Trees, Hats and Masks

looking inward, tree, fall tree,

Into Me, See

The branches of a tree limb grow out in all different directions. They touch, they overlap, they split off into smaller branches. No two limbs are alike, and no two limbs have identical branches, but they are all part of the same tree. That tree is me; it’s each of us.

There are many facets to my life and I always laugh when someone asks me what I do, because I wear a lot of hats! I used to be in corporate sales, so I understand what it means to be an employee, a salesperson, a boss, the client interface, and a co-worker. Today, I’m a creative— photographer, writer, painter—while still being wife, Mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, business owner, coach, sponsor, sponsee, volunteer and member of a church family. I’m also a trauma survivor, which means I grew up learning to live fragmented, instead of integrated, and I have a tendency to divide myself and my life into parts.

Because I had this terrified, insecure side of me (and was secretly coping with my life using destructive behaviors like anorexia and bulimia), I learned to put on masks in order to do everything else. I became immersed in external appearance, perfectionism, achievement and control (the looking-good side) to make sure I was accepted and liked.

Sometimes I can still find myself putting on various roles like a costume, tweaking myself to suit each part, shifting in and out of different identities, and losing the real me in the shuffle. Thankfully, my awareness has grown in this area and I’m better able to recognize when I’ve slipped a mask on and need to come back to what’s authentic and true. I’m learning to trust that person is wonderful and most importantly, she is enough.

Today, I desire to be more fluid, more transparent, one self in all my daily endeavors and relationships, where the hat doesn’t change who I am, just decorates the real me! I encourage you to celebrate and embrace yourself too, all the wonderful, unique parts of you, knowing you also have one true identity, with many different branches and colorful hats. Wear them well, but always be you!

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