Who I am

Who am I? It’s a question that I started asking in earnest only a short time ago, and it seems like an endless process. It started with trying to figure out where I felt the most like me, the most at peace, the most beautiful. Little pieces came together slowly, separating who I am from who I was told to be. Some pieces were rather easy. I knew that I loved to read good books, that I love to write, that I enjoy messing around in the kitchen. But other peices felt mysterious to me, like looking in the mirror at a stranger.

Who was that person?

For a long time, I believed that question was wrong. That it didn’t matter who I was, it mattered who God was, and my only purpose in lifewas to serve him and love him above all else. In my understanding, that meant being a godly wife and mother, doing anything else was much less important, or even “selfish.”

Even though I have 4 children aged 5 and under, and often find myself overwhelmed by the amount of needs and just how badly I want to be there for all of my children, I still have that pull to keep having babies. It’s as if it will somehow make me valuable. If I am just pregnant, then even if I fail in every other area at least I’d be making a baby! And yet, I value my babies too much to turn them into my perpetual security blanket. My children will never understand their value and worth if I make their existence about their mother’s value and worth. So I continue my quest to learn who I am, and what makes me, me.

So over a year ago, I pulled out my old journals and read through the early entries, the ones where I dreamed of being an ice skater or a lawyer or a politician. The pages I wrote before I realized that girls weren’t supposed to dream of anything but a home with a husband and babies. Were those old dreams still part of me? I didn’t know anymore.
It felt so awkward to be me. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. At first it was an endless circle of doubt. Is such and such really me? Did I really feel that way? Did I really want that? But as I started the simple process of actually saying yes to things that I wanted to say yes too, and no to the things I didn’t want to do, slowly I began to find peaceful moments.

They happened when I was rolling around in the grass, playing with my kids, when I pumped my legs to swing higher on the swing at the playground, my hair going crazy in the wind. The moments happened when I gave myself permission to have a style that felt comfortable for me, even if that meant wearing pants to church instead of a lady like skirt, or cutting my hair short even though “it would make my face look fat”. When my muscles ached, I had dirt under my nails or flour up to my elbows, I felt confident. When I had no place to go and lay in my lovers arms, I felt peace. I’ve begun to believe that I don’t have to be perfect, I am good enough.

Slowly, Melissa is taking shape. When I am in the moment instead of worrying, when I am living life accepting it as is, when I am present and engaged and getting messy instead of doubtful and reserved, that’s when I feel most ALIVE and beautiful.

Asking who I am is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Even though I am finally starting to have this new confidence, I have one area that still triggers that circle of doubt, (and like I said here, I think it will get better once I’ve actually taken the dive and gotten started) that would be school.

I know I want to go to school, but for what? Do I get a GED first? Or try to make up a high school transcript to enroll in college courses? I wonder if I should get on track to study for a career like being a Doctor or a Counselor or Social Worker? I love the idea of helping people, and humanity fascinates me. Or maybe it would be better to take a bunch of random classes to figure out what floats my boat. I love to research, maybe I could be a Scientist or a Teacher.

My doubts about my abilities to perform well in school, and my artistic side sometimes make me wonder if I am just getting distracted by the idea of school? Maybe who I am is more of a free spirit, an Artist-Musician-Writer sort of person who never really makes any money but revels in the artistic things they love. I question my motives. Maybe I only think I am interested in school because I wasn’t allowed to go and I feel like I have to prove something, except I am pretty sure that neither of those are entirely true, because the thought of not going to school makes me feel sad.

Maybe I could try a career that takes less school time and more hands on training, like a Massage therapy, that’s helping people, and I could have flexible hours. Or maybe an on the job training to be a Mechanic, machines are fascinating, and I’ve always wanted to know what is going on under the hood of my car.

And then there is my ongoing interest in food. The way I love serving something I’ve made, how I love to invent new recipes or try new things. How even though I don’t want to be cliché and choose one of the few things I was able to try as a woman in the quiverfull patriarchal movement, I find myself watching shows from the Food network and getting completely sucked in despite myself.

*Sigh*

Regardlessof all the questions, and the unkown future, there are two things that are becoming clear.

One: You probably can’t be an Artist, Mechanic, Doctor, Teacher, Social Worker, Counselor, Coffee shop/Bakery Owner, Writer, Chef, Massage Therapist/Esthetician, Librarian all rolled into one.

Two: As a person who used to describe herself with words like “stupid,” “lazy,” “hopeless” and “worthless” I am finally begining to see who I am. I am finally learning to accept and love the things that make me, “Me.”

I am:
A gentle parent
A loving spouse
A feminist
A writer
A sister
An advocate
A researcher
A community person
Contemplative
Queer
Compassionate
Creative
Passionate
Happy

Finally Heard? The Duggar Aftermath
Butch, Femme, Style, and Developing a Sense of Self
Life and Choice: Why Abortion Isn't What I Thought It Was
Fundamentalist Approved Feminist Literature

CLOSE | X

HIDE | X