Developing Yourself as a Character

Try to accurately capture how you appear to others.

I’m not cut out to be a caregiver. I’m impatient and I want to be acknowledged and admired. Taking care of Jon through his recovery from surgery involved being patient, making many trips upstairs despite my aching hip and desire to tell others what to do instead of doing things myself. I drove, shopped, schlepped groceries, put stuff away, made all the meals and cleaned up afterwards.

Lots of other people do that routinely and easily. Not me. I want to at least share the physical work even though I am getting used to doing most of the thinking and planning for both of us.

I looked calm and efficient, and I was. But I was also tired and lonely and grateful that things basically went as smoothly as they did. I am grateful that he has recovered and is back to doing his self-care routine tasks. I didn’t need to open the hot tub and close it myself last night and it felt wonderful.


I’m the kind of person who…

I’m the kind of person who enjoys both being with others and being alone. I genuinely care about others’ happiness, and I don’t care at all about games, manipulation, and intrigue. I am very smart and understand things in depth, although I often forget details. I do understand the big pictures and how things fit together. I regularly forget words and I need to search for them, especially the names of things.

I’m also bossy, appear much more confident than I am socially. I like being alone and reading, writing and listening. I like group exercise and OK caring, responsive, straightforward people.

I love pretty, smart clothes and I usually wear sweats. I hate having anything tight on my body: shoes, stockings, underwear, bras, waistbands, tights—anything! This gets worse as I get older.

I’m a learner and a teacher and I have trouble doing one without the other. I am hypersensitive to my physical environment and sensitive or allergic to many things which leads to lots of coughing and sneezing and regular need for medication. I keep myself healthy and functional with regular effort.

My weight has been a struggle since I was a teenager. I eat carefully but not fanatically. I avoid red meat and I love chocolate. I ration and enjoy good things, sometimes for so long that they go bad. My parents lived through the great depression, and I still follow their tenants. I’m an enigma to myself—full of opposites. Casual observers seek consistency.


People who know me Remember Me most for my…

People who know me Remember Me most from my calmness and wisdom. My children have seen me as controlling even when I’m not. Maybe now not so much—more needy and vulnerable. I sometimes wonder if some of my grandchildren see me at all. Jack and Divya appreciate how much I know and have done and want to share. They also see my vulnerability. I feel like we see each other, and I am awed by them. The other kids are less connected.

Rachel and Linda Azzi appreciate how difficult it is for me to stay organized because I want to sample so much. They know how my wanting to do so many different things can overwhelm me.

People who know me casually see what I have created, especially the books and how I have helped others and are often awed and impressed. People who know me a little better see my individualism. I like what I like, and I completely ignore some parts of the world.

People who know me well recognize the gluttony aspect of the Enneagram eight. I want far more than I can manage, hence unread books, unwatched programs and little play. Yet in my chosen work as a therapist/ coach, I am focused and fulfilled.


In the story I wish to tell, my actions, thoughts and beliefs were most influenced by the fact that I…

In the story I wish to tell, my actions, thoughts and beliefs were most influenced by the fact that I was born at the end of the depression to an overachieving mother and ambitious father, both Jewish! And I was born at a time when women were not expected to be more than wives and mothers. I received mixed messages.

  • Be a doctor not a nurse.
  • Stay home and take care of your children.
  • Don’t be a sheep—be an individual.
  • Always do your best.
  • Mary a rich man and join the Country Club.
  • Leave the world a better place than you found it.
  • Honor everyone, regardless of what they look like.
  • Be careful of the gays and the schwarzes (black people).

Truly contradictory in many areas.


Now, choose a second characteristic, and write about how that influenced your story…

I was strongly influenced by my experience as a senior Girl Scout and by an understanding of General Semantics. The world is not as it seems, and CAN be understood. I think that influenced embracing TA and feminism within two years of each other and both redirected my life.

These gave me tools. I can help others awaken to join me in this perception. Being active can make a difference, not as a leader in position, but in thought and perception. I don’t want to do the work of the presidency; I want to influence the president and others.