Who am I? Am I a woman in a wheelchair or a writer with a passion for humour and a little of the creepy? Am I an advocate or am I a victim? Who am I, really? Each of us has a face we show to others depending on the circumstances and I think that dictates who we are in that exact moment, only. We can be a hero or a villain. A casualty or saviour. I think all of them are in us. We just don’t always recognize it.
When I was working, I would get up every morning in ‘work mode’. I would dress appropriately and I would conduct myself appropriately. My mind would be focussed on the issues of the day, who I would be interacting with, how best to deal with any potentially serious issues. Work mode. After work my focus would be different. Was there shopping to be done? Would I be conversing with strangers? Was I meeting friends for dinner or drinks? And I would conduct myself according to the circumstances.
We change who we are a thousand times a day. When you’re chatting with a best friend you can joke with wild abandon. When you’re talking with your bosses’ boss then there is a certain decorum that must be adhered to.
That doesn’t mean we’re all sociopaths, although there are some that fit that description very closely. No, it just means we are People. We approach each situation independently and use our experiences and our knowledge to act as is required. I have been in a few situations where I was able to react correctly, quickly. I was once on a lake about a mile from shore with several other young women who were learning to canoe. A violent storm came up unexpectedly and there was no way we could make it back to shore safely. It could have been a disaster but we simply strapped all the canoes together and rode out the storm like a raft. We sang songs to alert those on shore that we were OK and we made an adventure out of it. It became a confidence building exercise.
We all have experiences like that I am sure. Our mind is able to extrapolate the necessary behaviours required because of what we have experienced in our past, perhaps what we have seen or read. That information is retained in our long-term memory for use if ever required and we are probably not even aware of it.
Police Officers spend years training to do their job. Fireman, the same. Doctors, engineers, nurses. All these professionals train using different scenarios to hone their skills. What this allows them to do is to deduce appropriate responses even to those circumstance that do not fit into previously known scenarios.
An example… There was a plane crash in Toronto in 1978 where an airplane ran off the end of the runway and crashed into a deep ravine. Because most of the surrounding area is cityscape there wasn’t much experience in mountain rescues. The first officers on the scene were able to analyze the situation and take the appropriate action within moments. Calls were made to people who could do mountain rescues. This scenario is now used in training exercises because it happened exactly the way it should have. They didn’t take weeks and months to plan and theorize, they used their training to determine what needed to be done. They were who they needed to be in that moment.
So, who am I? It all depends on the moment.