Role Play

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Archived from the week of 6/25/18 @ The Guilde:

"[I]t's in writing memoirs that we are obliged to say what the total constellation of all our roles means to us. And that's the real dilemma of the modern consciousness. We have this sense of an inner core of being which is us, which looks out and comments on life and experience - and which is part of, but not subsumed by all the roles that we play.

I think modern moral philosophers think that you really can't judge a life without looking at the total sum of all the roles that are intertwined within it and trying to interpret what they all add up to. And I think that's the aspect of the modern consciousness that really resonates when we read a memoir. We want to see somebody else telling us what it's all added up to because we want to be able to do that for ourselves.
-- Jill Ker Conway


Mother. Daughter. Partner/Spouse. Sister. Friend. Leader. Business owner. Employee. Volunteer. Caretaker. Creative. Citizen. Activist. Community organizer. Cook. Errand Runner. Empathic Listener. Social planner. Trip planner. And on and on.
 
Imagine a world without women in it. Imagine women without our roles.

Feminist Author and former Smith College President Jill Ker Conway passed away last week, and in revisiting her work, we got to thinking about the roles we play as women, and as she says -- what they all add up to.

While each of our lives host a unique constellation, it’s fair to say that most women inhabit a dizzying number of roles. In psychological terms, this is termed “multiple role engagement.”
 
There are times in life when multiple role engagement amounts to strain and overload, and other times when it adds up to life satisfaction and enhancement. Times when we seem to flow with the reality of “doing it all” and times when it all becomes too much. Times when due to necessity or temptation, we merge our identity with a singular role even when we are so much more.
 
It’s of value once in awhile to slow down and take stock: how are the roles we play serving us, and how are they holding us back? Are we using any of our roles to hide from the fullest expression of our lives? And where is there an opportunity to redefine and recreate the roles we are playing to better lead ourselves toward life enhancement and away from overload?
 
These are the questions we're curious about this week.

To all the beautiful roles you play, and the you that shines above them all,
Dana & Kristan