When I set out to walk the Lycian Way I identified a few areas about myself I wanted to think about. For a few months I’d felt something was off but simply could not put my finger on it. I knew that 30 days of walking would be the perfect opportunity to clear my mind and get to the root of my consternation.
What I discovered is that I’m exhausted.
I’m tired of trying to guess what others in my life want to hear before I share an opinion. I’m frustrated at the time I waste trying to guess the expectations of others. But most of all, I’ve discovered that in the process of all this guessing and over thinking I’ve lost sight of who I truly am.
How Did I Get Here?
For years I knew exactly who I was – I was defined by my career. It was easy and I liked not needing to worry about it. My career was an identity I was comfortable latching onto and I assumed it defined me to the world. Then I left my job and was sent spinning.
I found solid ground again with Married with Luggage, in being a part of this amazing life – traveling and writing together with my wife. I latched on to being a part of a team out to see the world together. We created memories and books together, always connected in our experiences.
I now notice that over the last several years my emails, Facebook updates, and bios all shifted away from me. Now everything reads within the context of my relationship. I was no longer sharing what I was doing or thinking, I was speaking of myself only as a part of a couple.
I Lost My Voice
As we continued to see the world and the books took off I lost my true voice – in my relationship, in my writing, and in even in my thoughts. Over time I’d allowed my 24/7 relationship with Betsy to dominate my hopes, dreams, and desires and was spending all my time being a “we” and not me. I was easy. I did not need to worry (or share) about how I felt on a subject, I could simply step into the role of us. It was safe.
But what was lost was my own personality and perspective.
The evidence is littered over all my writings, recordings, and videos and I just needed to step back to see the truth. I default to group pronouns (we, you, us) instead of talking about myself. When I respond to emails I always talk about what we are doing. I share social media updates about how we spent the day. When I respond to emails I talk about our plans for the future.
Lost in all of this has been my voice and my wishes. I’ve let the relationship take over how I see myself and how I let others see me.
I hate the idea that I’m not exposing my true nature to you, the reader, or to my amazing wife. I don’t ever want one of you to meet in me person and later tell someone – “wow, he was nothing like I expected”. Regardless if that is good or bad for me, I just want to be me. I generally like myself. Why in hell would I want to be anyone else or feel I need to? Plus, Betsy generally seems to like the real me so why on earth would I try to be something else?
Finding Me Again
At the end of our (see, there’s that fucking pronoun again sneaking into my words) hike on the Lycian Way I committed myself to the effort to be more authentic in every aspect of my life. But most importantly in my relationship with Betsy.
For years I’ve been hiding behind a wall of pronouns as an easy way to identify myself. “I’m Betsy’s husband” “I’m one half of Married with Luggage” “We are traveling the world”. But now, I’m me and I’m worried I don’t know what that means. I’m not sure how this identity fits with the world at large or within our relationship. Of course, this is what a journey should be about – appreciating new discoveries along the way and not focused on a destination.
I am a work in progress, but it makes me smile to see that this sentence now begins with a new pronoun.