The favoured question of 20 somethings, mothers, 30 somethings, 40 somethings, divorcees, partners, husbands, wives. Dogs, maybe.
“Who Am I?”
For the last four years, maybe seven years, I have struggled so much with the concept of who I am and what my purpose is. I do tend to blame my middle class catholic schooling for this pre-occupation. Choose subjects on what you like and do well in, become whatever you choose to be, you will only succeed if what you do is based on something you love. That’s a lot of pressure on a teenage kid – finding their “thing” in their teens and making it their career.
My things were: People. Drama. Drama. Drama. I am good at talking to people. I did psychology and struggled like nothing else, became disenfranchised quickly, I dropped drama which had been my crux as I simply didn’t see a career in it… I had a boyfriend who didn’t like me drawing attention to myself, so I stopped.
I became a shell of who I was.
New boy, new faith, started finding that I liked being part of projects bigger than myself, that I was passionate about a lot of things that had been hiding, dormant in myself for years.
Then I had my son.
The thing with unplanned pregnancies and youth is that you do feel judged every step of the way, you cannot keep up with your friends from before as easily and the centre of your life shifts. At 21 I stopped going to clubs, having crazy late nights, stopped being spontaneous.
There’s a part of me that died when I gave birth to the new life that is my son.
Motherhood in a lot of ways hasn’t sat easily on my shoulders, but motherhood is also one of the most important aspect to my life. I am responsible for guiding this little person into adulthood and into himself. In time, I have come to realise that my son is a gift – sometimes the gift of being a live in zen teacher, but a gift nonetheless. I am fortunate to be a mother. I am fortunate to be HIS mother.
So motherhood is at the core of my being. But there is more to me… and that’s what I have struggled with.
My delicious friends who have chosen to stay by my side while I muck this out (and you know who you are) are absolute saints, as I have been in a record groove for a while.
I was discussing the project with one of them recently and I paused between words and she said “…but you can’t until you know yourself, right?”
Me “But I know who I am”
And I do. For the first time in my 20’s.
I am me.
I don’t fit into a mould. There is not one single term that encompasses who I am – I am mother, yes, partner, yes, daughter, friend, lover, soul mate, god mother and all those things.
I am strong. I have weaknesses
I fall. I get up again. Sometimes it takes longer than other times.
I am not perfect. If I try to limit myself to being perfect, then I am not going to fail. I will not learn.
My aim in this life is super simple: I want to leave my corner of the universe better than how it was before. How to do this, for me, is with grace. Smiles, thank-yous, eye contact, listening, remembering, sharing, giving and taking. Being a good person. That’s all I want to do.
Seven years of agonizing for something so simple.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how I consider myself (truly).
I just am.
And that’s enough for the moment.