I recently had a long road trip with an old friend. I say old friend, but we were lovers many years ago and then fell apart at the goal and I married someone else. So did he, or he was already. I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure. But, that’s not why I’m here today. Another question I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer to. He asked me who am I now? That was all it took…
It was one of those many deep conversations we have with old friends. Especially on a road trip or a boat for almost two days with little to do but read and talk; two of my favourite things to do when I’m not riding or playing with the cats or being a mum, of course. At any rate, clearly I am in crisis. I can’t get through a day without one of my joyous panic attacks, or several at a time; change in meds for my stomach, HRT not performing properly? Who knows? We are still working on it, m e and my team of doctors. But when we were trying in our unqualified therapy sessions to reason why I am suffering so badly at the moment (by moment I do mean last few years), I could only come up with what identifies me or who identifies me or what did identify me and who the hell am I now. I know I have asked myself this question a million times, maybe even in a day, but the answers are usually the same.
Now, years after my divorce, no longer Mrs. So and So and unable to have a proper job because of my health and lack of work for so long, I’ve lost that sense of self-worth, of who I am. I don’t know which is worse, letting something or someone define me as a person or knowing that it’s taken me this long to realise I don’t know who I am anymore and how I define myself when I have nobody to help me or a job to give me the stature I once had.
When I was married, he defined me, when I was a Director at my old firm, my job identified me, Mrs. So and So was naturally a strong presence in London Society. When I was in my former job, I had an equally strong presence in London and New York Society because I dealt with high net worth clients and hobnobbing with the best of them. When my children were little, they defined me along with my good job and good husband. I was the mum, the Director, the wife. Now, my kids almost grown, no job to speak of really, and no husband on the horizon, I can’t stop asking that question. Who am I?
This quandary leaves me unsettled and uneasy and I think one of the reasons for feeling like I’m crawling out of my own skin, unable to sleep, relax, smile as much as I used to and surely not laugh so hard that I cry anymore. I am floundering in the great abyss of the depressing scenery surrounding me that is the world. What a world it is right now! With the problems in the US, Brexit looming or not looming, uncertainty with everything. It’s not unusual to question who we are during uncertain times, but come on already. Something has to give, right?
Today I did the laundry, as usual. Folded my fluffy white towels and smelled the smell that I’ve loved since I was a little girl and realised I am still the same me. No, the laundry does not define me, although once I thought of opening a pub/laundromat called Suds and Buds, but that’s another whole story. I am older, maybe less forgiving than I could be with others’ flaws and my own, definitely not really wiser because I still get drawn to the narcissistic type personalities that I thought I had left behind eight years ago. But, I still question where I get my identity or maybe a better question is how do I reclaim it today?
I have to think about it again and again and again. I don’t have an answer. I do really have an answer in the back of my head. It really is that I just need to work and be successful again at whatever it is I do. Some people say I am already working, that I’m an entrepreneur, I don’t see myself that way and certainly there’s not enough money coming in and more going out – an investment in the future they say – the returns will come in a few years. Maybe I don’t like being an entrepreneur; maybe I just want to work for the man, clock in, clock out and know my place. Maybe I want a quick fix; find a rich man, be Mrs. So and So again and enjoy the high life. Maybe I don’t know what the fuck I want and that’s my problem.
I will certainly let you know if I find the answer anytime soon. But, for me, I needed to put words on a page to read it later. So, here it is for me to read and maybe one other person will read it, too, and help me figure out the answer to the almighty question. Or maybe that I loved being Mrs. So and So so much that nothing else compares to that. Ummmm…Nah. I think I just need to put my big girl pants on and realise that it’s still me just without the fanfare and fluff. But I must say I do like a bit of fluff!
Thanks for stopping by.