A fellow remote, along with myself and a small group of other remote year participants were sitting around chatting a week or so ago and the topic of ‘Identity’ arose in conversation. Lilly, brought the topic up as she was considering writing about her ongoing Identity Crisis. As I read through Lilly’s finished version of her blog, I was inspired to talk about my own Identity crisis. I highly encourage you to click the link and read Lilly’s story before continuing….
I have to wonder if this is a theme of the Remote Year Experience? Are you a RY participant? Have you experienced this phenomenon?
Who Am I?
For the past 5 years I’ve been “The Gypsy Nurse”, somewhat of a celebrity in the travel nurse industry. Why? I can’t really say. I was one that saw a gap in the education and support of the industry and made a move to make changes. I was passionate about the community and thus…began to be a trusted and respected mentor. In all honesty, I was just another of the flock. The fame and recognition put me in a very uncomfortable position. Being the popular kid wasn’t something that I was accustomed to. I was the loner in high school, the factory worker, office clerk, then nurse. I was certainly not the most popular, although I think I was well liked.
My new role put me in situations that terrified me. Public Speaking, constant photographs, life of the party…these were situations/roles that made me shake in my shoes. Yet, I did them and the more I did them the more confident I became filling these roles. Eventually, I succumbed to the role that I was thrust into head-first. I held back my personal thoughts, feelings, and fears for the role of a leader. I became this fictional character “Gypsy’ that wasn’t really me. But, I lived it. For 5 years. I became ‘Gypsy’. I wasn’t Candy anymore….
A year ago, I partnered the “gypsy” to relieve myself of much of the overwhelming workload. I needed to be Candy again. Initially, there was a huge sigh of relief. Then came the identity crisis. If I wasn’t this leader anymore, who was I? It had been so long since I’d taken into consideration what I wanted that I really didn’t know where to start.
One thing that I did know was that Candy loved to travel to foreign countries and NOW was that opportunity. I was scared. Let’s be honest, I was terrified! Having been over 5 years since I’d traveled solo, I wasn’t sure that I could do it. I began looking at travel destinations. My Facebook and Instagram feeds filling up with stories and photo’s of far-away places and experiences. Then I was flooded with advertisements from Remote Year, so I investigated. It sounded perfect. The opportunity to travel the world with a community of like-minded and driven people! So I signed up! And…I was accepted.
It’s been four months now that I’ve been with Remote Year. I’ve experienced many of the same aspect of Identity Crisis that Lilly wrote about. (Did you read her story? If not, please read it now!) It was difficult not being at the ‘top of my class’. Not being the most popular, smartest, leader, life of the Party. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I’m taking cue from Lilly and throwing my “imposter syndrome” aside. I’m reflecting on who I am. I wanted to know (after reading Lilly’s story) what are “The constants of my person”?
– Daughter – Mother – Sister – Grandmother – Aunt – Friend – Confidant –
– fresh cut grass – water: oceans, rivers, lakes, streams – peanut butter – walking barefoot – dark chocolate – mountain air – black coffee – color – creativity – coloring – swinging – naps – boating – people’s faces, emotions & interactions with one another – exploring – Mexican Food – takeoff & landing – cheese – walking in the rain – flowers – simplicity – campfires – experiencing – hammocks –
– scared – happy – inadequate – lonely – peaceful – inspired – hopeful – loved – confident – proud – content – self conscious – successful –
This was a great exercise in finding and understanding who I am. I found it interesting as I hand-wrote out this list that I listed ‘inadequate’ twice. This is something that I need to work on. Something that perhaps holds me back from truly experiencing. Today I am sitting alone in the small town of Moyobamba Peru, surrounded by beauty, feeling content. Taking my first (of hopefully many) solo-excursions. I likely ‘should’ be out exploring, taking in the sites, interacting. But instead, I’m enjoying being alone in my thoughts, reflecting and relishing in being ME.
I would encourage you to reflect and take cue from Lilly and find “The Constants of Your Person”. And again . . . if you haven’t read Lilly’s story, you can find it here: An Identity Crisis