This is a piece I wrote back in 2011. Seeing as it is October and I find myself making some changes, it seemed a good time to dust it off …
I am collector of hats. Not the fancy fashionable ones. No, I am talking metaphorical hats here. I wear many in my life and, more specifically, in my avocations/occupations, both the ones that earn me money and the ones that don’t. (Yes, I have some bargain bin hats but I love them just the same!) Lately I have taken to wearing multiple hats at the same time. This seems to be making my head heavy. You would think that this head-heaviness would motivate me to pare down my collection but it doesn’t seem to work that way.
Classically October is a big “hat” seeking month for me. I get restless and want to DO stuff. Take some classes, make big changes, and be bold! I look around at my collection of hats and none of them seem good enough. Usually I just dive in and go get more, but this year I pause and ask myself: What’s with the hat hoarding, Luisa?
Is it that having a lot of avenues for expression is what satisfies my soul? Could be. That does sound like me. But if I really reflect on my patterns I see that often times when I experience success at something I start to look for something else. Fear of success?
If I were to pick just one hat I would have to be super adept at wearing it, like high-fashion fabulous. Maybe I’m not sure I can pull that off. Fear of failure?
And there is this one hat, probably my favorite if I am being honest, sitting at the bottom of the pile, gathering dust. Every once in awhile I dig it out and when I am wearing it I really start to wonder… would I have all of these other hats if I had just worn this one proudly from the beginning? Am I running away from one hat by wearing all of the others? I don’t know. I’m just asking questions here.
Look around. Are you “collecting” something? Accolades? Skills? Money? Muscles? Responsibilities? Are you showing them off proudly? Or are you hiding behind them? Are they driving you forward? Or keeping you back?
Today I think I will take a walk, hat-free. Feel the autumn wind in my hair. Be me in essence, not in action. Because whether we are failing, succeeding, escaping or striving we are still, essentially, ourselves. None of those things define us; they are simply part of our experience. We wear the hats. They do not wear us.