Thursday, June 9, 2016

Who Are You?

There often comes a point in motherhood when a woman begins to wonder what her identity is or where it can be found. Between dirty diapers, piles of clothes, and shuttling children from play practice to dance class, it isn't rare to find a tired mother underneath it all, who at some point has asked herself, "Is this really my life?"

That luxury is not solely reserved for wives and mothers though, as I learned yesterday, when a mom-friend of mine posed the question for all of us to answer, "Who are you?"

Instantly I smiled, cracked my knuckles, and prepared to dive into a flood-like response from the depths of my creative being. My wit and sarcasm were sure to garner a few laughs in the process as well.  But sadly, my tap ran dry.

For over twenty-four hours now I have been haunted by this question. And like Derek Zoolander, thrown to the ground and staring at his reflection in a dirty puddle in the street, I find myself wondering, "Who am I?"

As a child I learned pretty young that fairy tales are simply imagination mixed with a bit of magic, nothing more. I never dreamed of being a princess or anything like that. Yet my imagination was fostered well. In my heart, and in my journals, I hid the dreams of what my life would one day be.

I marched to my own beat. And in the security of knowing who I was, and who I would be, I was somehow able to avoid the distractions and voices of doubt around me.

(Photo by Katie Curtin)

Now that little girl is all grown up. The little girl with skinned knees and dollar store goggles is now an adult, with scars and no time, or finances, to swing by the dollar store to grab something random that just screams her name.

Time and life have sucked so much out of me that I look in the mirror, I look at my yard, I look at the mess in my house after 45+ hours of working and ask myself, "Who am I? Is this really my life? Is this really what I have to look forward to for the next X amount of years?"

Certainly I'm more than debt, old shoes, jeans that are barely holding together, weeds, cat fur, dust bunnies, bills, and memories from the past. I mean...right? Maybe? ... Hopefully...

The volumes upon volumes of hopes and dreams that my younger doe-eyed self once held are gone. They aren't even ones that can now be dusted off and reexamined in the light of day. They are ships that simply passed in the night and were never meant to meet.

There is only one left that I hold loosely onto. It doesn't define me, but perhaps someday it will.

Maybe someday, when I'm living alone with my plethora of cats and dogs in a cabin somewhere, it will be the thing that I will be able to say is who I am.

Until then, I journey on. Hoping that maybe someday I will catch a glimpse of that little girl that used to have so many foolish dreams, and she didn't give a crap what anyone else thought of them.

I've reinvented myself in the past. Perhaps I will again. Not today, though. Today I will watch the cottonwood fly through the air like a snowstorm, sing loudly in my car, and maybe go for a walk if it doesn't rain.

Just me and my thoughts.
I guess the only question I have for you is the same one I have for me.

Who are you?

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