On my drive to pick up my son after work, I was thinking about my post from earlier. I was thinking about grief. How sometimes, I just forget all about it. I get wrapped up in life, T, work, the kids, the house… and then some days, it’s all I can think about.
Only a few weeks after Ben had passed away, a doctor diagnosed me as having Acute Grief. I remember wanting to punch him in the face. What do you expect?! He’d asked me what I’d been going through from a stress level and I broke down right there in the office. You see… I died that day. The woman I was… she’s gone. Left in her place was a shell; a look alike. Acute grief. I’ve looked it up. It’s a real thing, and I won’t lie, I’ve related to most of the symptoms (physically and emotionally). He wasn’t wrong.
Someone asked me why I chose the tagline for this blog that I did.
“Ramblings of a girl masquerading as a woman…”
Because that’s what I am. A girl in a shell of a woman, who is learning how to live again. This year will mark six years since that day. The new me… is essentially a little girl…I’ve had to re-learn how to breathe, how to trust, how to love. Every day I grow just a little bit more. Every day, I add to my goals and dreams for this new life. Some days, I’ll work toward those dreams with gusto and some days, I’m timid and maybe even a little afraid.
Interesting how I’m just as vulnerable now as I was as a child. Vulnerability. We think when we’re children that we’ll get away from it. But in reality, it is only in adulthood that we learn to accept our vulnerabilities for what they are. And in doing that, they become strengths.
I find a certain comfort and safety in knowing and understanding my role. Whether it be at work, in the family, or with friends and loved ones. It helps me know what is expected of me. Certain roles require certain skills or come with certain benefits or costs. Roles can change on a given day depending on a whole variety of things. I was thinking about roles for something at work, and it made me think that it might be a good exercise to do for myself. Why not? The following are 13 of the roles I play.
The Domestic Mom role
The fixer, the soother, the baker of goodies. When in this role, I will typically carry and bring tissues, brownies, bandaids and hugs.
The Mom role
This is to my kids mostly – but other people’s kids too. I will play with toys, chase imaginary monsters and lovingly quote Dr. Seuss with the best of them. This also comes with the fever checker skill, the incredible ability to make magic chicken soup and the skill to chase the boogie man out of scary closets. Rewards for this skill would include hugs and kisses and snuggles. Special skills: Loyalty, strength, patience, trust, unconditional love, pride
The Listening Friend role
This role is typically filled with “hmm’s” or “ahh’s”. Complete attention is given, as well as lots of listening. This is not typically a “troubleshooting” kind of situation. More of a listening and a shoulder to support kind of role.
The Troubleshooter/Idea Generator role
There’s a problem? Let’s fix it! Brainstorm 5 solutions, then prioritize as far as reality goes then let’s try em till we get it fixed. Don’t understand? Let’s learn it! Nothing is impossible! We just have to figure out how.
The Cheerleader role
This is the role you play when people need to cheer up or lift the energy of a room. Signature moves include random spurts of the carlton dance, outbursts of song, and jokes of all nature of things.
The Best Friend role
When you need me, I am there. Rain or shine, Day or night. You lovingly will listen as I break everything down in my head on a whiteboard, you help me figure things out when I get overwhelmed. And you know that I will lovingly do the same for you. We will laugh at and with each other. Poke fun when the other is taking life a little too seriously. Rewards include hugs and companionship. Special Skills: Trust, Loyalty, Pride, Respect, Honesty, Love
The Coworker role Friendship levels here are light and shallow. Most of the time, chats not involving work projects revolve around office politics, fashion, weather, recent movies, news or local events, family and vacations and new hobbies.
The sister role
See above as far as best friend. We won’t always get along, but we’ll always come back to a place of positivity and love. I would jump in front of a train for you. ‘Nuff said. Special skills: Patience, Loyalty, Pride, Trust, unconditional love, Honesty
The daughter/granddaughter role
I will always strive to make you proud. Ambition lies in this role to some degree. I will always remember my manners, fit into any situation, just as I was taught. This is where the good girl lives too. Special skills: Loyalty, strength, pride, respect, Trust, unconditional love
The single mom role
Heads down, focused on getting the shit done that has to get done. Work, Kids, Bills, Life… rinse, wash, repeat. Men? What? Dating? Huh?! Special skills: Strength, Pride, Respect, Trust. Special boost in finances for having no life.
The “DatingSomeone” Role
I’ll schedule you in when/if I can. I’m interested, you’re interested. It’s interview time…on both sides. I will slowly let you in behind the walls and masks to see if you are interested or trust-worthy. If I’m dating you – it means I like you. I don’t do well at focusing on more than one person at a time. Special Skills: Honesty
The “in a relationship” Role
You find time when you can to share with someone you care about. It is a very compartmentalized part of your life. You might share a lot about you, but not really share all of who you are because they only ever really get to see one or two facets of who you are. They rarely meet or hang with the family or kids. Outings are scheduled and planned – hey we’re both busy. Special bonus of me wanting to spoil you because you do mean something special to me in a big way. It shows because I’ll want to spend time with you. To note: Not sure how well I’d do at sustaining this role for long periods of time. If I love you, I’m going to struggle with keeping life compartmentalized. Special Skills: Respect, Strength, Loyalty, Honesty, New Love.
The Girlfriend Role
It’s not about finding time, we make time to share with each other…not because we feel like we have to, but because we just want to. It’s MUCH less compartmentalized. If you need me, I’m there. No questions, no judgements, no keeping score. You are allowed in my inner circle of trust – this also means you’ll meet the others in that inner circle and hang with them on occasion, because they are a part of my life, and I’ll want to share in that with you. You have a standing invite to my home and utilize it. I trust you with me. You have access to utilize most of the other role’s skills as you need them. Special bonus of me wanting to spoil you. Special skills: Loyalty, Trust, Pride, Respect, Strength, Honesty, Love
The Wife/Significant Other Role
No communication is withheld. No walls. No masks. You are viewed as my equal… my king. So long as I’m your queen. I trust you with me AND my family. I share life’s ups and downs with you. You have your life, your friends, your world… but we share them with each other. We live and interact and help support each other to get through the bumps along the way. I trust that you will keep me, and my family safe. I may spoil, but more than spoil, I share… everything. Special skills: Loyalty, Trust, Pride, Respect, Strength, Honesty and Unconditional Love
There are I’m sure many I left out of the list. A neighbor, an acquaintance, a customer, a boss…. All of these are valid roles that we play in a given day. What is interesting to me is that detailing this out really helped me define some things I didn’t know about myself and who I am. Before sitting down to write this out, some of the roles were fuzzy in my mind as far as all that it would entail. I’ll admit, some of the above are kind of new to me. I’m still trying to figure out the lay of this new land called dating. Realizing some of these new ones “In a relationship” vs Girlfriend for example – I really think there is a distinction there that up until doing this exercise, I would have missed. I reflected on many of the roles I play currently… where I thought I was on a few, and where I really am on a few others. I’m happy with it all and giving them distinction gives me clarity on what it is that I expect of me. What I still have to understand is whether or not my own expectations of myself need adjustment. But it helps me feel better, I can chart my course for the time being and keep chugging along. I’ve been trying to find a pace, and I’m realizing that the pace just comes on it’s own. And that I get to ride it. Enjoy it, each role, and all the others I left out, for what it is.
Because it’s Life. Because it’s relationships. Because it’s lovely.