March 19, 2013

The Real Me

Who is the real me? It's the me that's living life right now, in this moment. Most days, it's the me you experience. It's my calm, my excitement, my love, my fear, my play, my insecurities, my sharing, my curiosity. I've been asking my best friends what they think my "one thing" is--an exercise to help me (vaguely) focus my next chapter. My friend Steph said it's my realness. I took that comment into my heart. To be real is one of the biggest compliments I can receive. Honestly, I don't always feel real. Sometimes I feel distracted or unworthy or uptight. But I suppose owning that is part of being real.

Today I went into the office. I'm gradually clearing out; filling the recycling bin each time it's emptied. On this day I decided to have some fun with my office cleaning:

As I reflect on my time at Lawrence, I honor all my experiences. I remember the multitude of occurrences in my office: interesting questions, aha moments, tears of anxiety, giddy laughter, soul sharing, deep breaths, and lots of learning--from both me and my students. Leaving this job is a loss. But it's also a huge gain. Because the real me is completely at peace:

My friend Kristin gave me a wall hanging with the following quote (source unknown): "Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." Sometimes I wonder if people have an incorrect impression of me--that I'm put together, zen-like, balanced, and constantly happy. Indeed, the real me is happy, contented, and kind, but I can also be cranky, judgmental, and frantic. That all said, I typically have calm in my heart. I trust in my kind heart. I return there regularly. 

So who is the real me? The me that will look you in the eyes, regardless of the circumstances, and give you my full attention and my open heart:


  1. You are such a beautiful woman, Joy! Your authenticity, your openness ... Reading your blog always warms my heart as I see a real woman, complex and fascinating, loving life, exploring and experiencing its challenges and sharing about it in a way I admire.
    Really like this quote as well: I found it somewhere (I don't remember where exactly) some years ago and ever since it has been one of my mottos.

  2. Right now, the word I'd use to describe you is "searching.". Openly, honestly searching. There's a vulnerability to it that draws us in. Thank you.

  3. Yes, you are beautiful! I see and hear the real you every time we connect--happy, sad, silly, cranky, reflective, fearful-- it's all you and it's all real. AND I love and admire that about you!

  4. Three thoughtful comments from three women i deeply admire. Thank you!