Your Present Voice
October 30, 2012 by
Categories: Self

A week ago, I sat down with a friend to catch up and share in our mutual longing for a far-away friend. Somehow, the conversation moved to the idea that we all have different parts of ourselves. There are multiple personalities, if you will. Some of them share similar likes and dislikes while others are completely contradictory. A few days later, he sent me this passage from Salman Rushdie:

In the pages of a novel, it was clear that the human self was heterogeneous not homogeneous, not one thing but many, multiple, fractured, and contradictory. The person you were for your parents was not the person you were with your children, your working self was other than your self as a lover, and depending on the time of day and your mood you might think of yourself as tall or skinny or unwell or a sports fan or conservative or fearful or hot. All writers and readers knew that human beings had broad identities, not narrow ones.

Lately, I have been struggling with the opposing parts of myself. At work, I am driven, ambitious, focused, bored with the idea of staying at home, and willing to pack my husband up in the suitcase to travel the world with me. At home, I am in love with knitting, cooking, gardening in a way that leaves me frustrated with how little free time I have. There, I am the person that loves to start a house project with my husband and end the day with a fire in the fireplace. It makes it difficult to decide which path I want my career to take.

I find myself struggling with being both content and restless. I have ridiculed myself for being the researcher, therapist, wife, and friend separately, constantly feeling as though I am lying to someone.

In reality, I am being all of me. The voice that dominates is often dependent on the people around me. When my environment is fast-paced, I am driven, jumping from project to project effortlessly. When I am at home with the lull of a fire roaring, I am content to curl up on the couch with a knitting project, a good movie, and my dog and cat sleeping beside me.

It is okay to have multiple parts of yourself. And it will be confusing. Yes, there are parts of me that are composed, kind, and compassionate. Yet, there are also parts that are reckless, self-destructive, and selfish. The goal is to accept that each voice is a piece of you – to erase one part is to erase all of them. This same message stands for our friends and family. I often want people to stay just as I see them, never changing, never contradicting the role I have given them. Just as we need to accept all of ourselves, we also need to accept all of our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, parents, friends.

Today I’m traveling to Phoenix, and my present voice is the adventurous one who welcomes the opportunity to travel alone and exited about seeing a new place. Yet, I know that the shy and self-concious homebody is travelling along as well. Keeping quiet while the other gets to have her moment.

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3 Thoughts About Your Present Voice

  • mariam
    November 4, 2012 at 11:40 am Reply

    Great post, Laura. I struggle with this a lot too.

  • Laura November 5, 2012 at 10:10 am Reply

    Thank you, Mariam. It always helps to know that others struggle with the same things.

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