I have been mulling over what my word of the year for 2021 was going to be for a few weeks. While the wonderful women around me I know have decided with certainty what they were going to theme their year, I sat there ungrounded and unsure. What if I pick the wrong word? What if my year doesn’t even come close to it? What if, what if, what if? I sat and thought. Then I over thought and then I thought some more. I spent a good chunk of 2020 just thinking. Thinking about how I could protect my family and keep them healthy. Thinking about how I haven’t done anything business related since the end of 2019 after I was asked the very pointed question of, “Who’s going to watch your kids?” after ending a successful event selling my wares. Thinking about how I lacked the support I needed but never bothered to ask because it would be burdensome. A lot of thinking happened. I even have a page, actually several pages, in my old journal with the words “WHO ARE YOU?” in big, bold letters.
Who are you? Can you correctly label yourself? Were you given the option to label yourself or was the label given to you? How would you decide to answer? Can you pin point your multifaceted self? It's such an easy question to ask but the most difficult question to answer.
Who are you? It’s a weird question to ask yourself, isn’t it? I should know who I am. I’ve been me for 36 years. How would I introduce myself to someone new? Hi, I’m Donna. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, colleague, ally, helper. I’m silly, creative, loving, somewhat impatient, hungry for both food and knowledge. I’m crafty and good with my hands. I’m a performer and singer but only for myself. I’m unsure. I am weird. I am unconfident. I am hard on myself. I am often an empty vessel. I am often filled with love and enthusiasm. I am segmented and compartmentalized. I am tired.
I am an unreliable narrator of my own story.
In all of the thinking, I realized, I don’t fully know the answer. The story that I tell people of who I am is a story that I needed to settle with myself. I needed to settle and accept the story to make it palatable for other people. Obviously, I can’t show all sides of me to everyone. Not everyone needs to see every side of me. At some point, however, I wasn't even showing myself all my sides. I don’t know if it was out of necessity. I don’t know if I just felt comfortable playing a role, for example, I’ll play the role of mother. Mothers are basically thrust into the role from day one. I’ll do what a mother should do and say, but I’m not just a mother….right? Right. I don’t know if, at some point, things just chipped away at me or I started planting seeds given to me instead of choosing what seeds I want to plant myself. Disparaging words and definitions can stick around like seeds of weeds that eventually grow thorny and uncomfortable and get embedded in my heart and mind. The thorny vines conceal what’s actually inside. I need to clear the weeds to see what is and see what has been. It’s daunting and I don’t know how to go about it. I don’t know a lot of things.
What I do know, though, is that after I’ve cleared those weeds and removed the definitions and expectations placed on me, I can begin to define myself the way I see fit. I can begin to place pieces back together and see the entirety of who I am. I don’t need to show it all to you but I definitely need to show it all to myself. Both the good and the not so good. I need to become a more reliable narrator of my own story. I need to be a conscientious gardener and sow seeds of plants that I will be happy to reap. So, in 2021, I want to see myself as a whole person. I want to take the time to clear the weeds in my mind and my soul. I want to take the time to sow habits that can help my life blossom into what I hope it can be. I can start off by doing this. Hello, my name is Donna and I am.