Today I am this. Yesterday I was that. Tomorrow … I’ll be something else.
Ahhh .. it’s a crazy-beautiful relief to drop the need for an identity. At first it went against everything I’d ever striven for – wasn’t that life? Finding WHO you are? Knowing yourself and grounding yourself in that knowledge? I remember university campaigns with these big posters yelling ‘who will YOU be?’ like freaking Uncle Sam. I think they even used that image. No wonder we’re all so damn afraid.
I’ve recently found that all of those convictions of ‘self’ that I held were only bringing suffering to my life. For how many days have I spent trying to latch myself onto a definition, then continuing forward by limiting myself to its confines? Far, far too many.
That kind of thought takes from you what you need in the moment, and constantly brings you up against the most devastating of conclusions …. What if I’m not enough? If I can’t win the scholarship, if I lose my identity as ‘the English major’ then … nothing. If that’s all I’ve defined myself to be, one simple failure shatters my glass walls I’d forgotten how to live without. Even if I said was to pin my identity on motherhood, what happens when the kids leave home and there’s all this space you cannot fill? What happens when you’re so tired you’re dropping dishes and growling and your heart screams ‘GIVE ME A BREAK!’ ? I’ll tell you what happens – you fall apart. Because for so long you had told yourself that a good mother does this and this and this …. And if you don’t keep doing it, you’re not worthy of that title. You have lost yourself.
But you know what? I encourage anyone out there to lose themselves. Strip it off. Be fluid. Be who it is that serves you best, then observe as the needs change and you shift the boundaries. We are not one thing. Yoga is gradually teaching me (gradually being the operative word here) that opening to the world means feeling the fear and letting yourself undress before all expectations – embrace vulnerability and embrace not knowing. The most ludicrous thing is the expectation I see so often in the world that we not only need to know who we are right now, but we also need to know who we are planning to be in the future. So we are ‘expected’ to lock down, not only all of our precious, present moments to a boxed up form of self, but also lock down our future potential to some lofty idea of ‘should be’. That’s plain criminal. One should never feel the need to rob from themselves the beauty of not knowing. The potential lightness and magic of change. The liberating gift of a blank canvas.
I recently had a conversation with someone dear to me about spending time alone. If I look at my life, most of which has been spent inside these little ‘definition boxes’ I’ve just condemned, at surface glance I’ve hardly spent any time on my own. I went from daughter, to teen-lover, to one-nighters, to ten years of commitment and two children … to my current relationship. All without substantial pauses. But I knew there was something missing from that picture the first time I thought about it, and now I know what it is.
I’ve been alone.
I made myself alone – because all of those identity’s I exhausted my body and soul creating, all those confines I gave myself …. One day they began to crumble. And it was like a small death. I died on some level – so harsh and deep were the convictions I would not be worth life without the titles. I stayed in a relationship without love because it allowed me to keep some semblance of surface deep images, keep them floating past the eyes of others, and in turn keep them away. I stayed in a place I felt so small, so alone and so torn apart, because I had HAD to hide. There was no coming back from the loss. I had to just get through the days, willing myself enough courage to escape. That courage never came, and god, I’m thankful for that now.
I’ve been alone.
I stood alone with myself and held my first born. I loved him and I loved how much his father loved him. But I stood alone. I had shredding, persisting guilt like a knife to my throat some days ‘you don’t love him enough.’ – it was an awful, powerful, depressing voice that robbed me of many days I could have spent with joy. I didn’t know how to enter the motherhood tank, I swam instead on the outer edges, too afraid I’d drown in there.
I’ve been alone.
One day I had enough. I knew – somewhere deep and inaccessible; hidden behind layers of overgrowth – that I was done with being something. I wanted to be free. I wanted to feel passion and love like a child – I wanted to run and crave and I wanted to love and I wanted to be present with my children, so they could find freedom too.
I’ve been alone, and this point in my life is about connection. More than that … I’ve found that one can move out of the small apartment with many locked doors, to an open plan life – full of integration, but with enough space to move, feel, think and grow. Love lives there.
I thank yoga for giving me expression. I thank my family and dear friends for allowing me to change without judgement. I thank the universe for showing me that I am not a thing or a state of mind or a job or a feeling. I’m none of that and all of that and will be something else.
Today I am this. Yesterday I was that. Tomorrow … I don’t know what I’ll be. Maybe I’ll be sad and crave a definition. Maybe I’ll find joy and open my arms above my head. Maybe I’ll be something in between. But I’ll be. I’ll be here. And that is always, always, always Enough.
I’m a person, Not a Concept. (Lo Fang)
Sian Alexia ( or something like that)