The Roles We Hide In

Throughout my childhood I took on roles so that the world would see me, and so that I knew who I was.  Sometimes the ‘tidier’, sometimes the ‘wrecker’, sometimes the ‘quiet one’ and sometimes the ‘screamer’.  As time went on I began to cement these roles, becoming known as the peacemaker and carer within my family.

If I had a role then everything made sense.  Without thinking, I could work from the script.

During this time I vaguely remember feeling that everything was totally topsy-turvy and did not make sense.  I would have tender moments with a dog or in nature when I could see the chaos in my life for what it was, but since I had already made myself smaller than I truly was, the enormity of that realisation was too much and I resorted to familiarity and the role that fitted in with life as it was in my house.  When the boat did get rocked in our family by someone ‘breaking the rules’, the lash-back was monumental and I learned from this not to challenge the status quo: a status quo that thinly veiled the devastation of lives lived in slavery to social expectation and ‘what the neighbours would think’.

Roll on a few years…..  At school I was ‘obnoxious’ and ‘stupid’.  At work I was obedient and efficient. Within my family I continued to care take and micro-manage.

All this time the chaos was becoming harder to hide.  I took drugs with my brother in the evenings and at weekends and then turned up to work pretending it was all OK.  I became mother, wife, housekeeper, confidante to my father after my parents got divorced and mother, sister, chauffeur to my two brothers.

Superficially I was pulling it off (it felt so precarious), and the world celebrated that.

Roll on a few more years…..  Married and pregnant.  Now, motherhood I was going to totally nail.  I knew how not to do it, so with determination I embarked on my most important job to date.  I immersed myself completely.  I had trained in midwifery so was well qualified for the job and was going to be the perfect mother.

Children have the beautiful ability to expose all the lies and whilst I maintained the myth of there being such a thing as a perfect mother, my son showed me otherwise.  I was sure I could bring a child up without them ever crying.  If I got it right there would be no need, right?  He cried.  And that was the beginning of the breaking of the fantasy fortress I had built so carefully.

I remember sobbing silently after my son developed allergic asthma following exposure to horses.  I raged at myself.  I couldn’t even do this job properly.  I had diminished myself to a role and every failing within that role was another lash of the whip.

I have 3 sons now.  I lost control a long time ago (a good thing) and had to relinquish the need to hold all the reins all the time.  In so doing I found a pair of neglected, dusty, abandoned reins on the floor.

Mine.  In amongst all this play acting, fitting in and following the crowd I had snuffed out the only thing I truly was.  Me.

I have been building myself back to me ever since, ably assisted by the work of Universal Medicine and its practitioners and workshops.  As my relationship with myself has developed everything else has started to make sense.  I can work, I can mother, I can be organised, but I am not these things.  First and foremost I am me, and from this foundation I can walk alongside people in my life – loving them without need, supporting them without control, enjoying them without an agenda.  If I am honouring me I am naturally honouring them and that serves us all.

It has been really painful at times.  Particularly to realize that I have known this all along and just chose to not live it.

The magnitude of accepting that I am not a role, be it mother, wife, sister, midwife, organizer, great cook etc., but me first, is HUGE.  The magnitude of accepting my children for who they are rather than as actors in my play is GINORMOUS.  The magnitude of accepting that the greatest service to the world is to do nothing but just be me is VAST.

I am a work in progress, but the willingness to accept that this is not a striving to get somewhere but an allowing something that has always been there to emerge, makes more sense to me than anything ever before.

by Matilda Clark

744 thoughts on “The Roles We Hide In

  1. “I had diminished myself to a role and every failing within that role was another lash of the whip”, ouch, I really know that one! Life is so much simpler whenever we make the success of a day how much we were able to be and express our natural selves, I am still learning this but it’s been completely life changing. Thank God the roles are going, they are so limiting even though they can also be addictive.

  2. It makes sense that when we disconnect from being with ourselves we feel lost and distract ourselves from feeling the pain of separation by looking outwards, learning to cope by the images we haven rather than by sensing and responding to the truth we feel from our body.

    1. That is so beautiful to read Matilda. With the mess the world is in it certainly needs all the strong, shining and very assured members of humanity possible. That totally does away with taking on roles, as all is required is for us to be all that we are; glorious and very shiny human beings.

  3. It is interesting the way we use roles to find an identity we can be accepted and recognised for by others. We give our power away to the outside to supplement what we feel unable to give ourselves and yet if we allowed ourselves to turn inward and connect to our essence we would feel our true beauty and natural qualities and express from the wisdom and knowing of our true selves.

    1. I agree, Linda. Knowing who we are and having a strong relationship with this, means that we can be in the midst of life, strong sure and steady – role and need free – a lighthouse for others.

  4. Mum, sister, wife – it almost seems easier to put on a role than to be ourselves, but how can that be when being ourselves is innate, it is something we are born with. Imagine the effort that goes in to be everything that we’re not… boy, no wonder we’re exhausted.

  5. By identifying ourselves with our roles in life we stifle our potential for expressing the expansiveness of the divine qualities, we are here on earth to share.

