, my folks told me the same thing. But there's always that feeling I get, when I don't do what people expect or want - that somehow, I've "proven" that I'm just not quite...good enough.

    Just have to convince myself that I'm good enough for me - and that's what matters.
    Posted 07-25-2008 at 10:14 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Just a quick pop in to say I really liked this blog article - I've been thinking about it since I read it last week - and sorry I haven't had a chance to reply before now. I could say loads and loads about this, but it's your blog not mine, so I won't. I'll try to be brief!

    Different 'core strengths/skills' come to the fore when we need them, and thus we are an amalgam of the different roles we take on. Changing physically often leads to mental changes too. We can change ourselves, but not others. Unfortunately when we change, those who know us longest, don't or won't accept those changes. We are forever pidgeon-holed in their minds as the young adult we were many years ago. With friends it's easier to accept changes to friendships and making of new friends, but with family it's so much more difficult.

    The answer?
    Sorry I don't know that one - I just know one needs to keep reassuring oneself that the way one is 'today' is right for 'today' and that if other people have a problem with that, then that's just it, 'their' problem?

    Love and best wishes
    DBL
    Posted 08-01-2008 at 04:12 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    Quote:
    With friends it's easier to accept changes to friendships and making of new friends, but with family it's so much more difficult.
    True - friends will notice changes and want to know why, when, who...they want to understand what happened to make the changes. With family - that's just weird, what with birth order and gender. I was the youngest and female and therefore the screwup. Until they "needed me" - then I was the "get it done" person. Now, with the folks gone - gad, now I'm the screwup who'd better get things done anyway.
    Posted 08-01-2008 at 10:07 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Reading this blog I am reminded of a great Eleanor Roosevelt quote, so I went to look it up on the web, and found it
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
    But I also found all these great quotes from the great lady too!
    Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

    The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

    Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

    People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

    You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

    Learn from the mistakes of others. You canít live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

    Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
    Hope you don't think them too cliche!
    Posted 08-06-2008 at 04:17 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    Eleanor Roosevelt was one hell of a woman. I love (and agree with) most of the quotes I've seen from her. And you're both right - no one can make you feel like crap if you don't let them. Just have to keep reminding myself of that
    Posted 08-06-2008 at 06:40 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    It's nice to know that I am not the only one who feels somewhat the same way. I have been the "caretaker" for many years. Getting married and making the commitment to another starts it off. You no longer have only yourself to think about. Then comes the kids, and of course, that is a life long job. We think life is good and we carry on in our daily lives until something drastic happens. I have cared for my husband, my children, my parents, my animals, my friends, my extended family, and my community. I am feeling overwhelmed sometimes and forget that I too need to be taken care of. I have realized that if I don't focus on my occasional needs, then I am no good to care for any one else. My mother has alzheimer's and it is a struggle some days, but I carry on because she was my caretaker for my life, now it is my turn, and so life goes on....! I hope everyone can understand the need for patience, understanding and for all those times you forgot to look after you first! Have a great day everyone!
    Posted 08-14-2008 at 09:23 AM by Sharon Sharon is offline
  • Old Comment
    I think one of the biggest challenges is not letting the resentment build up (too much ) and that's another good reason to take time for yourself. We need to let off steam, as it were, get away from the responsibilities and just do something totally "selfish" once in a while.
    Posted 08-14-2008 at 09:35 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
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