What is it like to be you?

My little girl and I were rocking in the porch swing and she asked me, “Know what I’m thinking about, Mommy?”

“No, What?”

“What is it like to be you.”


“So, what is it like to be you?”

I was stumped.  I hadn’t really thought about it, and was looking for some words that could explain this urge I have.

To live.

To feel.

To never leave her alone and shelter her from harm, no matter what it takes.  Even when a bump on the head could go a long way in teaching the right lesson at the right time.

I didn’t say any of this.

Instead I said, “It feels fast, and slow at the same time.  It feels happy and worried and creative and stuck.

Mostly, it feels like inhale, exhale.

Think it over,

make a choice,

make a move,


Over and over again.

What is it like to be you?”

“It feels like when I was in Heaven with God before I got born, I checked out all the tummies that had openings, and I chose to come to yours. I got you.  So sometimes, it feels like I’m nature.  I’m natural and natural is me.  We’re, like, the same thing.  It feels like that.  You know what I mean?”

“I absolutely do.”

“Let’s call Auntie Yvette and see what it’s like to be her.”

So we called people and we asked her friends and mine that day.   And most people when asked the simple question, “What is it like to be you?” had no idea.  Everyone, no matter their age, gender and race first said something like this, “I don’t know.  I never thought about it.”  They could generally come up with an answer, but only after some thought.

People who came up with their answers most quickly talked about their physical selves.




But after chewing on it a little, we heard answers like this,

“I am nurturing.”

“Confusing, as old as I am.”

“Like I have way too much to do.”

“Like I’ll never be able to tie my own shoes when everyone else can, already.”

We both walked around feeling kind of mellow and connected to everyone we knew for the rest of that day.  I blame the extra mutual understanding.

So there’s my lesson for this week.  Whatever I think I am up to, every single person I meet is also in the middle of their own lessons. They’re simply trying to figure out what it feels like to be them, while I’m becoming aware of what it is like to be me.  

Tomorrow, before I draw conclusions about any situation, especially when conflicting needs meet I will ask, “What is it like to be you?”

It’ll help.

Thanks, Amen.


About thanks amen

Michelle is an artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose professional experience spans working as an educator, nonprofit executive, and consultant. She has a fear of clowns and pecans, and works every day to listen at least twice as much as she talks.
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