My identity is often linked to something or someone other than myself. Sometimes it makes me feel lost, bitter, sometimes less important than the sum of all my own parts.
- Someone’s daughter
- Someone’s sister
- Someone’s wife
- Someone’s mother
- Someone’s neighbor
- Someone’s friend
Never just Emily.
This weekend I volunteered many hours at The Hare’s home gymnastics meet, spending time with women I had seen but never really met. It was surprising how easily conversations flowed, never once becoming competitive about our children, jobs, or marriages. All the women I met were full of encouragement and personal stories. By the end of the weekend I felt like I had actually made a few new friends. There were no drama-mommas, or stereotypical moms living vicariously through their daughters. It felt welcoming and comfortable.
Throughout the weekend, I was continually referred to as “The Hare’s Mom”. Foolishly it bothered me at first. Wasn’t I proud of the little girl that I am raising? Isn’t she a reflection of myself? Both of my children are articulate, respectful, helpful and generous. They value relationships, have a desire to serve their communities and strive to achieve goals that they have set for themselves. My daughters are a combination of the values that I have shown them and their own personal attributes.
This realization made me think about all the identities I carry.
- Just like my children are a reflection of me, I am of my parents. I believe that the things I like the most about myself were nurtured and instilled in me by my parents. Parenting skills, communication skills, creativity and even my world view are only a few areas they impacted my life. My parents are well liked in their communities and respected by their colleagues or peers. It’s flattering at times to be associated with them.
- My brothers are men of their word. They have never belittled, teased, bullied, or lied to me. I trust them. I respect them. I love them. In fact, I am rather proud of them.
- I am also proud to be DW’s wife. He is one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. I am humbled often by his generosity and ability to care for others unconditionally. His children know they are loved not only by his words, but by his actions. Doesn’t choosing him as a life partner say something about my own character and what I value?
- My children are two of the most precious gifts in my life. They are the reason I get up in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to bed. Everyday I strive to be a better woman to set an example for their futures. So why wouldn’t I want to be referred to as their mom?
- The women I choose as close friends are wonderful, loving wives and mothers. They are goal setters, have strong work ethics, treat others with respect and support their communities. My close friends share many of my same values, and respect the ones we don’t. If I am ashamed to be called their friend, shouldn’t I reconsider why we are friends?
Being referred to as “someone’s” should not make me feel bitter or lost. If anything, it should make me feel complete, wanted. Afterall, it’s symbolic of the life I have chosen and the people I surround myself. If I am embarrassed to be associated with any of the things in my life, then maybe I need to make some changes.
I am correct to believe my identity is the sum of all my parts, I just forget sometimes what all those parts are. It’s a good thing that my identity doesn’t rely solely on my own merits, because there are many days I am less than the person I strive to be.