Identity – who am I?
I’d like to say I’m having and identity crisis. But I’m not. Because I don’t feel like there is a me to have an identity crisis about.
I’m aware that I didn’t blog last week and it’s because I feel like I’m in a bit of a cocoon soup and so I’m not really sure what’s going on.
I usually start a blog knowing where to start at least..I rarely know where they will end, but this one..I hardly know how to start.
I feel like I’m not sure who I am any more. That sounds dramatic, but actually it’s OK (at least at this time of the month it is!). It’s also curious.
I’m watching the waves of hormonally induced feelings and perceptions come and go. One week I am tearful, raging, a little bit paranoid and 9000% sensitive and then the next week I’m back to a self that I recognise more. When I’m in one self, that one feels real and the other one doesn’t and vice versa. So it’s hard to know who the ‘real’ me is as it is changing day by day.
And I also know that the ‘real’ me is the one who is changing day by day, moment by moment.
It makes me aware of the impermanence of the ‘self’; which is what the Buddhists talk about in one way, that everything is impermanent, that we all die. This feels like a little bit of that, but daily.
So the person that I am at work is not the same one as at home. The person who I am with the kids today is not the same one who was with the kids last week. As a partner I am one partner today and was different yesterday. I can’t even tell you what causes the changes, nor can I predict them. Tears come from now where. Fatigue too. And then the rages just erupts over small things and sometimes subsides quickly, but other times boils on.
I’ve been aware of the different lives I’ve lived and the people I was in each life. The me in the South. The me in India. The me in that relationship. The me when mum was alive and another me after she died. The me before kids. The me after kids. The me is this job and another me in that job.
Someone pointed out today, that my sense of identity has come relationally before; either in terms of my relationship to other people ie my mum, my kids, my partners, or in relation to place; Wales, Kent, Madrid.
But at the moment, all that stuff is stable; same job, same partner, same house, same kids, same dogs. This time it is me who is changing rapidly. The only thing I can compare it to is being pregnant when my body changed so fast that it was hard to get my head around it and get used to moving in new ways.
In the early autumn I wrote a blog about how I was pruning myself back, stopping the things I liked doing in order to hibernate for the winter. I looked back on my note book with all the mindmaps of the things I was doing or was interested in doing and I don’t recognise the person who wrote those mind maps. I can not imagine how I ever thought I could do all that or why I wanted to be so busy.
And that is soooo disorientating. I know that I wrote them and yet I am not the same me I was when I wrote them only a couple of months ago. When I pruned back, I fully expected that I would pick things up in spring having allowed them to root more deeply and grow more strongly, but now I’m not so sure.
I’m doing very little. I’ve just iced the Christmas cake and earlier we put up lights. I’m reading for fun. I’m writing for fun. I’m snoozing. I’m reflecting. I’m still doing my yoga and walking and swimming.
But I’m not achieving or striving or pushing or being busy. In fact I’m not doing much at all in that I don’t have much to show for the last few months. Which makes me realise how much I have always defined myself by what I produce and what I do.
So take that all away, all the achieving and doing and producing and another way that I have defined myself falls to the floor.
So if I can’t define myself by all that, nor can I define myself by my relationships and situation which are steady in the face of my changes, then where am I situated, what is my identity?
I am this body, but this body is not the body I had 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or yesterday.
I am my memories, but I remember things differently. When I read old stuff I have written, I recognise the memories but they have changed in shade and hue and sometimes in perspective.
I am my relationships and my job and yet I am not because I change even when they don’t.
I can’t be my achievements as I’m not achieving or producing.
I don’t seem to be able to plan much either so, I have no desire to organise or plan in advance, I don’t want to commit. This too is different.
Even my sense of past is changing. Sometimes the past seems very near; old friends, old scenes. Sometimes the past seems fuzzy, like a film of someone else’s life, someone I know well, but not me.
2 weeks ago pre-period, this loss of a sense of me was terrifying. I felt lost and tearful and really foggy and disorientated and even a bit panicky. What was wrong with me? Where was I? Would I come back?
Now, post-period, I still don’t know who I am or who I will be but now I’m just curiously watching it in an interested and slightly detached way…even with some wry humour.
So dear reader, I don’t have words of wisdom, or answers or even questions. And what I have written here may tomorrow feel irrelevant. But today it does not.
So today, right now. This is who I am, I am fingers on a keyboard attached to a body on a sofa next to the dog, in a house with Christmas lights on, being curious about who I am and if I will ever be anyone again and feeling completely fine with not knowing and also completely fine with the possibility that I may never know who I am again.
But it is weird!
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