Monday, February 18, 2008
I'm Closing In On It
My new self-definition, that is, because I know you've been waiting with baited breath. (insert eyeroll here) But the thing is, I've been waiting.
I thought I knew that I didn't want to live in the midwest. But when I got in my car to leave my marriage, I could have pointed it in any direction at all. I chose to come back to DeKalb, and no one was more surprised than me. But it was exactly the right thing to do.
I thought I was engaging with the world as someone's partner. Not so much with that. For years, I defined myself as a mother first. And those little boneheads grew up and don't need me any more ;)
So if I'm not anyone's partner and I'm not a displaced southerner and my mothering tasks are limited (and really primarily social calls), who the heck AM I? It was starting to get a little unnerving.
It's coming back to me. The other thing (AN other thing) that I am is social-justice-girl. I lost her for a little while, but she's coming back. Gandhi was right. (No, duh!) "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Which sounds a little self-serving, as though I'm equating myself to Gandhi and my work to some sacrificial Mother-Theresa-like calling that I have.
Quite the contrary. These people are saving me. I've always said to students that we get the clients we need. It might be the client who pushes your buttons, forcing you to learn patience and self-restraint. It might be the client who tries to belittle you and your skills, so that you learn confidence and power. It might be that you've only worked with women, so you get a male client who forces you to re-examine power from a different angle. Whatever. You get the one you need.
It's so much more than that. I wasn't in danger of dying; please don't think that. But vital parts of me were about to be lost. Instead, I have clients who assume I'm competent (the poor misguided dears), so I am. I get clients who are way too busy with their own troubles to care a whit about mine. I get clients who see me as privileged and wealthy and connected -if they think about me at all. It puts things nicely in perspective.
There is still more of me that needs to be developed and rounded out. There's the person who wants to travel on my own terms. There's the person who wants to have a home with a certain kind of feeling. There's the person who wants to have a certain kind of spiritual life. And by God, I'm going to get this yoga posture
before it's all over, and my abs are going to look like hers, too, while I'm about it. I'm going to bike the way I want to bike, and not think of that as "less than". There is much to do. But I've reclaimed, with a lot of help from my friends, another part of my self-definition.