One of the hardest things that I have been working on for a long time is trying to figure out who I am. I have a chronic sense of feeling like I’ve never known who the person inside of me truly is and it’s a very unsettling feeling. After forty years, I thought I would have some idea, but it’s not evident to me.
I know I love the colour purple. That’s definite and I never question what my favorite color is. But I don’t know much else about what I like or don’t like. I tend to take on the likes and dislikes of people important to me – for example: my husband loves to watch football. Before getting together with him, the only football I had ever watched was when I won free tickets to a game and even though I was more interested in the action going on around me than in the game. But now, I pretend to enjoy the game when it’s on. Why can’t I be comfortable in saying that I really don’t like football? The reason is that I’m afraid my husband won’t love me if I don’t like the same things as him. This has NOTHING to do with him – he could really care less that I don’t like football and he wouldn’t be offended and I tell myself that logically what I’m thinking doesn’t make sense. But emotionally it makes all the sense in the world to me.
When I was hospitalized, they had a session each day in an arts room. I got to try painting, wallet making, wood carving, crocheting, and all sorts of recreational activities. The only thing that I found I truly enjoyed was painting. But since leaving the hospital three years ago, I haven’t been painting….I justify this by saying that I can’t afford the supplies, it’s a waste of time and I’m not very talented at it. And I’ve convinced myself that painting isn’t for me.
I start and stop things like crazy. What starts as something new and fun soon turns into almost an obsession with me and just as quickly I drop it. There’s nothing of myself from my youth that I’ve carried on into my adult life that I enjoyed doing. I tend to devote all my passion into something new and then give it up for no reason.
This constant floating around creates havoc for my mind. I have children, yet often I don’t feel like a mother. I have parents, yet I don’t feel like a daughter. I have a husband, but don’t really see myself as a wife. I think I tend to base my perceptions of what these roles should be like on television or false realities, and I struggle when I don’t perform like people on TV or in books. I never feel like I’m good enough to call myself any of those things and this in turns reduces my self-esteem. It’s like a vicious circle that never ends.
I am working on defining my identity but at the pace I’m going, ill be lucky to figure this out by the time I’m 80. And I’m scared because by then it will be too late. I just want to have a sense of contentment and peace with who I am.