Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What I do is not who I am :: Part I

I wrote this back on May 17 as part of my "I am" thread. The thread was intended to be a journey of self-exploration and self-analysis for me. I intended to lay out some really deep, very personal "stuff". Because, you see, what I have been "doing" in my life for the past 30 years has really not been working. I'm in a strange place in my life right now. I find myself on a strange and unfamiliar path. A path that I chose with open eyes, open arms, open mind and open heart, but a path that I did not want. How's that for irony? A path that I looked down, and out of curiosity or some masochistic emotional need, or some lesson to be learned, I chose to walk this path.

But here I am. Now. No regrets. Really, no regrets. I was all by my doing and conscious choice. I am who I am today because of that path. I just want to understand. I need to understand.

For whatever reason, I hid this post as a 'draft'. I'm not sure when exactly I hid it, or why. I have a tendency to do that. I write stuff and never publish it. I also write 'em and post 'em and then pull 'em - sometimes. Perhaps that is as it should be.

Anyway, here it is...

I don't remember if I read this somewhere, or if I came up with these words myself. "What I do is not who I am." It was an epiphany of the highest order for me. So simple, yet so remote was the understanding. Distant. Shrouded by fog. Clear and muted at the same time.

I remember writing the words on a yellow legal pad. I can't remember now exactly when it was. Six years ago in Aspen? Was it ten years ago? Quite possibly it was as long as thirteen years ago - in Dallas. Thirteen long years. Gone in a blink.

I very distinctly remember coming to the realization that I had become my job. My job was me. My entire identity - "who" I was, was "what" I did. What I did for a living. What I did for dollars. I was a workaholic of the worst variety. I would go into the office at 5:30 in the morning and not leave until 6:30 or 7:30. My logic at the time was that I wanted to miss the horrible rush hour traffic of Dallas. Go in early before it started, leave the office late, after it had subsided.

I remember drinking cold, stale coffee at 4:00 or 5:00 pm. The dregs of the pot.

I was a sick fuck.

There were times, under the heavy burden of single-handedly running a new division of the company, that I would stay even later - until 11pm or 1am. Sometimes, I would just get a room at the hotel next to the office and not even go home.

It was also, unfortunately, my escape from an unhappy marriage. One that was doomed from the very beginning to fail. But that is another story. For another time.

The saddest part of all, is that my daughter remembers me never being home. Now that, I regret.


Sallycat said...

Hi Alex

I understand only too well 'What I do is not who I am.' I lived like that for a very long time. And yet by the 'doing' we create who we 'are' in that moment and if we keep doing it then we keep reinforcing it, and so we stay stuck, perhaps in a place where we are not being true to our soul. Thus we walk further away instead of closer to our core and perhaps generate misery for ourselves. I know I did.

I have spent the past two years learning to walk closer to my core, and it was hard at first to 'do' things differently, but in the same way that I followed my 'stuck' patterns, I am learning that I can choose to create new patterns and follow them too. I have learned that if I can be brave enough to 'do' the things that are true to my soul, then what I do is born of who I really am and the power of this 'coming together' of inner self and actions glows for all to see: in the light in my eyes at least. I sense that the universe takes note of it too, and sends me opportunities that are more in tune with who I really am: it's like I can make it easier for the universe to walk with me. And it glows inside me, and the warmth of it brings me relief and peace.

I hope you understand what I try to say and that I do not speak out of turn.

Your words touched me this morning as they often do. I don't know where you have got to on this particular journey because you say you wrote these words some years ago, but I guess I want to support you in 'doing' the things you really 'are'. Find out who you are and who you want to be and be true to that you and I am certain it will bring you peace, as it has done me.


Limerick Tango said...

A man who laboured for my grandfather used to say "If they don't want to me because of what I am instead of who I am, then they're probably not worth knowing".

Suzy Vegas said...

As someone who gave up everything (or had it ripped from her) to come to the end of the world - I know what you mean by 'I find myself on a strange and unfamiliar path' through 'some masochisitc emotional need'. Are you feeling strange from quitting the job or because you havent yet?
What you do is not who you are and when I was DJing in Brighton, my partner used to tell people 'that's a really rude question' when they asked 'so what do you do?' It is an indication of someone with nothing to say and a totally trammelled mind.