In doing my reading for my latest rant I came upon Jenny McCarthy’s blog for the Chicago Sun Times and her post last Wednesday titled: “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”+
When we identify ourselves as something like a single mom, or a child of an alcoholic, or anything we think defines us, we lose the greatest life lesson there is, which is we are just beings. We all come from the same higher source, and our bodies, along with our images, don’t move on to the afterlife for a reason — because it’s not ultimately who we are. I wrote a blog last year called “I AM.” It’s my favorite blog to date. It touches on the same subject, but I felt it was important to remind people — including myself — to not get caught up in our own identities. By separating your “self” from past labels you put on yourself, there is an amazing freedom that comes with it. You are no longer a victim or a martyr. You are just what I like to call a “light ball.”
She’s right to an extent, we should be allowed to shed off our past labels and redefine ourselves as we pass through different phases of our lives. Nobody is the same person they were decades ago; unless you’re one of those sad 40-Something’s still living with your mom and collecting action figures and playing video games all day because real life can be “so expensive.”
We all go through phases of our lives, childhood, adolescence, college/trade school, early career, parenthood, maturity, retirement and death. That’s a simplified version but you get the point.
Imagine you did something silly like… oh, I don’t know… star in some soft core porn for a men’s magazine and you’re granted the label of “Playmate Of The Year.” Would you like to be stuck with that label for the rest of your life?
I wouldn’t, but I’m a man and who wants to see me topless, anyway?
If you want to move past that phase of your life, good luck because there are going to be people like news reporters and columnists will always refer to that person as a former Playmate, period. It’ll be the first line in her obituary.
Same holds true for other people who have been accused of doing other things. When Richard Nixon died, the articles basically wrote themselves; “Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974, when he became the only president to resign the office” (Source: Wikipedia.)
When Bill Clinton dies, the first thing that will be mentioned in his obituary will be the Monica Lewinsky scandal. When Gene Roddenberry died he was remembered first and foremost as the creator or “Star Trek.” When I’m dead the first sentence in my obituary will be…
In many of the books that I’ve been reading (via Audible and Kindle) such as “Art And Fear” (1) and “Do The Work,”(2) I keep encountering the same theme; you are what you do. If you create graphic design, you’re a graphic designer. If you write, you’re a writer. If you’re a painter, you paint. It’s like the old adage; if it walks like a duck, it swims like a duck, and quack’s like a duck it’s a safe bet it isn’t a horse.
We are the sum total of all the choices we’ve made in our lives. We are all the good choices we made, all the bad mistakes we’ve made, and even the moments of inaction and indecision. We are all the things we’ve done and left undone.
In short, we are what we do. I am what I do and what I’ve done. I am a writer and a graphic designer. She’s a woman who takes off her clothes for money when she’s not writing books about junk science or her personal life.
If you want to be remembered for something, then get busy doing it now. Figure out who you really want to be and make it happen while at the same time acknowledge the fact that some people can’t and won’t let go of the things in the past. Usually it’s because they have junk in their own past they’re trying to hide.