For most of my life I have been able to “fit in”. In fact, I became so adept at it, that more than once I have been asked directions in a city I was visiting for the first time. I can pick up mannerisms and accents easily. When speaking with someone, I can pick up subtleties that allow me to adapt and steer my conversations.

There were many reasons why I became so skilled at the art of being a chameleon. One has to do with self-worth. What someone else did or said, or how they acted, was far more important than whatever I might do or say. Another related to the need for attention. “Good girls” were the ones who followed the rules, who played well with others. I got praise for this and recognition for doing the right thing. And lastly, there is the element of fear. What would happen if I stood out? Would you like me? What if you didn’t – where would I be then? It was far too risky to strike out on one’s own and much safer to be one of the flock. 

If you had asked me two months ago if I felt I was still a chameleon, I would have laughed. “Oh, heavens no!” I might have replied, confident that I was far beyond those “needing to fit in” days. I was a woman who had invested a lot of time and energy into getting to know herself. I had put in the work and was proud of the results. Heck, I TEACH people how to do this!

And then came the quarantine.

Being alone for vast amounts of time can send you hurtling back through time. It brings back old patterns, old ways of being. Add in a parent’s dying and you’ve got a whole added dimension. Lest I thought I was “through” all my old “stuff”, life had other plans for me. 

How does one act when there is no one around to measure yourself by? When you don’t have a parent to give their approval. When you don’t have an audience to tell you you’re hitting the mark. When you don’t have people around you to let you know how to talk, to walk, what to wear, and what to do.

You have to listen to yourself.

When you hear others saying this is a great time to start that new book/website/program offering/next great idea. When you hear about the great new recipe or exercise routine or meditation program you should be doing.

You have to listen to yourself.

When you look in your closet at all the clothes that are just collecting dust and wonder if you’ll ever wear them again – or will you want to. When trying on concert t-shirts holds more appeal than going on LinkedIn.

You have to listen to yourself.

This is a terrible time to be a chameleon. There is no guidebook on how one should act or feel or think at a time like this. There is no measuring stick to compare yourself to, no crowd in which to blend in. What there is, however, is this:

Be kind to yourself

Give yourself room for emotions to surface

Find what makes you laugh and incorporate it into your day

Reach out: send notes, make phone calls, do a Zoom call or 20 of them

Wear what makes you comfortable. Do what makes you comfortable. 

Be in the moment

Be yourself

Be love 

Be well