My thought is there comes some point in each person’s life where they want to re-invent themselves. It may be when the status quo simply doesn’t work for you anymore. Usually, it comes on the heels of a major change in life. For many of us it comes with the change of a relationship or a change in work or health status.
I’ve never had a clear definition of who I am. When you start out in life refereeing parental fights from the time you could stand, to changing, feeding and disciplining your siblings as they came along, the definition of who you are is laid out for you. That was my definition of myself for more than 45 years. Then the care giving shifted to aging parents and as always, the spouse.
Now the parents, children and spouses no longer need care giving . So that leaves me in a quandary. Who am I without those roles? I never had the time or opportunity to make plans for this situation. I also never expected to be so debilitated by Bells Palsy that I would need my children’s help at this early age. This isn’t how I expected life to go.
While in high school, I finished cosmetology school and eventually got a license. My parents were convinced I wasn’t college material because of my vision limitations. Hairdressing just needed a strong body. Never mind that I didn’t have passion or real aptitude for it. I was a good student and my mother never paid for a haircut again. But my first husband found it humiliating to be married to a hairdresser so I was not allowed the money to renew my license or to work in that field. Don’t you just long for the good old days.
At some point when my children were young, I went to the adult school to study typing and shorthand while they were in school. I was adequate but not excellent. At the end of the course, I could not lift my right arm. Shorthand was not physically possible for me to produce. Wow! How can you not be able to take shorthand? Next I studied color consulting and I definitely had passion for that. I could help people reflect their own personality with colors and styles that suited them individually. Unfortunately I had no self-confidence. I couldn’t sell myself to people for something I believed in so deeply. After moving to a remote location where there was no shopping and few cared about their own self-expression through style, I let that dream go. It still creeps in when I’m in a store and see someone try on something that either looks hideous on them or would be stunning should they choose it. Along with the dream of happily ever after, all my dreams and definitions of who I am vanished into the ethers.
So now what do I do? I do not want to be defined by this debilitating illness of Bells Palsy. I still get the comments from strangers that “it goes away pretty quickly doesn’t it”. I’m thinking 26 months and counting isn’t quickly.
So how does one come up with a new identity? Who do I want to be? What a rare opportunity I have. Lots of questions, only a few answers. I went shopping one day with my daughter and saw a dress that reflected part of the person I see in my mind’s eye. Now, I don’t wear dresses anymore. I usually work too hard for dresses and I have to wear sensible shoes that just don’t look good with dresses. But the style helped let me see part of who I want to become. So what needs to change? I cut my hair after my first divorce and am looking for a new style once again. Now I need something low-cost to maintain. Pigtails under a brim hat would be an interesting look for a woman of advanced age, wouldn’t it?
I’ve read every self-help book out there and they all say go back to the happy place when you were a kid. Well folks, I was never a kid. I’m learning to become one. I bought myself toys to play with like sewing machines, computers, a droid cellphone and lots of fabric and craft supplies. They were an experiment to see what felt good. Music was something I found later in life as well. I’m the appreciator of music, not the producer.
A new identity requires more than new looks. It may require an attitude adjustment. What kind of attitude do I want to have? I have always wanted to be perceived as friendly with a good sense of humor. Somehow, only droll comes through.Here is where I’d insert a smiley face if I could. I think I inherited my mothers dry German humor. In my heart I feel quite witty.
Life with all it’s turns and tumbles shape us. I’m hoping it made me softer and kinder. How does one become the person they want the world to see? How does one find that person that is only in their imagination? Where is that person that doesn’t need a cane to walk and drives a car with a real smile on their face. I’m open to suggestions.
From my heart to yours,