Judge me all you want

Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.

Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.

I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.

Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.

Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.

What if you were lost and no one found you?

A colleague at work alerted me to Benjamin Kyle. Have you heard of him? I had not. Benjamin Kyle is not this man’s real name. His real name in unknown. He was found in 2004 behind a Burger King, with amnesia. He had no identification on him, and since he does not know who he is, and the government has not been able to determine who he is. He does not have a social security number and until someone hired him, he was not able to work. You will want to watch this short documentary video of what has happened to him between 2004 and today. No one has claimed him, or has sent out a missing person alert for him. Authorities have named him Benjamin Kyle. That is who he has been for the last 8 years.

Learning about him made me ask the question: “What if you were lost and no one found you?” Quite the deep and slightly depressing question. Yet, it makes you think about belonging, connections, friends, and family. What would it be like if we did not have our friends and family to check on us? To know if we were missing, or if something happened to us? I am sure there are plenty of people out there that have lost their friends and family and do not have others to check in on them. Do you know anyone like that? If so, have you checked in on them recently?

That is part of what makes Benjamin so interesting. It is an anomaly for someone to be lost, then found, and not be claimed. It is against what we feel should happen to others. It makes me grateful for the family and friends in my life. To know that I would be missed.

Portrait of Benjamin Kyle

Portrait of Benjamin Kyle

I want to leave you today with an awe-inspiring portrait of Benjamin Kyle. It was done with over 2 million ink dots. You can find a few more images of this portrait and further background details at this link on Colossal. The artist is selling 200 limited edition prints of Benjamin Kyle. “50% of all proceeds made through this limited edition will be dedicated to helping Benjaman Kyle retrieve a new SSN and to get his life back on track.”

An amazing story of a man finding his identity. Please share his story.