What kind of a question is that, I wonder, even sneer at? Aren’t we all the sum products of our frame of reference—from where we came, who are parents are, where our family name originated, what our ancestors fought for? Then much, if not all, of our lives-- and who I am-- has been predetermined. I certainly think not since I am a firm believer in free will and the power we have in the choices we make.
Still, there are so many obvious answers to what my identity is: On the surface, I am a woman, now wife and mother—categorized by the Census as a “Caucasian Female.” To the onlooker, and to myself, I have a physical persona that continuously changes and ages on the outside. The tasks and social forums that I participate are, in part, dictated by my position in life and that of my husband, children and extended family.
I also ponder the changes going on inside my brain, heart and soul? My emotional side of ups and downs and in-betweens must also define me, right? I certainly can’t exclude my spiritual growth or the struggles I have shared and turned-over to God, often questioning my belief system countless times—and still struggle with my faith? How apparent are they to me and to others. This is hard to measure and quantify.
But it is my hope that like a vacuum, I am inhaling beautifully magical moments and finding all sorts of extraordinary in what we define as ordinary; I also harbor sadness from those painful life experiences, trying to bury them deep down under, until they rear their thorny heads and prick at my skin and I react, often taking my anger out on someone or something else. I, like you, pick myself up each day, scouring the earth, and exhale as much of the impurities that have accrued. I know for sure some dust and dirt have settled and will remain in the crevices of my interior, again, surfacing at the most inopportune times in life.
If I do have only one life to live, then to define it seems to be almost inexplicable, almost painful because no one thing can ever define anyone who wants to live forever and do so much and so many things, as I do. Sometimes I wake and tear thinking that time may run out, and I wouldn’t have checked off all my dreams on the infamous “bucket list.” And will I die in utter sadness with the cloud of death raising me up to the heavens above? Dam, “NO,” I protest!
So, to answer this question, I must simply start by saying I am a good person who would genuinely like me as her friend. I need to be a best friend to myself more than I have been. I am a woman who never imagined the indescribable bond I felt the moment I first held my boys, my joys when they were born. It was the biggest shock to this career-driven lady to yearn to become a stay-at-home mom to raise her most valuable of all long-term investments—although my older son, now growing into his teens, is like a sharp fingernail scratching a blackboard in my ear, countering everything I say. My children helped me re-discover my passion to write about my most prized possession: them. The end result is the birth of my first book: MommyBest: 13 Inspirational Lessons Derek & Dylan’s Mom (and maybe yours) Never Learned in School. So along with the birth of a mother, came the birth of an Author.
So, in addition to being a good person, Mommy and author who else am I? I am a wife, but have never been comfortable with the subservient role that women have been placed in and have often found myself defending our rights of equality at all levels—except with regard to certain physical limitations. To that end, my husband would definitely say that I have been challenge and a pain in the ass at times. To which, I reply, “a good pain in the ass”—who has always been honest and held much integrity with the expectation of getting all back in return.
I am also an identical twin and would be remiss not to include my “better half” in defining myself. Today, for example, I had to get a shot of cortisone in my knee; my twin, states away from me, texted at least 15 times to find out if I was “okay” and offered support, as no one else had. We’ve gone from diapers to changing our own kids’ diapers together, so it doesn’t get much closer than that.
At the end of the day, we all have roles to play. We can assign titles to everything that we do. But, it’s the little quiet genuine gestures which make us “superhuman.” One of my proudest moments in life happened during a graduate writing class I took: A harried, black woman entered the class, obviously shaken as she shared she came from her brother’s funeral. The teacher repeatedly told her she couldn’t stay in class because she forgot her notebook. The woman pleaded, almost cried as over a hundred classmates watched in complete SILENCE. I stood-up, walked to the teacher and whispered in her ear that I would give her some of my paper and a pencil. The teacher still insisted this woman had to go to the office and get a notebook. I took the woman’s arm and escorted her to the office and tried to comfort her.
At the end of the class, she told me that no one has ever done something as kind as I did. I have heard this statement a few times in my lifeJ. On a side note, the teacher was so mean to me the remainder of the class. Even the other members of the class agreed. But they didn’t stick up for me eitherL
As always, a great, thoughtful post. I love your writing : )ReplyDelete
I relate to you search for who you are. Who are any of us, except human beings struggling to discover what is real and who are genuine people--sometimes those closest to us hurt us the most.ReplyDelete