Who Are You
“Who are YOU?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” Alice in Wonderland
Who are you? What do you do? Who am I? What do I do?
How do you describe yourself? By your name, role in life or your job? How do we define ourselves? Do we even need to?
There are books written (usually for women) about finding yourself. The strap is something like; daughter, sister, wife, mother… Now it’s time to be you. But, who are you? As the Caterpillar asked Alice.
When I became a hypnotherapist in the early nineties I happily called myself that even though I usually had to follow it with a description or listen to comments like, ‘oh best not look into your eyes,’ or ‘bet you can’t hypnotise me.’ Because that's what people say to hypnotists. Still.
As my practice grew I added in other things ranging from coaching and speaking to hosting workshops, teaching, to being involved in more esoteric subjects. Later on I became an author and also a publisher.
With so many job titles to list on a business card I decided to bundle them. Holistic therapist and muse seemed to cover it but not quite.
Back to the list or pick one and stick to it? Therein lies the problem. It isn’t about feathers in my cap but the fear of rut, habit or repetitive behaviour is rife. I am the mistress of job/life reinvention. Today I’m a writer. Tomorrow I will be a therapist.
On another day depending on mood, location and health issues I will be something else - maybe wife, mother, granny, patient or podcast creator. Sometimes I am just me.
While we’re at it, think about actors. How do they manage? They may well just say, ‘I act’ but think of Barbara Windsor, for example. Depending on your age she was either the booby blonde with the pinging bikini top in Carry on Camping or the mother to the Mitchell brothers in the Queen Vic on Albert Square.
Elizabeth Taylor. For all of her beauty and brilliance she is either coupled with horses or pyramids.
Type Daniel Radcliffe into Google and you are instantly informed of his role as Harry Potter. It’s not a role. He is him. Plus he is now 33 years old.
Names become typecast in different generations. We have old people names: Doris, Wilbur, Agnes. We judge people on their name as if that is who they are, their identity. People can dislike someone based purely on their name. I’m not mentioning any because I know some have already jumped into your head.
Mandy is always a popular girl even though, ‘I’m Mandy fly me’ isn’t about a high-heeled red-lipped cabin crew hottie welcoming you on board a 747.
Back to me; I love past life work and everything to do with it but felt a little sick at the thought that that is what all I would be known as. Travel back in time with me 21 years ago (do you see what I did there?) when I signed with the delicious literary agent, Serafina Clarke, who at the time represented Joanne Harris. Her of Chocolat fame. Again, how easy it is to label.
My book then was about breast enhancement using hypnosis. Fortunately no-one wanted it. I feel relief to this day at that result. I would have forever been known as Hypno-tit.
Not that long ago people started a job or career and that was it until retirement or death. Nowadays, many people have a career portfolio - posh for several jobs. We are allowed, expected even, to do more things.
I have been a hypnotherapist for just over 30 years and do still refer to myself as such despite the other bits and maybe sprinkle in other descriptions depending who asks.
Generally if you meet someone new they will say what they do as the definition of themselves.
Who are you? What do you do? Let me know.
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