How many hats? Is it possible to have too many hats?   2 comments

I have not always been the sort of person to wear different hats – and adopt different persona’s to fit the hat that I am wearing at the time. This is a fairly recent thing, although looking back with hindsight, I can see this has developed over the last 10 years or so (before that I just had one hat – the private me one that I wore everywhere), but these days I do wear different hats – and lots of them!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have  had cause to wear several of my hats one after another, and have commented on social media about my diverse life …….

……… so just for fun, I thought I would have a go at recalling all those different hats and to try to describe the hat and the persona that goes with it.

First Hat – Private Me
My natural persona under my ‘Me’ hat is one of lacking confidence, of being quietly spoken (actually of preferring not to speak unless I really have to!), I have always hated phones, hated confrontation – or even lively debate, at school I never spoke up (as proved by my school reports) – but lurking under that hat is an opinionated, stubborn persona, that is also  passionate about the things that concern me. Sometimes in the privacy of my own home, or when with very close friends in person or via email – I slip my ‘me’ hat to one side, and do speak up about the things that concern me – in fact sometimes I forget that I am not wearing one of my public hats and I don’t shut up and can go on and on and on – until someone pushes my hat back on straight, and I retreat to the private me – well hidden by my ‘me’ hat.

However most of the time, my private me hat is firmly on my head, I prefer to listen and to support my close friends and family, I also will bend over backwards to help those close to me – maybe with a phone call, or meeting for a coffee, or giving advice or opinion on something that they ask for help with.

Honesty and confidentiality are very important to me – and form the basis of my personal ethos (which is similar to but not the same as my professional ethos).

I am happiest when wearing my private ‘me’ hat, I like my own company, pottering about in jeans, t.shirt and nothing on my feet. When wearing this hat, I am not a very social person – and I don’t like going to go to the pub, or to concerts, or to watch TV, or to play team games. I like to walk, to do puzzles, to read (but mainly by quickly scanning things) to cook cakes, and occasionally to knit, and if at all possible hidden from the sight of others by the wide rim on my private ‘me’ hat.

Second Hat – Wife
I have been wearing the hat belonging to wife of Garry for over 38 years now (and for 2 years before that I wore the girlfriend of Garry hat) – so actually I have only had 15 of my 55 years without a  Garry influenced hat being there. The hat has not always been comfortable to wear because as I have matured, I have changed – and I now wear lots of other hats that at times do not coordinate with the wife hat.

Wearing my wife hat is  my second favourite hat, I am happy in that role, and feel secure and loved, if at times constrained by expectations based on times when I wore less hats.

I have no intentions of throwing away my well worn wife hat – but every now and then it needs a little patching to ensure it still fits, and is fit for purpose.

When wearing my wife hat  – I lack confidence, I look for reassurance and direction, and can be misunderstood as I struggle to make my opinion / views known  and understood

Third Hat – Mother
My mother hat is also now well worn being 36 years old, it is also very patched and has changed shape / design a few times over the years. It has large pockets that once held nappy pins, and story books, and teddies, but these days holds my mobile phone for instant access to me by my now grown up daughters. My mother hat also has an ever ready supply of words or comfort, reassurance and advice, which is drawn from my head full of life experiences but are hidden from public  view under the hat.

When wearing my mother hat, I am fairly confident, I try to be fair, just and reasonable, I try not to judge or to impose my ideas – I try to always have my mother hat on – or at least close to hand

I am pretty sure that I will never lose my mother hat, but I have noted a change in my mother hat recently as it has got older and more patched – nowadays it is required less often in practical terms and although is still fully functioning as a hat, it is quite delicate, and at times the thin threads snap.

Fourth Hat – Granny
Where as my mother hat is well worn and patched, my Granny hat has a remarkable way of expanding to accommodate more and more things to meet the needs of the grandchildren. It has a mobile phone pocket which those grandchildren able to talk phone me on – with requests for help and information to share; it also has pockets for stories both in books and in head; and for teddies; and room for sweets and cakes and extra pocket money for holidays. However mainly my Granny hat is filled with LOVE – lots of it.

I love my Granny hat and having opportunity to wear it, and when I have my Granny hat on, I feel very special and a lucky granny to have so many lovely grandchildren – all 10 of them are so special in their own individual way

Fifth Hat – Volunteer
Volunteering has always been part of my life (well since I became a mother) and so over the years I have sort of added to the size of my volunteering hat – and now it is huge and of many colours – with a different colour for each organisation that I volunteer for – but all joined together like patchwork to make one big hat with lots of joined together pieces – that are both individual and collective.

Wearing my volunteer hat makes me feel both confident and at the same time unsure of myself – it is a very complex hat to wear. I like to lead some things and yet I like direction and reassurance – which I seek from those whose organisations I volunteer for.

Mainly my volunteer hat meets my need to be supportive and helpful – and to give something back. Some struggle to understand why I have such a large volunteer hat – but actually I need it – it is what makes me who I am – as in the public persona- which is very different from the private persona.

Sixth Hat – Friend and Colleague hat                                                           
I love this hat!

