Being a Multifaceted Human in a World That Desires a Single Brand

Hello friends, welcome here!

This morning I asked my friends if I should change my Instagram handle to reflect my love of running in the outdoors – or running and the outdoors, you get the point. No response from them yet, but I have been on a thought chain since. Why is it not enough to be @ItsCyndel

I struggle a lot with the idea of being a multifaceted human in a world that wants desires a single brand. In fact, I have probably devoted too much brain space to this concept. I think I think about this a lot because so much of my work is intertwined in my identity and personal beliefs and values. 

Being the “Sustainability Person” can be all consuming. I think there is an expectation or assumption that sustainability people want to be sustainability people all the time – but we don’t. We are multifaceted people, too. When I go to parties, I don’t want to absolve you of your guilt as it pertains to your recycling, or lack thereof. I don’t want to go to *every* sustainability meeting in town. I don’t want you to fear inviting me into your home because you use plastic, gasp (guess what, I do too). 

In an attempt to get away from the all consuming identity being the sustainability person can be, I have gone to great lengths to have neutral, boilerplate responses to the variety of questions I get asked on the daily. I try to keep as much “sustainability work” in my 8-5 as possible. I stay away from certain parts of town where I know I may run into students or colleagues (I love them, and I want to keep loving them). I do not have email notifications to my phone. Work life balance is a thing I protect with my whole being so I can show up to the work I love as my best self.

Maybe this sounds harsh. I know. I can’t say this enough: I love, love, love my job and am so fortunate to be able to work in my passion area. There is not a day I take that for granted. I am also still a human and at some point work is work. Maybe it is weird to do sustainability work because where is the line, really, in work life balance? I am not carelessly consuming plastic, and running water, and driving all over creation in my off hours because that would go against the things I value. So, where is the line between sharing my lifestyle and sustainability work? I don’t know. I am doing it messy. I work very hard both to be and not to be the sustainability person.

So then, we find ourselves back at the question I asked my friends this morning. The things I value most in life involve movement and the outdoors and protecting those things. My Instagram is a collage of my dog, the trails I run, snaps of my running watch, plants, sunsets, vegan dishes, some susty things, and the random photo of me – but much less of those than the other things. I was in the process of posting photos from my latest State Park adventure when I joking thought my Insta handle does not reflect the content I am posting. Wow, what?


Since when do I care if my Instagram handle reflects the content I am posting? It is all a part of my life, experiences, and journey. It doesn’t really matter. Am I trying so hard to not be one thing that I am branding myself as another? Like, am I trying so hard to move away from being the sustainability person, I am choosing running instead? Why do I feel the need to be one thing? Ugh, ugh, ugh. 

Does anyone else feel this way? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to know that I am not the only one that struggles with being a multifaceted human in a world that desires a single brand.

With love, love, love ❤ Cyndel


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