Sometime between the birth of my first and only child three years ago and the creation of this blog, I realized that I had been struggling to find myself. I hadn’t felt like “me” in a very long time and while
I yearned to feel like the “old” me, try as I might I just couldn’t find her.
You see, as the major roles in my life have changed so have I.
I started as individual me and eventually became married me.
While the major components of my personality stayed pretty much the same in this transition, a few trace elements of my “self” were changed. Mostly, for the better. When I changed careers from a multitude of jobs in the music business to becoming a middle school teacher, many roles in my life were drastically changed. No more beer at lunch? Ha! The least of my worries.
After becoming a mother, any shred of the old me was left in the dust. My new self was in survival mode, trying merely to get by. There was no “me time” in the equation. Not for a lack of wanting it, but because as a full time working mama, the sacrifice I made to be the best mother I could be was to sacrifice myself. I know now that this was an error on my part, but I didn’t have anyone to help me out. Oh, there were plenty of people to throw me a line like, “You HAVE to take time for YOURSELF!” But, VERY FEW people threw me a line that was attached to a life preserver… And, for the record, time for yourself as a new mother should come in regular, predictable, planned doses. These occurrences should (in my honest yet humble opinion) be in the mother’s best interest and according to her availability. Don’t expect or ask a new mother to get up an hour earlier to work out at the gym. Don’t expect her to give up the SACRED sleep (that can be all too elusive) to do anything. Don’t expect a new mother to want to do anything other than stare at the wall or lie in the bathtub, for that matter. Phew! Now that I’ve gotten THAT off my chest… Where was I?
So, between marriage, a major career change and motherhood, my life changed drastically between 2006 and 2010 and I never really allowed myself to pause and appreciate the changes. One day I simply woke up and felt like something was amiss… Because it was.
Although, I am pretty liberal in my beliefs I found myself becoming as (on the outside ONLY) conservative as the district that I was employed by. One day this startled me as a co-worker shrieked in terror, “You have a tattoo?! I had NO idea!” I was in more shock than her, I promise you. It occurred to me that I had been working in the same building for seven years and very few people really knew who I was! Wait. Who I WAS. I thought to myself, “Who AM I?” I repeated this question to my closest friends, my dearest relatives and my sweet endearing husband hoping to hear something close to enlightenment. Mostly everyone laughed and passed it off as if it was a silly thought, “You’re YOU, duh!” I secretly grieved over this feeling of losing myself. It started weighing very heavily on my heart and eventually led me to seek out a counselor who could assist me in finding that girl I had once been.
So there I sat, across from my counselor (coincidentally I HAD to seek one out for my master’s program in counseling, so it was pretty timely that I had an issue… But then again, don’t we always have SOMETHING to unload?). We were pondering a question and there was a lengthy pause in the conversation. The question he had asked me was, “If you could sit across from the old you, what would you want to ask yourself?” I opened my mouth to speak and realized that I had nothin’! I came up dry. “There’s nothing that I want to know from THAT me,” I said. “I know her inside and out.”
He asked, “Then why do you want to get back to being THAT you?”
And that was the moment that it hit me… “There is no more THAT me. THAT version of me doesn’t exist anymore. I couldn’t be THAT me in THIS life. It wouldn’t work.” And it was true.
While I look fondly back upon the vivacious, adventurous and strong spirited former self that was once me I have since then become something different, and in a sense something “more.”
His last question that day was, “So what do you do now?”
Now… NOW I figure out who I WANT to be. Above all else, I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. For my son and for my husband (who hasn’t given up on me in all my manic soul searching) but really this is for me.
Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming, and somewhat terrifying to be honest. But, hey, it’s a start.