Identity Crisis: Who The Heck Am I, NOW???
Having an Identity Crisis is like having your emotional teeth pulled out and what’s left is the painful question: WHO THE HECK AM I, NOW??? They are frightening because it does feel like your whole world is falling apart, and that a part of you is dying. In reality, that is exactly what’s happening.
The status quo in which you identified with is no longer, and you heavily feel the absence of what or of whom you so strongly identified with. The mind says, ‘there’s no me without you or it.’ Matter of fact, there was a love song from the 70’s by The Manhattans called “There’s No Me Without You.” Good song!
As we are going through our Identity Crisis, we can’t see that the loss has now created space for a new form, a new self, not unlike the caterpillar coming out of it’s chrysalis, casting off the old to emerge as the magnificent butterfly.
In the larvae’s case, instinctively, it knows this is part of its process, in the case of the Human, ehhhh, not so much. We’re not a fan of Identity Crises for they are not, comfortable places to be in. They feel like the combination of a toothache, a headache, and a stomachache, topped off with a backache all while wearing shoes that are wayyyyyy too tight!
What IS An Identity Crisis?
Well, if you’ve had one, or a going through one now, you already know the answer and don’t need clarification from the dictionary! But anywho, since I like looking things up, here goes with a definition of Identity Crisis from the Oxford dictionary: ‘a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.’
It’s funny, looking at the definition on the screen does nothing to convey the DEPTH of loss one feels while going through it.
When I was going through mine I remember I was in such of a state of despair that I started crying on the train one day, continued crying on the walk home and once in the house my then partner leapt up and tried to comfort me. The poor guy did his best, but I just wanted to cry alone and went into the bathroom.
I didn’t really understand what was happening to me at the time so I couldn’t explain it. And of course, he was wanting an explanation. Understandably so. Your other half walks in sobbing, you wanna know who’s ass to kick. But I didn’t feel like talking or trying to figure out stuff. I just wanted to bawl.
And I did because what I knew for sure was that I was SO. UN. HAP-PY.
What was going on? I was morbidly unhappy in my career but too scared to leave it. That didn’t even occur to me as an option. I WAS that thing I had pursued for most of my life at that point. What/Who/Why/Where was I without that identity???? OMG WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO? I couldn’t imagine myself without that life.
There is A Purpose, Trust Me On This One…
How did I get through it? By going through it.
There is no other way.
There’s no magic POOF button that says IDENTITY CRISIS, BEGONE! There is no delete button, no ‘Do Over’ button or eraser. There is no A.I. program to make you feel better. The Mirror is held up in full view.
One step at a time. When I was calmer I began to hear better…a realization here, a decision there. And as I got on with the doing of living, I began to see more Light. Heck, I got to travel the world as a guest teacher and choreographer as a result of choices I made. I got to reintroduce myself to myself and remembered some things I had forgotten.
I began to call upon skills that had lain dormant, some since childhood. I began to realize a fuller expression of ME.
After about a year, I realized that I didn’t miss that thing I had done for most of my time on the planet. I began making more Conscious decisions, not just traveling along because you’re supposed to do this or that for the career. I was A-OK with the rivers my Life was flowing down. Now I am in a Happy Space as a result of moving through that important Identity Crisis.
I would not be sittin’ happy in my own skin without having had that Life Event. I can tell you that!
Moving Through It
I remember as I was stuck in the quagmire, reading this wonderful article that came out in O Magazine at the beginning of my crisis. It’s titled: “Are You Listening to Your Life?” by Parker J. Parker. Reading that at the time was a lifeline. It let me know that I was not coo-coo for coco puffs and that what was happening was part of the natural order.
There is a quote that I’d say to myself while I thrashing around in the darkness. I love it so much I had to go find the article so I could quote it to you correctly:
“It can take a long time to become yourself.”
Having that understanding takes the pressure off. It says you got time, it’s not anyone else’s time it’s on your time to figure stuff out.
No one can do you but YOU.
The main thing is being open to new possibilities. And learning Acceptance. Acceptance that this is where you are right now. Acceptance that the loss occurred and giving yourself a LOT of LOVINGKINDNESS. And Patience. And Self-Love. And more Love.
Recognize that not knowing what to do next is ok and a part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s not a crime. Trust that the answers will come.
However, prepare yourself to be ready to Hear and Receive them.
You Will Get to The Other Side
In Essence, an Identity Crisis can be a launching pad to immense growth and a path to finding out what really makes you tick at that particular point in time. That’s if however, you can manage to extricate yourself outta being stuck in the event that triggered the crisis. It may feel like the end of the world but it is really an invitation to go deeper within.
Sometimes that realization comes well after the crisis. In the meantime, the tendency is to beat up on ourselves because we’re having the crisis to begin with. You might scream something like, ‘I am too old to be going though this I shouldn’t be going through this why am I going through this make it stop I don’t wanna go through this it hurts it hurts IT HURTS!’
Then you may come up for air and say: ‘What must other people be thinking and saying about me? I feel so stupid make it stop make it stop make it stop!’ And so on and so forth…
And the crisis continues…UNLESS you say…
🎵 I’m Starting With the (Wo)Man in The Mirror! 🎵
“…I’m asking (him/her/they) to change (his/her/their) way-eez, and no message could’ve been any clearer…” (Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror) and while the song takes on global connotations it is also a call for each of us to look within.
An Identity Crisis can say, ‘OK, WAKE UP! TIME TO TAKE INVENTORY!’ And even though it can sound like loud knocking on your door at 2:00 in the morning, Mental Housekeeping is always a good thing to do though so very painful at times. Getting in touch with and enabling yourself to open and receive guidance and answers will not happen as long as you’re in the OMG OMG OMG phase.
Getting still, BREATHING and LISTENING are the Keys to Receiving Divine Guidance. Inner noise and chatter block the hearing centers.
Some ways to get quiet are through a meditation practice; Being Present in any given moment; immersing in Nature; doing more of the things you Love.
You will hear more answers to questions like, ‘what makes me tick now?’ ‘How am I being urged to expand my horizons?’ ‘What is there for me to see right now?’ ‘What is being asked of me?’
And sometimes the question you’ll ask is a simple, “NOW WHAT?”
You CAN Get Through This
When the attachment to a person, career, role, place or anything that ends with finality and not by our own choosing occurs, it can send shards of metal into our mental being, into the Who I Am-ness of Me, because we define ourselves with these things, places, careers and people.
And when identity is intrinsically bound to outside entities and possessions, we can lose sight of the Being that is inside, the Being that is us–the Energy that gazes through the eyes at and with us as we gaze back in the mirror.
Begin to see you. REALLY see you, not just at the face and body in the mirror but at the Essence, The Light That You Are.
In reminder, an Identity Crisis can serve as a wakeup call. But-cha gotta keep walkin’ not continue to sit in the mental and emotional morass of your despair. As I said earlier, one step at a time.
Other things to consider
And to quote Winston Churchill, “if you’re going through Hell, keep going.”
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