Monday, February 4, 2008

"Who are these women? Does anyone know? I don't recognize any of them."

Who am I? How did I get here? How did I become this person?

These are not literal questions. They're rhetorical: I'm not looking for anyone to give me answers. (Yes, that means no smart aleck comments from the peanut gallery!)

It's just that I'm having an existential identity crisis here. It happens from time to time.

I've been and am many women in my life. My identities are varied, but that's not new - every human being wears different hats from time to time. As for me - I'm writer me, sewing me, serious me, funny me, wife me, dog mom me, feminist me, "mormon" me, work me, friend me, sister me, daughter me, etc. etc. etc.

The identity crisis gets more acute and complex when I think about the different literal "mes" I have been. I've had exactly 3 last names in my life. And there are large populations of people who only know me by one of those 3 names. For instance, on my mission, I was "Sister Dubiel" - and that's who I'll always be to those people. For the first 51.6% of my life, I was a Reese. For the next 19.4% of my life, I was a Dubiel. And for the most recent 29% of my life (so far), I have been and am a Fdez. And I will always be. From here on out.

I don't know. It's just a strange thing to think about. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be me. I like me. I think all my "mes" make up one good person.

It's just that sometimes, I wonder about the portions of my identity that others see and define me by. I wonder what they see, what they think they know, and what they really know that maybe I don't know.

Anyway. No conclusive insight here. Just something to think about.

I lied. I can't stop thinking about it.

Evolving and changing is something wonderful in life. I've never been one to dwell on the past. I look forward to the future with perpetual hope and expectant optimism. Being able to become more than we are is one of the sweetest blessings of life, I think.

I'm equally happy with who I am right now. I learned in my early twenties that, in order to survive and enjoy daily life, as much as we must not dwell on the past, we cannot waste away years looking to the future. Life has to be lived today.

OK. So. I'm at peace with me today. I'm also at peace with my future self. Why the identity crisis?

I guess because I feel like I've lost bits and pieces of myself in my past, like some enormous, elaborate puzzle out there in the nebulous. In the evolution of myself, I've lost entire fragments of former selves, for better or worse. Sometimes it feels as if I've gone through life leaving a trail of breadcrumb pieces of myself strewn about for some future self to find its way back to my beginning.

I take a certain comfort in this thought, as unsettled as it makes me to feel like this.

I just know I never want to be like the old woman in Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine", who ultimately relinquishes all her former selves and finally surrenders, saying something like "I'm ninety five. I've always been 95. I've never been any other age" and then dies.

Is it just me? (If so, which one?)

[Title quote is from 13 Going on 30"]

2 comments:

The MomBabe said...

I know I feel like this sometimes. Then when I stop to think about "me" I can't even distinguish where one part stops and another part begins. sigh.

Jen said...

too deep for me tonight! I like the "me" in you so just keep on being that "me". there that is all I have, it has been a long day!! by the way, miss you guys!!

 
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