“I am not my identity”

Project Description:

Who do you want me to be? Seriously, tell me! It is answer I wanted from someone else for a large part of my life. I’ve spent most of my life looking outside myself for validation, approval, and most of all for someone else to define me. It was clear at an early age any expression of me or who I thought might be me was not ok. So I went inside and entered adulthood insecure about not only myself but the world I lived in. I was an adult seeking to be rescued, validated and had an insatiable longing to be loved. However, I didn’t understand the meaning of love, much less know I had to love myself first to be in relationship with another. In relationships I was accommodating, yet aloof, keeping my own interests, needs, and feelings closely guarded out of fear of rejection. The irony of living this way is the more I wanted to fit in the more I felt I didn’t.

There were glimpses of me as my world expanded with college, which I diligently ignored. I look back at pivotal moments where a nagging inner voice was nudging me another direction, but I silenced it with alcohol, cigarettes, food (controlling & binging), and TV. By the time I was 35 I entered a depression that enveloped me like a black cloud. I clung like a security blanket to the belief there was something outside myself that would brighten my life. Passively waiting for this “thing”, I walked around numb, feeling invisible, unloved and unable to actively participate in life. I felt myself sinking and something inside me fought to stay above water so I sought out self-help books, energy work, and therapy but with the hope one of these would be a magic bullet. I approached these things passively without fully understanding working with the universe is a collaborative relationship. I must show up. I didn’t fully comprehend if my life was going to actually change I had to stop watching it from afar and expecting miracles from those around me. I had to step up, step in, and take the wheel. Today I feel on the edge of something fantastic yet can’t quite step into it. Fear? I am not sure, but every day I make a commitment to be the driver and not the passive observer of my life. It’s hard and some days it’s like a cinderblock is around my ankles and I desire to succumb to slothfulness, but I have faith my restless unsettled soul will continue to battle the ego because the soul will be liberated. So I am not my identity. I am bigger than that and definitely not for someone else to define. How I show up in this world is my full responsibility. Saying yes to this photograph was the first step in shining a light on a defeating pattern that no longer serves a purpose in my life and stepping into my life.