It’s been thirteen years since my first identity crisis…
I found myself in a new country for eighteen months embarking on the adventure of being a missionary. Here I was wearing dresses and being called “Sister” and doing things each day that were new and hard and often times discouraging. Even though I was just the tender age of 21 years old, my identity up to that point had been founded and nurtured on my talents as a musician. I was an award winning pianist and composer. I’d taken leave from my scholarship position at University to come serve voluntarily as a missionary because I felt the promptings of God tell me it was the right thing for me to do.
Yet, here I was, miserable. Feeling very amateur, untalented, and like a nobody.
It was startling for me to discover what happened to my self perception without my piano, my awards, my public performances, and the comfort of knowing that other people knew I was “good at something”. Here I was now with nothing to offer but plain old me. And that was all other people could see as well.
Thankfully, a mission was indeed one of the best decisions God could lead me to in discovering who I really was, and in developing an identity that was not dependent on achievements or things.
You would think that this lesson could be one of those once and done kind of things. Yet, here I am, learning it all again.
The internet is a funny place. Thirteen years ago, virtual reality didn’t play into my identity problems, but time and technology have certainly introduced new challenges into the ways I identify myself.
My first introduction to blogging and social media were in large part initiated because of having a business. From the very beginning my online presence has been crafted with the intent of being seen as an authority figure. I’m a teacher. I create courses, I have products, I therefore must build an online identity that positions itself on that persona. After several years of running my own business, I have suddenly found myself in transition. My photography classes have transitioned to The Photographers Element, and my new business venture is a partnership—and therefore will have it’s own home somewhere else. I find myself reminiscing on those same feelings I had as a young missionary when all the “things” that I had identified myself with were no longer with me.
brookesnow.com suddenly feels like it’s left now to expose plain old me. The me without the stuff. The me who’s just a person, not a teacher. Not an authority. Just your regular 34 year old woman trying her best to live a good life.
In my quest to uphold that finely crafted persona, I’ve lived an extremely “edited” presence online. I’m by nature a private person anyway, but anything that I have shared under my own brand has been all the more filtered. Several years of practice filtering everything I post and share to fit into a persona is long enough to leave me feeling like no one really knows the real me. And if they did, would they even like me? Am I even that interesting? Would people even come to this space if I wasn’t offering anything other than my own thoughts on what I’m learning in LIFE?
I guess we’ll find out 🙂
This moment marks an important new path for me. Going forward, this space will be less filtered. Less edited. More real. And my expectations have shifted dramatically. I won’t be blogging to “keep up appearances”. I’ll be blogging to record what I’m learning in life. And if the only person it benefits is me, then that’s okay.
But on the slight chance that someone else might learn from my own experiences, all the better 🙂
Brooke Snow delights in the pursuit of a meaningful life. Sign up for her FREE e course “Living A Thriving Life” to learn more about how to find true balance in your life. Brooke lives in Northern Utah with her calm husband, adventurous 5 year old son and bouncy baby girl.