Hat’s Off

I am me, and I wear many hats. So writes my elegant friend on a day when I really needed to read those eight words.

She is one who ended a personal message to all her friends with the words, “All I wanted to say was, if you’re struggling with ANY aspect of yourself, your life, the hats you wear, please don’t give up”. I love this sentence. Honestly, I wish words at my disposal could imprint a deeper impression on my “now”. They can’t.

I have too many hats that don’t fit … and overcoming THIS challenge is her victory. She is the gold medal winner of the race I am just now starting to run.

She writes: “I wear many hats: mother, teacher, partner, coach, friend, sister, daughter, woman, creator, artist, student …” By her passionate admission, each hat is worn well some days, other times? Not so.

Like a Dr. Seuss book, as I would characterize, one hat, two hats, this hat, that … Hats may have looked good, but inside? Not ‘dat. Her hats felt, well, uncomfortable. The roles – the toppers personified – were cute to the adoring public, however, quite tight and constraining … possibly itchy to the soul. Perhaps, an itch that couldn’t be scratched until time and motivation were aligned with her tipping point of self-discovery.

This finally happened. She tossed her old, worn, uncomfortable hats over onto a rack and prepared new labels and beautiful bows for them.

In her words, as only she could write (after all, it is her victory life lap to pace herself after stepping off the podium): “So here I am, roughly 15 months into the deepest, rawest, most painful and most rewarding self-discovery telling anyone who cares to stop & read this amidst their scrolling time… I’ve ditched the hat”.

To clarify, she refuses (now) to place hats on her head labeled, “You were so selfish”, “You should be ashamed of yourself”, or, “Look what you’ve done to everyone else”. Instead – if I may take some liberties here – those hats are being replaced with, “I am ____” labeled toppers followed by “myself”, “original”, and “damn happy”. These aren’t selfish ambitions. They are, as she says, bringing you joy, igniting your fire, and driving you forward.

I’ve known her – and three first name variations – for some time. Your knowing her name isn’t necessary, but knowing this little slice of her life’s pie, I believe, is.

Why? Because any friend of mine, who can render me speechless simply by posting seven short paragraphs on Facebook, deserves to be recognized.

I’ve had challenging times lately. This isn’t the space for details. Life is complicated. Hats are placed on our heads – by us or others – to demand our attention. They want us to fill roles we may not want to act out, but we do anyway out of a sense of obligation. These ill-fitted hats restrict our true self, and yet we keep them on week after week – month over month … Possibly years at a time.

When the noggin’ gets too burdened with numerous family fedoras, and heads sag because beanies piles upon the brain, it’s time for these hats to, in her words, (massive literary license here), “fly off into some Wizard of Oz adventure” of their own.

No more flying monkey hats for me. I’m thinking new brain toppers.

With her permission, I am honored to say the hats I wear at this moment are being re-evaluated.

It’s just as simple as that.

And as she ended, so shall I. As well, I extend the same to all of you, my friends and readers:

“I’m here if you need an ear. You are loved💗”

My hat’s off to you, L.T.

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