Somehow I have always had trouble identifying with who I am. I'm not quite sure where or when the disconnect happened but believing myself when I said I was something, has been difficult.
Not so very long ago I was a teacher. For a long time I thought being a teacher was some mystical abstract thing. It wasn't until one day while student teaching I stood up in front of a class and thought "I'm teaching, I guess I'm a teacher." That may sound so simple and silly, but It was a really huge moment for me moving forward. Somehow that tiny label was really important. After student teaching, I was struggling to find a teaching job, we were struggling to have children, and I felt stuck in the perpetual, What am I supposed to do now?
I finally did find a job and the same year we were blessed with a baby girl. After a while I actually started to believe that I was not just a teacher, but a decent one. I loved my students, worked hard, and tried to do my best by them. But now I also had a new title. Mother. How in the world do I navigate this? I was overjoyed that after the struggle to become a mother we actually had a teeny tiny baby to love. But there was also something nagging at me, mourning for my previous freedom. More struggle, more navigating, and eventually feeling like I was again doing ok in my new role as well.
What I finally realized is that I have really always been the same person. I just didn't know how to not only label it but, embrace it. Someone much smarter than me told me to write down the things that no one could take from me. It was then that I realized I was so much more than I ever gave myself credit for.
I was a wife.
I believed finally knew that there was more for me than I could even fathom. But of course the because of the eb and flow of life. I soon felt a new pull. One I would try to deny but eventually, give in to. My husband's business was growing and he needed my help at home, and I felt the need to be raising our children. It wouldn't be until 3 years later, with another baby to tend to, that I finally gave, and started my journey as a stay at home mommy.
Again I had a new role to identify with. Though I had a hard time saying it out loud, it was a lot easier this time. I immersed myself in the role and found myself happier for a while. Then once again I felt the wavering. Though I now had a new "I am" statement I felt like I was still, somehow built for more.
I began exploring something I have always loved. Photography. Though at the time I wasn't ready to say that I was a photograph-ER, it allowed me to be at home with my children and also do something that lit a fire for my creative self. I am still navigating and trying to find the balance, but I now see my world so differently. And I AM a photographer, with a continuing journey to get where I want to be.
I realize that there are so many beautiful things that happen on a daily basis. I also understand that though there are certain labels that no one can take from you, there are also those that you can lose in an instant if you don't recognize them and then also continue pursuing them. But I was once again encouraged by a phenomenal photographer to write some things down. It became evident after doing so that not only am I things that are tangible and evident, I am actually the sum of both the seen and the unseen.
An idealist. (I know this is a tough one simply given the world we live in, but I'm finally ok with it)
A lover of community.
A quiet semi-introvert.
I want to also be a person who encourages others to find out who they are and hang on to it tightly. I want my children to know that their individuality is welcomed and celebrated. I want them to see that they have to not only, identify who they are but do it continuously and then also hang on to it. I want them to be able to see the complete story, storms and floundering included, because, as I look back, all the navigating and struggling has been pretty beautiful. We will always come out the other side a bit different, a bit more able to handle the next challenge, and the next label we acquire or choose to create. And I think you will too.