Who Are You?


I am awake, I am alive, and this morning I wanted to tell you of the dream I just had because it’s a really good one.

We are in a high school. A group of speakers have been asked to talk for 45 mins. Every 90 mins we circulate, moving to a different class, listening to the speakers along with the students until we get to “our” class and it’s our turn to speak.

The speakers are awesome. Each different, unique. Each espousing their passion, their path and/or sharing their knowledge. Then we get to our room.

I am the second of the two speakers for this room. The first – Brene Brown. She is so real, so awesome, but the truck outside makes a lot of noise so we have to stop so the school rep can close the windows. Then another interruption and another. She realizes she is now behind. I will only have 30 mins to speak. I wave off the news. I’m fine. Go for it Brene!

And then it’s my turn and I have only 15 minutes. I throw aside my plans telling the audience that I’m getting to the point – what I need them to hear.

I tell them that the most important answer they will ever have to come up with is the answer to “Who are you?” I then proceed to ask them.

I then explain how those who answered kind or strong or funny or considerate stand on solid ground, because those are identity traits. We can choose to be those things even when it isn’t easy.

But those who answered a bus boy, a waitress, a teacher, a wife, a boyfriend, they are at risk for those aren’t traits. They are roles and roles can end. Ask the Mom how lost she felt when her only child grew up and moved out – her role ending. Ask the person who gets laid off unexpectedly. Ask a widow.

The people who don’t know, the ones who turned to their friend or partner to ask – they are at the greatest risk for they are letting someone else decide. But what if that someone says your ugly, fat, unattractive, stupid? As a 10-year domestic abuse survivor, I know the answer and I pray you never do.

I woke with a smile on my face, smiling at my confidence, smiling at how I had remembered it wasn’t about me speaking for 45 minutes, it was about inspiring them and I did.

Today many are thinking of Halloween, of donning costumes and becoming who they are not. Do that. Have fun. But remember who you are when this night is done. Remember to be that person, to be proud of that person for all the reasons you should answer when asked, “Who are you?”

Food for thought …