Who Am I?

Who am I?

That's a big question to be asking on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September, but it's the question I'm asking myself right now.

Why am I asking this question?

I was listening to a podcast today, and an idea jumped out at me - that some people live their lives as though it's a dress rehearsal for death.

And that a lot of us are waiting for our lives to start; to get to a point when it all makes sense and we've become the people we're supposed to be so that we can finally start living.

Why did these ideas in particular jump out at me?

Because the things which have been the central focus of my life ALL MY LIFE, suddenly no longer are. And that's what has me asking the question: Who am I?

I realize that my identity has been centred around solving a few key problems in my life:
  • My childhood trauma
  • My relationship with my parents
  • "Fixing" my weight and my issues around food
  • Figuring out my PURPOSE
Suddenly, all at once, none of those things are relevant anymore. Here's why:
  • My childhood trauma
    • I've unpacked the largest suitcases that encompass the baggage around the abuse I suffered. If you've been paying attention (and reading this blog) then you know this is true. While the unpacking of our childhoods never fully ends, I've done the really big stuff: I've looked at the pain from every possible angle and now understand why my parents did what they did and why I felt the way I felt and coped the way I coped. But that intense scrutiny is over now. If I had never touched that baggage, it would behoove me to do so. But I have. And it's time to stop picking the fucking scab so that the wound can truly heal.
  • My relationship with my parents
    • I'm done. I have nothing left to give. I realized recently that neither one of my parents is ever going to take responsibility for what they've done to me because that is beyond their level of emotional maturity and awareness. That's not meant as an insult, it's meant as a statement of fact, and acknowledging this is what had me finally let go of the hope that they were ever going to be anything other than who they are. It was a good feeling, but a strange one - as though I've been holding my breath my entire life in anticipation of the people they might become, and finally, finally realizing that they were never going to change. When I think of them now, all I feel is emptiness; a true sense of "I am done now." I've let go of the idea that the past could have been any different because I understand that they could never have been different. It is what it is.
  • "Fixing" my weight and my issues around food
    • I heard Dr. Phil say many years ago that "Weight is managed, not cured" and he was right. We do not get to a point where we've done all the healthy things we will ever need to do, so that we can finally stop trying. Weight - HEALTH - is a result of our daily decisions accumulated over time. I make good decisions most of the time. I workout more often than not. I generally choose foods that do my body good. Sometimes I don't; usually when I'm trying not to feel my feelings. As long as I feel my feelings, I'm good. If I gain weight, it's not a reason for me to go on a diet, it's a reason to stop and feel my feelings. I've also realized that none of people who truly care about me will love me more or less based on the size of my body. I gained a few pounds post break-up and for the first time in my life, instead of forcing myself to go on a diet, I bought bigger pants. I know that when I start feeling my feelings, the weight will fall off. And frankly, I'm really tired of arguing with my body over the same 10 pounds; I got other shit to do man.
  • Figuring out my PURPOSE
    • I found a quote recently by Martha Beck that says "I exist in perpetual creative response to whatever is present" and that's what I decided my purpose is. It isn't one THING: my purpose is a way of living. It's responding to life in a way that allows flow; a way that means that I participate with curiosity but with detachment from outcome, simply allowing whatever the situation is unfolding as to unfold as it will. It's just doing the next right thing, whatever I feel that to be, and pivoting as required. I'm really good at a lot of things. Maybe - as a result of me existing in creative response to life and doing the next right thing - one or all of those things will take off and become more than the fun pastimes they currently are. But it's ok if they don't. My worth as a human being is not dependent on the tasks I do to earn an income. That's a ludicrous idea when stated that way, but let's be honest, that's what the world tells us everyday.
So those are all great things. There's a lot of space, a lot of freedom, a lot of peace.

But...this afternoon those things had me feeling very uncertain about myself: Who am I now that I'm not trying to fix myself?

I was at the library, and I saw a book about childhood trauma - a NEW book on the express collections rack that was co-authored by none other than Oprah (one of my FAVOURITE people).

I picked it up and skimmed through it. And then I put it back.

My soul said "NO. We're done with this now."

(What did I check-out instead? A French novel about a girl who leaves her marriage to go traveling.)

I realize that this is actually an exciting opportunity - the opportunity to re-invent myself, to decide who I want to be.

But it's also frightening because I'm not sure anymore about who I am and what I'm interested in.

If I'm not reading about trauma, or researching the latest diet trend, or listening to some entrepreneur talk about "hustle" - then what do I do??

I don't know.

I do know that something new will emerge from this space; a new version of me. But that will only happen through trial and error. Trying new things and deciding if those things are where I want to spend my time and energy. I am grateful to have the time and ability to explore my curiosity.

In the meantime, the fact that the ground feels a little shaky under my feet, well, it is what it is. The alternative - staying stuck in old patterns that ultimately prevented me from truly living my life - is no longer an option.

So...onwards and upwards. Always.


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