We all have people who remind us of who we really are. Many of us have different versions of ourselves that we offer to different types of people in our lives.
Most of us have a work persona. I know that I do. My sister hates “work Aimee” after over decade in sales management I have perfected the fake laugh at completely unoriginal jokes, the concerned face about strangers personal problems that I don’t care about and the chummy friend face that makes people buy things that they blatantly don’t need.
I can turn work Aimee on at the drop of a hat. When you are motivated buy a sales bonus and your hoover is broken you can sell a surprising amount of glitter spray/horrible smelling conditioner/mini vibrators, with the correct application of a fake laugh.
There are other versions of Aimee too, parent friendly Aimee, who doesn’t swear like a sailor or talk about filth all of the time. I think after my strict Christian upbringing (fart was a swear word in our house) it taught me that parents would not approve of you if such behaviour was witnessed. I also don’t think that parent friendly Aimee is a bad thing, but she is not a true version of who I actually am.
There is shoulder to cry on Aimee, this facet of my personality has always had the ability to shelve whatever is actually going on in Aimee world and focus on a friend’s woes. This has meant that many times when it has felt like my whole world is crumbling into an explosive armageddon of doom, I have pretended that everything is fine and taken a sad mate out for some drinks instead.
Shoulder to cry on Aimee has built herself quite a reputation amongst the trauma ridden vampire friend division of my life and she has had her hat on far more often than is healthy for the rest of Aimee.
There is fun time handsy drunk Aimee. I love her. I love imbibing the rum that leads me to becoming her, I love dancing like a fool to music, I love falling off my impractical shoes that she insists that I wear (even though she knows full well that she will take them off and walk the streets of Southampton barefoot at the earliest opportunity)
Sometimes I found that I would be at work being work Aimee, a friend would pop by the shop with a problem, so I would take my lunch break and be shoulder to cry on Aimee, then go back to work and be work Aimee again. After work I would go to the pub and carry on being shoulder to cry on Aimee (and maybe then turn into fun time handsy drunk Aimee). Then I would finally get home and have a chance just to be myself.
There is relaxed Aimee, she sits at home surrounded by dogs, reading and drinking tea. She goes for long walks in the countryside with the dogs. These things are by far my favourite past times. This is my best way to be. However I seem to spend the least amount of time wearing my relaxed Aimee hat. Sometimes I can see it in my minds eye covered in cobwebs and dust, crying out for me to finish that book.
I have recently gotten a new hat to wear. It is the mummy hat. I love my new hat, its like never having hats because you worry that you like like a bit of a dick in them and suddenly finding a hat that you know makes you look fabulous.
Mummy hat has meant that work Aimee gets a whole year off. I don’t have to be her at all. I don’t miss her and I would be very happy if she never came back again. Shoulder to cry on Aimee is having a massive break as even if I am called upon to help with nonexistent problems I can pull the mummy hat out of my bag and they have to go away.
Obviously I love my friends and if there is a real problem I can wear both hats at the same time, breastfeeding and making a cup of tea whilst listening to whatever has happened. But I no longer need to tolerate the nonsense that I previously wasted hours of my time on.
Fun time handsy drunk Aimee has also been absent since the mummy hat, a good thing I think because nobody wants to see a heavily pregnant woman in short shorts drunkenly wobbling down the road singing “hey big spender”, neither should they be witnessing a nursing mother doing Jager bombs and arguing with door staff about not having her shoes on. I do miss her and the fun times, but I know once the small one has moved on to food and I get my breasts back, that with careful babysitter planning I might be able to put that hat on occasionally (and it will be much cheaper to take her out than it used to be!)
Sadly the relaxed Aimee hat still barely gets worn. The mummy hat seems to have eaten into the time that I would get to break that one out even more than work Aimee, shoulder to cry on Aimee and fun time handsy drunk Aimee did before.
This is why I need people in my life who know me properly, who can identify which hat I am wearing when they see me and know which parts not to pay attention to. That can laugh at the funny thing that I did or said whilst wearing that hat in front of them.
Last night I spent some time on Skype with my sister. It was nearly as good as actually being there and having a drink with her (although I only had a latte, she was on the beer for both of us) The baby was asleep so my mummy hat was hung up and I could just be Aimee. Normal, no need to think about any of the words that I was saying and just talk about what we had been up to and have a laugh.
It was brilliant.
And I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a good selection of people in my life that do actually know me, REAL me.