I am who I choose to be. Lovely, sweet, happy, petty, bitter, vengeful….I have often been defined by an emotion, consumed by them. However there is more to me than purely unadulterated id. Who I am now is defined by the sum of my choices, all the choices that I have made in 30 years have brought me here, to today.
Looking back I have had bitter moments of regret, asking myself “Why?? Why did I do that, or allow that to happen to me?” I think this is where that clichéd question of self-discovery comes into play. Those moments are where I have asked myself: Who am I?
I feel like many people, women in particular, and especially women who have gone through some horrendous relationships or experiences and come out the other end of that dark time feeling bewildered and destitute, ask themselves “Who am I?” and they never really know how to go about finding that out. It’s like the proverbial carrot on a stick; the reward is always in front of you but how do you reach it? How do you even know if you have reached it? How in the heck do you find out who you are and what does it feel like when you do know who you are? It seems to me that this topic only invites more questions, and hardly ever answers. At least, hardly ever answers that really and truly feel like answers.
Because I can play this game:
Who am I? I am the waterpig
Who am I? I am a mother
Who am I? I am a mammal, a human, a member of the species Homo sapiens
Who am I? I am a daughter
Who am I? I am the creation of God
And so on and so forth…There’s thousands of labels, adjectives, or nouns I could use to describe myself and none of them really feel like answers. They’re just micro labels. Where’s the macro?
One thing I’ve learned so far is that discovering “who you are” is always a work in progress. It’s the journey of your entire life. If who we are is defined by the sum of our choices – well every day we make new choices so that sum grows larger and larger, it changes and evolves.
I know what I want more than I knew one year ago. I don’t fully know, but I have a better idea than I did. I know some things which I will not settle for (anymore). When I want to feel a certain way, appreciated for example, I have a better grasp on understanding what I need to feel appreciated. Or loved. Or understood. Or happy. Or stable. Or peaceful. Or whatever. I think that is definitely progress from last year. I’m defining my boundaries, I’m learning to protect myself and when to pay attention to red flags. I’m learning how to trust responsibly and how to balance my emotions instead of be ruled by them. I think this last year has been the busiest year of my life and a great kick-off into my thirties. It’s hard to know yourself when you are younger, you haven’t had the experiences in life yet that mold you; you haven’t had the opportunity yet to make some of life’s big decisions that change you. I was upset last year at “not knowing who I was.” But I was still too young I guess.
Now I’m an old lady. I turned 30 just a few weeks ago and I was horribly depressed about it. I cried and thought to myself that I was supposed to BE somebody by the time I was 30. I was supposed to have accomplished some thing by the time I was 30. I felt like I just hadn’t made it yet, and I didn’t even know what “made it” would feel like but I knew it wasn’t supposed to be how I felt right then. Here I am today, and I’m not thrilled about wrinkles but that’s just life. However I’m not depressed about being 30 either. You only learn good judgement by exercising bad judgement so I’m happy to say that I have developed enough good judgement to hopefully increase the development of good judgement later. I do know who I am, more than I did last year and enough to know that it’s all my choice. That’s pretty empowering.
I feel good about last year and the year to come. I feel peaceful about my journey even though sometimes it is rocky and painful. I may regret some of my choices but I don’t think I’d actually change any of them. I would like to take back the hurt I have caused others, but that’s it. I wouldn’t even take back the hurt I’ve caused myself. All those bumped knees, bruised egos, and broken hearts have taught me something. I know that Love redeems all my choices. Love redeems who I am so that I can be more than the sum of my choices. Every day I wake up I get to start over, and I get a little smarter, and discover a little more me along the way.