I really meant to, but I lost my personality

Well, part of it. I have one personality. I know the Kayleigh who introduces herself with a confident smile at parties is the same Kayleigh who struggles to breathe in crowded restaurants. The average, everyday version is generally on top of her shit, but also avoids crowds and interacting with lots of strangers, especially with this [hopefully-temporary] beer-free diet.

Problems arise when Confident Kayleigh makes commitments that Average Kayleigh is not prepared to fulfill.

Confident Kayleigh attended a volunteer training held by a local environmental group I would love to work for. This particular project seeks to document how the toxic chemicals released into the Hudson River decades ago by GE are still affecting families today. Confident Kayleigh learned how to properly survey fishermen and women about their catch, scooped up a stack of survey materials, and prepared to head out to a dock at the next opportunity to contribute valuable data to the report.


That training was over a month ago. Confident Kayleigh is MIA. The survey materials are dusty and untouched. Average Kayleigh got an email from the training organizer asking for a progress update, and after waiting a few days, I responded with the valid but lame excuse that I hadn’t surveyed anyone because not having a car made it difficult to get out there.

Confident Kayleigh knew walking up to strangers who were doing something I’ve never done successfully in my life (fishing), would be nerve-wracking. We are the same person, after all. But wanting to contribute to something that could eventually improve the health of this river and the ecosystems and communities around it was more important. IS more important.

Even though Average Kayleigh, and even Hyperventilating Kayleigh, are on the same page about protecting our planet’s ecosystems, I don’t know how to do my part without Confident Kayleigh in the lead.

I have one personality with many facets, as most of us do. But it seems like instead of shining as one cohesive whole, my facets are separated and angled away from each other so only one can reflect the light at a time. Someday, I want to join them together, even if the edges end up a little rough.

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12 comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean just from the words you used and message you gave through the piece. I sometimes find my confident self speaking jibberish when inside I’m thinking “who are you? And what are you saying?” I loved your final paragraph. It sums up the piece so very perfectly.

  2. This disconnect has definitely happened to me too. When confronted with doing a task that Confident me said sure to, I have found talking myself through it helps. I say stuff like, “I’ll never see these people again.” “They don’t know this isn’t Confident me.” “I’ll try talking to one and see how it goes.” “It will be over in x minutes and in a couple of hours I’ll be safely back on my couch.” These coping skills have helped me.

  3. Don’t we all go through this? I am also my confident self on some days and some days, I just want a book and no one to talk to. The shy Parul can’t talk about her performance at work and then the confident Parul will rock the meetings. These internal conflicts are a part of the game, I think.
    A good one, Kayleigh.

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