Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On Hats.

At some point in the process of self discovery, you have to look outside yourself.

At the person you REALLY are.  Not the person you imagine yourself to be.

Compare that to the person you WANT to be.

Then begin to take the necessary steps to making the two images one.

It's not easy.

It's not quick.

It is possible.

Identity has been the focus of my thoughts of late.

Whatever you may know about me, it's only a small fraction of who I really am.  That's true of a good number of people, I think.

(prepare yourselves for an extended metaphor)

We all have different versions of ourselves.  Different hats we wear for the various social interactions we have.

I own quite a collection.

Some of my hats sit collecting dust.  Many of those I hope to never wear again.

Some I've re-discovered and found that I remember just how much I liked how they suited me before.

I have, as we all do, a few awkward hats.  Ones that don't become me.  Fortunately only a few people have ever had to see me in those hats.

And then there are the new hats.  Recent additions.  A few take some getting used to-and I go back in forth between loving them and thinking they make a fool out of me.

There is one in particular that is rather weighty.  I'm not sure how it suites me, because I never seem to be around a mirror when I have it on.  It feels kind of bulky, and sometimes awkward.  I'm just hoping I'll grow into it.  This hat was offered to me.  It was not something I expected.  It's one that many have worn before and many will wear after.  With it comes a great number of expectations and responsibilities, as well as a title.

And people look at you a particular way while you are in this hat.  

But I don't wear it all the time.  I mean, it IS rather conspicuous.  And the weight is exhausting.  Plus I often wear it at the same time I am wearing other hats...which just makes things all the more challenging.

All that being said, I would never give this hat away, take it for granted, abuse it, or ask to have it bequeathed to someone else.  Because right now, this is one of my most important hats and I should wear it respectfully and proudly while I have it.

I think sometimes people don't take me seriously when I wear this hat.  Or worse, they don't take the HAT seriously.  Sometimes people toss the hat casually onto my head because they like the way it looks just a little off kilter.

Maybe I'm making unfair assumptions.

I probably am.

In any case, this is a hat I am trying to take seriously.  One that I am trying to be worthy of.

There are still many hats that I wish I could acquire.  I see other people wearing them and feel pangs of envy. 

The truth is that at this point if I were to be GIVEN one of these desirable hats, I probably wouldn't know what to do with it or how it should be worn and presented; how it should be maintained and taken care of.  

I THINK I would look amazing in this hat, but perhaps it would be an acquisition I would regret because I am not prepared for what comes with the hat.

Finally, there are some hats that I had to leave behind.  Ones that were only available in the life I had before. Ones particularly suited for ocean breezes, long hikes up mountains, kayaking lakes and rivers, long walks through the woods of tall pines and prevalent birches, and solitary exploration.  I miss those hats and find myself trying to use other, unsatisfactory hats to achieve what I had.  This only leads to frustration and disappointment.  Because I can't have what I had before.  I'm in a new place, a new situation, and I have to learn to utilize that hats I DO have and not take them for granted.   

As I sift through my collection, I have been holding up several of the well worn hats that maybe need to be retired.  Or perhaps simply taken better care of.  Some I cast aside, others I put in a pile of "I'll get to you later" hats.  I find that pile to be ever growing.


Who am I to others?  Am I the person I want them to perceive me as?  Am I to them what I wish them to be to me?  Or am I trying to force hats on them which don't fit?

Most importantly, who am I to Him?  Am I striving to be all that I can in His eyes? Or am I striving to be what I think others want me to be?

Am I more focused on the hats that I think others like to see me in, or on the hats that are of a more humble nature?

There are hats for all occasions.

For all social settings.

There are the ones we wear for all to see.

Unfortunately we often wear those hats over the ones that are more important.  The ones that show to others our truest and best qualities.  The hats that most become us are obscured by the wild hats society tells us are fashionable.

Lastly I have come to realize that some of the most important growth comes from remembering to cast aside all those self-centered tendencies we naturally incline to.

Being selfish doesn't get you as far in life as you might think.

Humans are not a solitary species.

We are meant to uplift, encourage, support, and love one another.

Look past the small central circle which encompasses only you and start looking into those larger circles which encompass all those around you.

Those you care about.

Remember that they are people too.  With just as many struggles.

Sometimes its okay to wear no hat at all but instead offer to help others with the number of hats THEY are juggling.


Ellaniemae said...

Very insightful! Thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

Wear your new hat proudly. I know, I've worn a similar hat for a long time--worn it upside down, inside out and backwards at times, trying to make it fit just so. Sometimes my hat falls off right in the mud. You sigh, you pick it up, dust it off. You throw your head back and your hat on. Wear it with flair, resize and alter it to suit you, and hold your head up high--your hat is fabulous, but more so the mind it covers.

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