Saturday, March 2, 2013

Who am I, really?

I've been wondering....really more than wondering....actively, strenuously questioning the reason why the only kind of work I seem to be offered is babysitting. It's not something that I did in the States. I didn't go to college to become a teacher. I have in no way arranged my life to be around children. Why is it that here in Italy, far away from all the people I know and who have every reason to have preconceived notions about me and my capabilities, do I feel so pigeonholed into a certain kind of work? I feel trapped and that's not at all part of the dream I had about living here in Italy.

Then today I found myself getting a little angry. Why do people with so much on the ball themselves ignore the greater part of my abilities and focus only on this small part of what I'm capable of? I was stumped for the longest time. Then I had one of those revelations, an aha moment that was quickly followed by a mental slap to the forehead. Because one should never do that for real; it makes people wonder if you're, you know, all there.

They don't know what I can do because I don't tell them what I can do. Or what I've done. Or what I want to do. Before you send me telepathic "duhs" let me explain.

I grew up hearing the mantra "Don't toot your own horn," or in non-musician terms "Don't talk about yourself." It was considered bragging and in poor taste to talk about the things you excel at. And you might be wrong. I'm sure there's also something Biblical in there, like pride goeth before a fall, but I can't be sure.

Anyway, the result of this practice for my life now is that I'm no longer surrounded by people who have known me for years. I'm living with people who only know the me they see now and the things I tell them in conversation. Which, if you've really read the preceding paragraph, means that they hear nothing about what I've done in the past or what I believe I'm capable of. They hear about what I've been doing since I got to Florence, which is babysitting.

All I have to do is turn my back on fifty years of indoctrination and practice in the art of being seen but not heard. I have to become my biggest fan (so to speak) and talk out loud to people who aren't close friends about all the things I've accomplished in my life and the things I have yet to do. I have to act the way I feel and not hide behind that calm and serene exterior that everyone except me seems to see. I need to stop accepting that the role others offer me is the only one I can have.

I have to be as passionate about creating my life here as I was about moving here in the first place. I didn't let anyone, and I do mean anyone, cast doubt on my decision to move. I need to stop floating through the days here accepting the occasional sitting job and kinda whining about being undervalued by others. Or worse, making babysitting a full time gig when it isn't where my passion lies. I'm letting that happen, and it stops today. No doubt I'll slip now and then because let's face it, I'm much more comfortable being a wall flower than a rose smack in the middle of the table, but that's exactly what I am and where I need to be if I'm to make my life here as amazing as it promises to be.

Of course, I have no idea how to start talking about myself without sounding like all I do is talk about myself. I wonder if it's even possible? Where to start, what to say? This is gonna take some thought.

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