  6. We have so much to offer one another when we don’t confine ourselves to the roles we’ve taken on and believed we should be. We are who we are, first, and the more solid and familiar I become with that feeling and knowing of who I am, the less interested I am in defining myself by what I do: it just becomes an extension and an expression of who I am, already.

  7. “If I had a role then everything made sense. Without thinking, I could work from the script”. Not only does it allow you to wander through life in a pre-set way, but when you take on a role, the world leaves you alone. You are in your place, keeping the status quo and not being free or expressing the fullness of who you are which has the power to completely disrupt the status quo.

  8. “In so doing I found a pair of neglected, dusty, abandoned reins on the floor.
    Mine.” In life we often don’t realise that we have let go of our reins and that that are now being held by anyone but us ourselves. By this we allow ourselves to be pulled to react, to be emotional, to be this or that but to never just be ourselves. Taking our our reins back is the only way to not be at the mercy of the world and who ever is holding our reins.

  9. “In amongst all this play acting, fitting in and following the crowd I had snuffed out the only thing I truly was. Me.” The inspiration from Universal Medicine is unique and amazing in giving us permission to be us and peel away the layers of protection ideals and beliefs that builds a deep relationship within ourselves and allows this with everyone in life from who we are and not what we do and the of recognition this . A very beautiful and inspiring sharing thank you.

  10. A deeply beautiful inspiring and real sharing on life and all the roles we play to simply not really be ourselves. it is incredible with all the trying the simplicity of just being truly ourselves and allowing this really is vast and magnificent in all this allows us to open up and be.

  11. It is vast, can it really be this simple, just allowing ourselves to be in our fullness, ‘The magnitude of accepting that the greatest service to the world is to do nothing but just be me is VAST.’

  12. How much we reduce ourselves by the roles we identify with, thinking it is us doing it and that we can perform them perfectly. If we connect with our divinity and our universality we have everything inside us and all we have to do is let it out.

  13. It is impossible to shout and tell a child off when I love and accept them for who they are. Yes, by all means I address their behaviour when it is needed but I cannot condemn them… this is a very beautiful learning as I raise my children and bring this quality to all children.

  14. Why is it we are so keen to pigeon hole and categorise life and each other? This habit feels like the opposite of accepting and embracing ourselves in our uniqueness, valuing the qualities we all offer without any labels (role stereotyping).

  15. Absolutely Matilda, it keeps life much simpler, ‘First and foremost I am me, and from this foundation I can walk alongside people in my life – loving them without need, supporting them without control, enjoying them without an agenda. If I am honouring me I am naturally honouring them and that serves us all.’

  16. So often we think we are the roles we play…in choosing this we separate from who we truly are, we miss out on enjoying being us and not trying to do a thing.

  17. We think that actors on a stage have a strange job. We make celebrities of those we like to see play. And yet they are not so far removed from how we all live life: we act and play out characters, jobs and tasks. And in this way the world misses out on who we truly are. Faced with any situation we just go into the familiar, to what we think we know. What a callamity when we had everything we needed all along, to learn and grow.

  18. ‘I am me, and from this foundation I can walk alongside people in my life – loving them without need, supporting them without control, enjoying them without an agenda. If I am honouring me I am naturally honouring them and that serves us all.’ Feeling privileged to walk alongside you and have the reflection of an amazing woman who is committed to letting go of all her roles and not imposing her needs on others. The world is blessed that you chose to come out of hiding.

  19. ” In amongst all this play acting, fitting in and following the crowd I had snuffed out the only thing I truly was. Me.” I did this too – as a mother and a wife. But what reflection does this give to those around us? Do we really want our children to follow in this same model? When we love ourselves deeply those around us can feel it – that is something I’m content to reflect out for others to be inspired by and choose for themselves too.

    1. I agree Sue and realise I have to be careful of not repeating ‘inherited’ behaviours simply because it wasn’t a ‘total disaster for me’… this feels like such a compromise on what is really on offer in life.

  20. it’s so easy to get caught up in the roles we perform throughout our day – be it mother, carer, worker, friend etc – and I have been a chameleon in many of them – doing what I felt was required – so none of then were true. When we are true to ourselves, then we can settle and just be who we are.

  21. So much to take from this Matilda, most importantly that it is not a striving to be something more or greater but the true understanding that we are already it.

  22. Shakespeare described it so accurately: ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits ad their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts’. Who are we really? We are certainly not the roles we identify with to maintain our individuality on earth.

  23. I found (and sometimes find) letting go of the roles we have quite a challenging process, because it made me realize how I used them as control and as a safety protection. Without them can feel quite naked and ‘new’.

  24. Our roles can provide us with the formula of how we should behave in certain situations in life without having to expose our vulnerability as women.

    1. Not taking into account the power we offer others to deepen their own expression when we allow ourselves to feel the depth of this vulnerability in the body and feel how divine we truly are.

  25. Matilda what you have shared is massive. We can live our whole life playing roles to please others and fit in with society. Never feeling good enough for all the ‘doing’ we are doing. To stop and feel we are enough without the ‘doing’ is a huge process of taking off the many hats we have worn and appreciating the love we are within.

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