We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Mary Alice, again, has roused me to reply to her blog with a blog myself. I have also used the quote that she used on her blog because this perfectly, I feel, pertains to the issue. This is, obviously, a topic close to my heart.
Yes, identity is difficult as you change through life. One’s roles are always in flux and those Saturn returns (which also happen every seven years or so) are very difficult to go through no matter how diligently we have given ourselves what we needed to grow and stay connected. Change is no respecter of self-awareness; it throws it out the window to start fresh, to change. With motherhood this change is dramatic. The center of the universe shifts from ourselves to our children and it’s difficult to maintain a strong center during this shift and not lose yourself completely. The rhythms that make up a mother’s day can feel like imploding, it is such a closed and constant and personal rhythm.
That is why I started blogging, so that I could connect with others, not just my friends and family, to make friends with a larger world to keep mine open and me open in the only way I knew how within the constraints of being a stay-at-home mom. I think that this is one of the main keys to maintaining equilibrium through the changes of motherhood: doing what you need to do to maintain YOU. And that is the tricky part, making sure that you honor and respect your needs and give yourself what you need to make it through the changes intact.
Your identity will change; you are changed. I think that this is what is particularly brilliant about life: growing. Everything on earth grows and changes and so do we—we are continually called upon to grow as we define ourselves against an ever-changing backdrop that is our life--identity changes because we juxtapose our identity with life, and life is always changing.
You have to know yourself to make it through these changes. Our landscape changes and we are called to ask, what does this new backdrop accentuate in me? How does this change the way I think, feel, and act? How does this new circumstance define me? If you don’t know yourself, you will, you will have to; life necessitates it. Those shifting times when I feel like I am driving in neutral are necessary and uncomfortable. Someone once said that you have to lose yourself to find yourself and it is so true.
These defining identity issues are not unique to parenthood. Becoming a mother is just one set of circumstances that allow you to evolve and change. Evolution of self is not unique to motherhood; identity is unique to selfhood. Motherhood is just one way, one set of circumstances, in which it occurs.
My final thought on the topic is that it is much easier (I find) to get through change if you don’t take it all too seriously--least of all yourself. If life up to this point has taught me anything, it is to not take myself so seriously; to laugh at life and myself and try to go with it as much as possible and enjoy it as much as possible. I try to do this every day as much as I can. Sometimes I fail miserably, and sometimes I am wildly successful, but through it all I am myself and the more I honor that, the easier it gets. I think that there is an inner knowing, a voice inside you that helps—especially when you honor it. And I think that if we listened to it and acted on its wisdom that we would realize that we are, indeed, the one we have been waiting for…that we have been all along. That life has been slowly washing away excess ego to allow our real self to shine through and inspire others to be themselves, too. That it is not only okay, but meant to be.
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