I am

I am a child
And I am grown
I am learned
And I am naive
I am organized
And I am frivolous
I am serious
And I am laughing
I am here
I am not
I am me.

Who am I?

Someone asked me, while I was on holidays, whether I was a different person at home.

She suggested that getting away, meeting new people, going to a new country allows you the possibility of reinventing yourself.

I suppose that’s true, If you’re so inclined. Which I’m not. I couldn’t reinvent myself if I tried. Travelling with your family – those who know you best, who know you intimately – also makes it hard, but even on my own I am still me.

I don’t know how to be anyone else.

Have I changed and morphed over the years? Sure. I’ve worked hard at self-improvement. But the heart of who I am remains the same.

The same person, not getting anywhere with her first line of questioning, asked instead what I was like when I was 22. The original me, before marriage and kids and real life had settled in.

22 was a while ago.

22 was just after my dad left.

22 was before I moved to Ireland for 5 years, alone.

22 was before I married, had my son, divorced, re-married.

22 was before I had a real job.

22 was before I had any real responsibilities.

I had barely tumbled out of a childhood which, at the time, I was sure had been horrible, painful and unfortunate. I was angry about all that but I was also out for a good time. Free at last.

I made plans on the fly.

I went out when the feeling struck.

I stayed out as late as I wanted.

I ate standing at the kitchen counter.

I was high on the possibility of disappearing for days and no one knowing I was gone, no one needing to know when I would be back. I did what I wanted and tried to pull my friends along with me but if they weren’t game, I continued on my path anyway. My path to reckless abandon – although in my case, it wasn’t all that reckless. Everything is relative I guess.

I didn’t have to worry about any one else depending on me, not the way a child does, and though I was dependable as a friend and a daughter (I hope), I steered my own course. I did my own thing.

I did enjoy the moments, though, after my dad left when my mom and I were both home together. That was a home I felt comfortable in. No angst, no looming anger. I wasn’t an angel – by far! – but any arguments we had were of the normal parenting variety.

At 22, I was a bit more relaxed about daily life than I am now and a bit more fiery deep down (or maybe it wasn’t so deep…). I had the flexibility to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But otherwise, I was still me.

I still got up on time, I handed in schoolwork on time, I was a responsible pet-owner (an iguana, in case you wondered).

I wrote, I read, I biked, I enjoyed nature, I cooked, I was honest to a fault and equally stubborn, I was energized by my friends and by learning, I enjoyed alone time. Nothing there has changed much; I am me whether I am on vacation, with my family, meeting a friend, or at work.

I remember, too, that at 22 I was searching for an identity, which I was sure I would find in Ireland. And I was right, I did. But I was surprised to find out that my identity wasn’t Irish.

Going to Ireland, I realized just how Canadian I was.

And I became a little more “me.”

Returning to Canada, having my own family, going through divorce, job moves and house moves, and re-marrying and re-building my life has either added on layers of “me” or else has exposed the person at the heart of who I really am.

I’m not sure which; maybe they’re both the same thing. Or maybe it doesn’t matter.

What I have learned is that I am more than all of the disparate things that have combined to make me “me.”

I am the sum of my parts.

Like a complex, interwoven, multicoloured tapestry.

I am a mixed up jumble of things that makes up an identity.

And I am that mix of me every day, all the time, in every situation.




6 thoughts on “I am

  1. So beautiful, this self-examination. Love hearing about you! It is interesting to think about who we were way-back-when. I don’t know, it’s weird, sometimes I wonder how the heck I ever got to where I am today. So legitimate as an adult. Such a mom. A wife. A worker. A do-gooder. I definitely was not like this in my early twenties…maybe hints of it, but like you, a lot more reckless! You wonder sometimes when exactly that turning point of becoming a grown up began. How did I miss that key moment?And I wonder, will my child ever get there? Never! But, they all do, right? Wish I could gather some of that spirit back. But then again, the maturity and wisdom probably looks good on us….I’m rambling, don’t mind me…just glad to have a few moments to catch up on your writing!

    • So great to hear from you – ramble away! You weren’t really rambling, though 🙂 And yes, I don’t know when I became an adult. Sometimes I think, Huh, I’m such a KID, how does anyone take me seriously!? But then as a kid, I was always pretty responsible, as I am now… Now I’m rambling. I don’t know when I became an adult and often wonder if I have become one – that was what I was trying to say!

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