Exploring My Multiple Identities

Exploring My Multiple Identities

Exploration of authentic identity rather than building personas to please different audiences.

I took a different route on my morning walk today. I live in a heavily wooded neighborhood alive with lots of wildlife. My intent was to notice what was going on around me…sounds, scents, and sights. And I was rewarded in so many ways.

I saw deer, squirrels, chipmunks, cats, dogs, and a wide variety of birds. I heard bird song, squirrels chirping, dogs barking, water runoff, and a disconcerting amount of man-made noise. I relished the scent of cherry blossoms wafting to me on the breeze.

Because it’s the time of year when trees are covered in buds, but not fully leafed out, I was able to notice several things about them in their springtime nakedness. First, I was struck by how trees appear to be longing for the heavens. For the most part, their branches grow upward, stretching into the sky.

Second, and this is what instigated this line of thinking, is that so many trees seem to be expressing many selves. I don’t mean they are growing as different kinds of trees – that’s impossible. No, they simply seem discontent with a “rule” that allows for only one trunk.

So many of them grow up 15 or 20 feet, and then the trunk splits into multiple trunks. I don’t pretend to be a tree expert; I’m certain an arborist would explain that they are separate branches, not trunks. But I interpret them as trunks because of appearance…even though they have split from the main single trunk into many, they continue to grow upwards, different than the way branches grow outward off the main limbs.

The idea resonated with me, because I think of myself that way, as well. And perhaps you do, too. While I certainly have a strong foundation as Laura, I’m resistant to the idea that I must simply be one person, one identity, easily defined by just a few words. No, I have multiple identities that allow me to be authentically me and I’ll do whatever it takes to reinforce them, grow them, and express them.

I’m not talking about multiple personality disorder, or any other potential psychological diagnosis; no, this is about who I am and how I show up in the world and its associated arenas.

In some spaces, I am a business owner. Here I focus on strategy, relationship building, delivering specific services to a variety of clients, and being a prudent manager of the resources associated with my work.

I am a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I love my family with all my heart, and yet, do not want to be consumed by these roles. Yes, we may be one as a family unit and we are each unique individuals. Daughter, sister, wife, and mother are certainly a significant part of who I am and how I live, but they alone do not define me any more than any other role or identity I may hold.

As a speaker, I seek to be the kind of story-teller whose story resonates with others based on shared experience, longing, desire, fear, worry, and even insecurity. It is in these often hidden places, vulnerable places where we can connect most deeply and I long for that connection.

As a coach and mentor, I am driven by curiosity and a drive to share the wisdom I’ve accumulated thru experience, formal education, and less formal learning and unlearning. I must say the unlearning has, by far, been more powerful and instrumental in my understanding of who I am and how life works than any formal education. 

I am a teacher and trainer, seeking to impart information and wisdom to my students, to pique their curiosity and watch them unfold. 

I am a creative, learning to express myself thru artistic endeavors and writing. While I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, the artistic pursuits of playing with color, learning to doodle, paint, and knit, are more recent and proving to be crucial in discovering who I am and what I’m about.

Surely there are more identities within me, but I imagine you get the idea. The biggest challenge is to stay true to who I am regardless of my role or the arena I may be in at any given moment. I am intentionally showing up as “truly Laura” rather than assuming different personas based on those roles or identities. Not only does it require too much energy and attention to pretend to be someone else, one has to expend a lot more energy to remember how those personas should behave, and truth be told, our BS meters are way too finely attuned to pull it off; we know when someone is putting on an act, and it stimulates our suspicions about who they really are and what hidden agendas they might be living into.

No, that “creating a professional persona” thing is not for me!

As I work to master the art of living, I am committed to providing the time, space, resources, and inspiration required for each of these identities to grow, flourish, and express themselves, much as the trees seeking multiple paths to the sky, I am one and I am many…multidimensional and uniquely, simply me.  

I believe you are uniquely and multi-dimensionally "you," too, and hope you have the courage to explore, discover, and express each of your various identities. It is this diversity that makes for a richer, fuller person living a richer, fuller life.

Meet me at www.lauraprisc.com and let’s practice mastering the art of living together!