Crisis in the FogMar 11, 2020
I woke from a frightening dream about being marooned in deep fog.
The sensations of deprivation, loneliness, and disorientation were disconcertingly familiar and more nightmarish than dream-like.
This night terror rekindled memories of difficult periods of my identity crisis, and the struggle to answer; ‘Who Am I Now?’
Fatigued from chasing the elusive “Next Me”, while much in my life was changing, the challenge of reinventing again made me want to pull the covers over my head.
To the world outside of my gloom, it appeared that everything in my life was easy-breezy, bright and sunny. I pretended I had it all under control. Most of the time my family and friends were fooled. Sometimes, I fooled myself for a while.
Behind the veil, everything was grey and blurry. I was a ghost of my former self, obscure, searching and without purpose.
The only thing I was certain of was I could not stand still, or I’d be forever lost in this fog. I accepted I was the only one who could rescue me.
I knew the pain of staying the same would soon exceed the pain of changing. Even though I was confused, I compelled myself to take the first unsure steps toward clarity.
After selling my company and retiring to a new country and new relationship, I was completely unprepared for the shock of losing my identity. No one had warned me that metamorphosis wasn’t always pretty or comfortable, but nature proves the process is essential to transform the caterpillar to the butterfly.
I knew who I had been.
I had a name and a title on a business card that validated my identity and my purpose. Unprepared for transition, I’d linked my worth to that 2 by 3-inch piece of cardboard. Without that branded identification, I found myself struggling to introduce myself – even to myself.
Who Am I Now?
Each time we navigate through major changes in our lives, there will be growing pains.
How did I not anticipate this Identity Crisis Syndrome?
Why did it take me so long to label it, admit to it, research it and overcome it?
Why couldn’t I just take it in stride and keep on powering through it all, just as I’d done all my life – like women do – taking on new roles and responsibilities?
I’d already transformed and reinvented so many times in the earlier seasons of my life.
I adapted and learned ‘on the job’ how to be the next me as I added to my personal resume; daughter, student, serial wife, mother, step-mother, grandmother, multi-career employee, friend, family caretaker, business owner, volunteer, mentor, spender, saver, investor, boss, and the list goes on and on.
Each and every time, I’d never been ‘that me’ before, but qualified by experience, I earned those titles and added to my Feminine Wisdom C.V.
This time, I felt like I was blindfolded on a trapeze platform, reluctant to let go of the ‘me’ I was accustomed to and afraid to leap for an unseen ‘me’ on the other side.
Looking back, I realize why I was so unforgiving with myself during the struggle to reinvent again.
Hint – it was the blindfold.
After several years and what felt like many death-defying attempts to leap into my future, I finally took off the blindfold and I realized that I was not alone in the fog or on a high platform without a net.
There are millions of Baby Boomers and Gen X women passing through the fog of transition and change. We’re all looking for answers; a Womanual, to help us chart a course out of the murkiness.
During research for my first book, I interviewed dozens of women. After “Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ was published, women continued to reach out and share their stories about the truth of transformation as evolving women and their vision for the future.
Three of the motivating and inspiring themes I hear consistently are:
- There is a dawning awareness that many of our identities and roles of the past were influenced by societal expectations and directed by others. Our value was measured by outdated standards of what a woman should look like, wear, do and say. At last, we can consciously choose who we want to become next and how we create value.
- We’ve spent much of our lives misinformed, misunderstood and marginalized by patriarchal systems. We long for a community that honors our wisdom, opinion, individuality and champions opportunity for us to make a difference. It’s our time and our turn.
- We are the role models for future generations. We have so many choices, increasing life quality and lifespan. We must lead as influencers and trailblazers.
How do we find our way out of generations of reduced visibility?
Sound the foghorn and grab on to the lifeline of a community of women who’ve been through the storm also.
The most exciting revelation from my journey through the soupy hell of Who Am I Now was I was never actually alone!
I just had to be vulnerable enough to say I’m not sure where I am today and others stepped forward to guide me. Thank you Brene Brown!
I love that more and more women are stepping out from behind the shroud of social media and arbitrary ceilings to share authentic wisdom and bold dreams!
I have a tribe and I see them clearly now!
#JoinTheConversation on Facebook here and add your Feminine Wisdom to the collective for an abundant and sustainable future for all!