Sunday, February 21, 2016
This occurred to me tonight as I was in a hot bath, reading the book Anybody Any Minute which I checked out from the library recently.
The story is about a woman who impulsively buys an old farmhouse and spends the summer there (without her husband).
It is really about her trying to find herself.
Anyway, as I was reading it tonight she was sitting in her porch swing and she realizes that she has no identity.
A few pages later a new friend tells her "....you don't know what you're doing anymore."
Both of those rang so true to me that I had to close the book and set it aside.
I settled back in the hot water and thought, "Who am I? What am I doing?"
I tried to identify myself, but found that I could only identify myself through my relationships with others.
See, I am a submissive personality. All my life I have been afraid of making people angry or "getting into trouble," or of being shamed and having people laugh at me. This has resulted in my trying to disappear for most of my life. I have succeeded in making myself into such a faceless, unimportant player in my own life that I can be replaced by almost anyone. Like an extra on a movie set.
Who am I? I am nobody except the person/people/place I am currently around.
But maybe, just maybe, this lack of a true self, is at the root of my emotional problems.
Surely this unyielding depression, this huge hollow empty feeling in the core of my soul is due to the fact that I don't have any CENTER so to speak.
See, I went from being a dependent young child to being a dependent student. I had barely graduated high school when I married. So I left my dad to be with my husband. Now I am a mother who works full time in a job that surrounds me with thousands of strangers and I've never once in my life been alone, been on my own, to find out what makes me ME.
Now at my current point in life I could see myself taking two or three months away from my husband, to work through my current life crisis and try to suss out what makes me ME.
BUT, not only am I a wife now I am also a broke-ass mother of two young children. I can't afford in time or money to go on a retreat to find myself. And seeing as how I can't even go to the bathroom (at work or at home) alone anymore there is no chance of me finding my center, my SELF in my current surroundings.
By no means.
My sudden urge to find myself is no different than the millions of people in the world today yearning to find out the "meaning of life."
By maybe, again just maybe, if I could figure out who I am, instead of trying to shape myself into what others expect me to be, maybe I can pull myself out of this exhaustive emotional funk that I've been in for so many years.
But there is also the fear that after 34 years of self-repression, that there might not be any me left at all. What if the cause of the hollowness I feel so often is from the fact that whatever essential core of self I was born with withered and wasted away completely.
And how, exactly, does one go about finding one self when she can't run away and start a new life somewhere where nobody knows and expects anything from her?