This is me, whatever me means.
Before, I used to think we were all unique, special, wanted, planned, created to the do the one thing that no one else on Earth could do. But now, it feels like I've lost all the words I used to speak to share my meness. Or, at least, I've lost enough of them to throw all the rest into doubt.
I used to be married, and now I'm not. If I'm not a wife, then what am I? Still mother, yes, but how can one be mother without being wife? And if I distance myself from the label wife, what claim do I have to the label Catholic, when that church so strongly opposes the breaking of the marriage vows for any reason?
I'm having an identity crisis.
And yet, I'm still me.
I make photographs that sometimes other people want to hang on their walls. I write stories that other people read because we women all carry the same burdens and it's nice to know we don't struggle alone or in vain. I paint my house blue because it reminds me of the deep-breathe bigness of the sea or the sky. I read voraciously because I'm desperate to know all the stories of people everywhere. I like to walk in silence through the woods and I like to look at caterpillars with my kids and I like the heavy, silky texture of wet clay on my hands. I plant flowers then forget to water them. I always order fajitas at Mexican restaurants and I clean when I'm stressed. You can tell who I'm thinking about by the song I'm singing. Cloudy days make me sad.
I'm still me.
But I find myself giving up things I used to love, as if I need to reinvent myself, become someone new. I find myself questioning how much of what I think of as me is really someone else's expectation of who I should be.
I want to let go and I want to hold tight and that's a thing I'm really having to work through. What if I let go of too much and lose myself in the process? What if I hold on too tight and never discover myself?
It's scary, this whole starting over business, but letting go feels like the right thing to do.