Friday, November 11, 2011


     We have a choice about the way we identify ourselves to others. It's up to us what we emphasize about our life experience. We can be workers first and foremost, or parents, or children, or expressive about our passions or our fears. We can be victims of all of our historical hardship, or victims by association. There's a certain creative license in the way we describe ourselves.
     I am a Personal Trainer, a Massage Therapist, a lover of life and nature, a writer, an athlete, a mother of seventeen year old twins, and married to a real-by-God cowboy. I am earthy, creative, the youngest in my family, well-educated, intellectual, and from a privileged background... but I am also unreasonably afraid of snakes, in recovery, over-apologetic, co-dependent, the daughter of an alcoholic, the survivor of abusive relationships, the sister of a mentally ill and suicidal woman, and the ex-wife of an essentially homeless and dysfunctional man. I can choose the spin I like.
     Do I seek pity with my labels, or is my purpose to spread a bit of joy? Do I want to appear strong, or weak, or completely average? Do I want people to be impressed with me? Or afraid of me? Or jealous? What message am I sending into the world by the way I define myself to others? It's worth considering.
     It seems to me that our life experience is our "story," but not really who we are. Who we are has more to do with our character than the things we have survived. If we throw our traumas before us when we meet people, we may miss an opportunity to be helpful down the line. If we introduce ourselves with our names only, and allow our energy to speak for itself, then we allow others the opportunity to get to know us as we are, free from our scars. And then over time, as our relationship evolves, we can slowly share a bit of our past. We are all survivors of something. It seems great strength to me when I learn that someone I like and respect has been through something horrific and does not lead with it, does not let it define them. They take it in stride and that gives me permission to take my stuff in stride too, and realize that life is life. I am alive, first and foremost, in this day. I have a fresh start. I am not a victim or a survivor today. I am simply here, and ready to experience whatever comes. I needn't weigh the day or my spirit down with hurts and definitions from the past.

I am bigger than my history and bigger than my wounds and suffering. Every day I have a fresh start and I am swept clean. I can live free from the definitions of my past.