Walking through a lush square in Savannah, Georgia, I saw this sign hanging at the entrance of a church: Be Yourself, Part 2. My friend laughed and said, “What else could you be?”
I’ve thought about that moment many times. It seems so crazy that life can twist and morph us into something so unrecognizable that we need so much help, be it through a workshop or book or therapist or whatever else, to get us back to a simple place of just being. Just being one’s Self.
Once on a flight, a sweet older woman leaned over and said to me, “So, tell me about yourself.”
I didn’t know what to say.
It’s easy to tell people how I spend my time. But these are just the things that make me watch the clock. How I currently identify to the world is this: married, daughter, counselor, college employee, master’s degree in psychology. But somewhere in there, I’ve lost interest. And I feel like I’ve really said nothing.
I’m nice. I’m Southern and, finally, not ashamed of that. Aspiring violin player, guilt-ridden non-believer, news-junkie, wanna-be-health-and-exercise-nut, shy. My most favorite thing that has happened today: while reading on the porch, my husband quietly walked over and kissed the back of my neck.
Things I love: the smell of a fresh newspaper, the way wet grass sticks to my feet in the morning, diesel fumes that remind me of my grandfather’s blue Chevy tractor, the memory of my mother running a vacuum hose up and down her body to get dog hair off her outfit, fresh cilantro.
ONCE, I thought I knew myself. Really, really knew myself. Then, I quit my job and moved across the country. Everything changed. Then, I married my best friend. He helped me see some errrr—quirks. Okay, finally I knew m-e. Then, I found out I had cancer and underwent 20 weeks of chemo, 7 weeks of radiation, and had 2 surgeries. Oh, and the dog died. Angela? Wait, who is that? Then, I got some fancy cowboys and finished my first novel.
There is just so much.
Who am I? What is my identity today? I used to think I could answer that by rattling off my personality traits and tossing in some things about how I spend my time. That’s easy: nice, goofy, music-maker, writer, lover of people. But I’m beginning to see that, for me, the question “Who am I?” is a question for the moment. And in this moment, I’m someone who loves Starbuck’s hibiscus refresher and Geneva Diner’s corned beef hash and feels grateful for the very amazing two people she had the pleasure of spending the morning with. [And I’m someone who is okay with ending a sentence with a preposition!]