I only have a few very close friends – and those friends know who they are. I can go long periods of time without talking to them – but if they need my support, I will drop everything to help them in whatever way I can  emotionally, physically, practically – if I can help I will. The other thing about my close friends is they do the same for me – usually their role is to listen when I am stressed and finding things too much to cope with. So my Friends hat is one that I share with others – and it fits me and my friends.

I have a very similar hat as my colleagues hat – it is mainly a supportive hat and it does not cover my ears, so I am always able to listen, it is soft and cuddly, has hugs and love all over it – and in a pocket some tissues. Surrounding the hat is a ring of confidence and hope, that can be shared with anyone who wants or needs it.

Seventh  Hat (actually also  Eighth, Ninth and Tenth hats) – Chair of Committees
As a volunteer – I seem to be collecting these chair hats! The hats are similar in many ways – but also unique.

When wearing a chair of committee hat – I somehow manage to come across as confident and knowledgeable, even though I am often in a state of panic or stress. These hats are held on with double sided sticky tape so that I can’t take it off when out of my comfort zone, but needing to ‘see something through’ . However with a bit of effort, I can pull them off on occasion – to put on one of my other hats.

I do have a bit of an issue with taking off my hats – and can sometimes wear a hat (or more than one hat at the same time) for too long – which is  not good for me personally  and sometimes not good for the organisation that I volunteer for.

I do enjoy being able to help others and to ensure things get done – but admit that I am not superwoman, and without the support of other committee members and the paid staff of the organisation that I represent in these committee’s – I would fall to bits and drown under the workload – and the personal stress.

Eleventh Hat – Childminder                                                               This hat is remarkable and has two sides – each a different colour and texture. The smaller blue side is smooth and is very compliant, wanting to tick boxes, to get it right, to be praised and acknowledge as ‘doing a good job’. My persona under this hat is fast disappearing, and maybe the time has come to recover this side of the hat with some yellow material and a big embroidered smile.

The much bigger red side is rough and refuses to tick boxes just because others expect boxes ticked, that says ‘NO’ not doing that because not in best interests of children, that says to anyone who will listen – this is madness, where is the common sense? The persona under this side of the childminder hat is confident, knows what is right and what is not and is prepared to practice ‘Principled non compliance’. In fact this side of the hat is in danger of becoming an accessory to the campaigning hat.

Twelfth  Hat – Campaigner                                                                  This is quite a new hat – being just under 3 years old. It is not a hat that I enjoy wearing, because it takes me way out of my comfort zone and is so different from the other hats that I wear – but actually I don’t have a lot of choice in wearing this hat – it sort of just arrived and found its way to my head – and despite efforts to change it for a less noticeable hat, or a smaller hat – and on a couple of occasions attempts to shove it in the bin – it remains securely fixed to my head – in fact it is never taken off and remains there under the other hats – which is why sometimes I find this hat taking over things and my campaigning persona of having strong opinions, and ethos, and values, and common sense, and sense of what is in the best interests of children and what is not, is so strong it just stamps on my other hats and persona’s. This is why sometimes I find myself being outspoken in situations where I never thought I would be – and as time goes on this is happening more and more – the more campaigning I do, the stronger the influence of that hat becomes on the rest of my hats.

I do find this a little worrying – am I being controlled by a hat that I did not actually buy or make – but that now is changing who I am?

Do I want to be known as a campaigner with a well worn soap box – or do I want to be known for one of my other hats persona?

Is it possible to stop the campaigning hat from taking over? Will the campaigning hat ever come off and leave the other hats that are more suited to my natural persona to become the main hat?

Indeed is it possible  to wear so many different hats?

Thirteenth  hat – Student                                                                                                                                                                        
This is a very new hat – and I am not sure that it is a very good fit!

It clashes with lots of the other hats in design and purpose – and the campaigning hat is not really giving the student hat much of a chance to prove itself useful.

Add to that the fact that the student hat has a bit of an issue with managing words – spoken, read and written – and time is going to be needed to see if this hat will stretch, adapt and fit – and put the campaigning hat in its place!

Fourteenth hat – Tutor / public speaker hat
There are actually two hats the one I wear when delivering courses to close colleagues – this hat is comfortable and fits well. The persona under this tutor hat copes, and just speaks from the heart.

However the public speaker hat . keynote speaker hat, is very new and slightly itchy! It may need a little working on, stretching it and expanding it a bit more – but once on and in public – it does seem to show potential as a hat that I may wear more often


So to answer the questions in the title of this blog 

How many hats?  At least 14 – but there are others – such as the daughter hat, the sibling hat (both of which are not worn very much at the moment but are still there just waiting for time to put them on), and of course the foster carer hat – which again is new and ‘settling in’

Is it possible to have too many hats? Mmmmm MAYBE – but I can’t see any of the hats going out of fashion or use, just yet.


Posted December 18, 2014 by psw260259 in Random Things!

2 responses to “How many hats? Is it possible to have too many hats?

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  1. Penny, in response to your How Many Hats! Well you can add one more – a Support Hat. Not just support to the wider issues but at a more personal level and you will never know just how grateful I am for your kind, generous, unselfish support. You are an inspiration to many and an absolute diamond to me.
    I take MY hat of to you xx

    • Thank you for your very kind comments. if I can help a colleague I will – and do. I am not the sort to make a song and dance about the support that I give to others, but your comments are much appriciated

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