I just experienced another life-changing conversation with one of my big brothers. In the midst of having recently jetted off to Germany, I couldn’t help but have one of those, “need to talk to my big bro and get some perspective” kind of conversations. Because if I’m being honest, I often feel like I’m secretly harboring multiple personalities.
There are times when I want to be "Suzy Homemaker," where it's rather blissful to contemplate children and domesticated life. Then there are other times when I absolutely want to be a ball-busting, business badass skyrocketing up Forbes list of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women." Traveling abroad was a pretty big deal. It was the first time in my life that I prioritized my personal life, making sacrifices for love and not work.
My boyfriend plays professional basketball and despite having grown up with him since middle school (such a gross love story that I'll cut it off here), when we were reintroduced after 10 years of not seeing one another, I knew what I was signing up for. So yes, there are times I feel like this awesome European adventure is the bomb, but then this other version of me creeps in and reminds me that my supportive role to his career, my constantly visiting a foreign country and the sacrifices I've made are at my professional expense. I can picture the high heel clicking witch inside me scolding me with her eyes and waving her finger in disapproval.
Would I do it differently? Hell, no. I believe that this kind of love happens once in a lifetime, if we're lucky, plus he's totally and absolutely worth the sacrifice. But does it mean that it sits well with me 100% of the time? No, and that's where my big bro Nate swooped in and talked me off the ledge, as he always does. "You see, there are different versions of all of us and we make the mistake of thinking there is just one, he explained.
My brother basically summed up one of the hardest things I grapple with, thinking or rather misunderstanding that there is only one consistent Alexis that operates the exact same way in any given situation. What's worse is that I'm frustrated when those very different versions of me exercise their voice or opinion, especially when they are conflicting. So the real challenge is for us to learn to accept every version of us, every shade of gray and every juxtaposing thought knowing that the bizarre, complicated and often confusing mess of ideas, hopes, dreams, thoughts, opinions and expectations potentially derives from 10 different versions of the same person.
So yes, there are moments when I feel selfless and supportive to those around me and there are times when I feel selfish and success-driven. There are moments when I effortlessly exercise compassion and humility, while other times I cannot seem to contain the judgment-driven self-righteousness. Needless to say, I'm not crazy and there's nothing wrong with having some pretty and not-so-pretty thoughts. Either way, I'm learning to love all of me. I'm learning that this is the only moment we have and to unconditionally accept the version of me that shows up to play, even if she's not necessarily in a playful mood. Who you are yesterday has no bearing on who you are today and who you are today is no indication of who you will be tomorrow. My challenge to all of us is to love whatever version shows up on any given day.
Image courtesy of Salon.com