Being a guest-blogger for *THE* Blogstalker is a privilege of which I am honored. I find the entire charade of the anonymity of Blogstalker to be fascinating; a mystery of sorts. I thought what could be more apropos than to write my own post about identity? Thank you, Blogstalker for this opportunity. I hope I do not disappoint your followers. ~Emma
Who AM I? This thought has consumed me on so many occasions, and seems much more prevalent now than in past years. I credit my recent divorce as the catalyst which set in motion this very question as of late. Incidentally, simply writing out the statement, “my recent divorce”, has caused me to realize that my divorce was final 18 months ago. Does being divorced for a year and a half even constitute as “recent” anymore? When will it go from being a “recent divorce” to simply, “divorce”? This question gives way to ponder other questions about the way my mind thinks or the way I act, all which inevitably bring me back to, “Who AM I?”
I recently remarked to a friend on the fact that she and her husband have been married for 34 years and how much they are still in love. She replied, “He defines me.” The more I reflected on her sentiment the more it seemed depressing. I mean, this woman let her husband define who she is. Why can’t she define herself? I wondered. Is she not allowed to be her own person? The more I thought about her, the more I questioned my own identity. Hadn’t I done the same thing, really?
My mother had 7 children in 8 years. I remember when my father took a job driving tour busses for a tour company. Not only did we move into that town to be closer to his job, but we moved 2 doors down. I loved living "in town". We lived a block from Main St., across from the park, the library, the ambulance department, the firehouse, and the Bus Company. This was the town in which my father grew up and the locals knew him. As we moved in and as he reunited with friends, he became known as the bus driver with all of the kids. Being so close to the park and the library and the dime store which sold penny candy, as kids, we were all over town all the time. Everyone knew who we were. Everyone knew we belonged to the Bus Driver. I was the Bus Driver’s Daughter.
Being the Bus Driver’s Daughter was no easy feat. My father was an upstanding citizen. He not only worked long hours to support the family of 9, but he was a member of “Friends of the Library” and was a volunteer EMT, eventually becoming Vice President. Those who knew him never questioned who he was or what he stood for. He passed those values along to his children as well. If any of us ever acted out, he would know because it would have been so out of character that whoever saw it would have reported it to him.
Going off to college was a big deal for me, as I not only went out of state, but across an ocean. I met my husband during my second semester and we dated a short 8 weeks before becoming engaged. I had my doubts and my fears. But he was older and always seemed to know the right thing to say. I went home for the summer to work and then went back to school only 4 weeks before our wedding. We dated a total of 12 weeks. I didn’t really know him, but I was 19 and wanted to believe in love.
Over the next 13 years I had three beautiful children in spite of one toxic marriage. In public, I donned the smiles, the we-are-a-happy-family persona. But behind closed doors I retreated to myself, my room and all too often, my bed. I was lonely and afraid. I did not allow myself close friends for fear that they would come to figure out my deep, dark secrets. I was ashamed for the things I allowed to take place including the behavior against me. Why did I carry his burdens? Because I went from being someone’s child to becoming someone’s wife and someone’s mother, and I lost focus on who I was in the midst.
During the entire divorce process I became great friends with the gals in my neighborhood. One night, one of them said, “I always thought you were shy; but you are just the opposite.” After my divorce, when my father was passing through town, a friend of mine said to him, “Can you believe who she has become since the divorce? She is so full of life and spontaneity! She is so Saucy!” My dad chuckled and said, “This is the daughter I’ve always known.”
I don’t think I realized how lost my marriage made me feel until that moment. And yet that moment was also pivotal in my awareness of feeling lost now. I do not mourn my marriage anymore. I don’t even mourn my divorce. No, I feel lost because I gave someone else permission to define me all of those years; someone who didn’t love me completely. And now that he is gone, who am I?
I think much of the answer to who I am, is more an answer to “who do I want to be?” I get to choose. I am the one writing my story now.
I love the notion that, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.” This adds significance to my plight in determining who I am, as now I desire to figure out who He already knows me to be. It fills me with hope and gives my journey purpose.
Who Am I? I haven’t quite decided yet. But this I know: I will always be someone’s mother, and I am still the Bus Driver’s daughter.
What about YOU? Do you ever feel lost?