Monday, June 08, 2015

I Forgot Who I Was

Recently I was having a discussion with my husband. And yes it was one of those discussion that included a few tears and a bit of frustration. But not with him. With me.

I am 42 years old. I'm a mother of three (one of whom I lost to cancer eight years ago). I'm the daughter of two loving parents (who are no longer married). I'm a wife (to an amazing man who tries really hard to get me). I'm a friend (to some really incredible women). I'm a daughter of God (who is ever present in my life).



And yet I've forgotten who I am.

Once upon a time I was a more carefree and happy person. I loved to dance. I thought I could sing (turns out I was wrong). I wrote songs on the piano (awful songs, but still). I was in love with the idea of love. I dreamed of adventure and travel. I was passionate and strong-willed and determined. I absorbed any form of learning as fast as I could find it.

I was a different person then.

And now? Now I'm more subdued. More cautious. Less free. More insecure. More doubtful. And sometimes completely lost.

I'm human. I have a great life. I am happy most of the time. And yet I feel I have lost much of who I was and possibly who I was destined to become.

Some of me was lost along the way as I was hurt, abandoned, disregarded, and judged.

Some I cut out of me because I thought it somehow needed to be done.

Some I forgot in the daily doings of life.

Some I ignored and disregarded until it wasn't me any more.

I think we're all like that. I think we let go, or move on, or adjust, or turn away from parts of ourself.

I think most of the time change is ok. But sometimes after much time has passed, we realize that some of that person we used to be we want again.

I want to dance again. I want to laugh: loudly without warning. I want to KNOW who I am and find complete confidence in that knowledge. I want to surprise myself, my husband, my children, and my friends with the wildness of me. I want to let go and take courage and leave behind doubts, fears, and dark moments.

I want to be me again!

Do you think it's possible to rediscover yourself? Or do you think that sometimes you lose a part of yourself that you can never truly regain? Do you think you can find that part of you again?

Or are we doomed to forget who we are and become something entirely new?

24 comments:

  1. Good question. I know I have changed so much from who I was before I gave birth to my daughter and started working for the toughest boss I'd ever had as a stay at home mom. I don't think that even if there was a way for me to return to the kind of work I was doing before that I'd be the same person. I have changed a lot and I hope it's for the better, but there are parts of me I wish hadn't gone away, but I also know that there are parts of me that I like better. I'm more sassy rather than serious, I'm better about standing up for myself and my kids, I'm more patient and consider more sides to an issue. These are all good attributes and I would rather have them than go back to the person who didn't. So, I guess I see it as a trade-off. There seems to be a balance and sadly you can't have everything or the whole apple cart will topple over. I hope you can find peace with who you are or find a way to get back some of the parts of your personality that you miss, but going back isn't something that comes easy.
    Thanks so much for sharing and bringing to mind these challenges of how we change with experience.

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    1. You're right, Ruth. Some changes I would NOT change. I love those parts of me too. Thank YOU for taking the time to share you thoughts with me.

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  2. We all change and do what we need to do at the time. Sometimes it is a conscious decision, sometimes life takes over and makes the decision for us. Every change brings new challenges and forces us to reinvent ourselves. I am over 70. I don't want to go back to what I was. I just keep adjusting to what I am. Count your small daily blessings and move forward. If you don't like something don't wait. Change what you can control. Most of all know that life is and endless journey. We don't need to make a return journey. Just keep moving forward.

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    1. I like that "we don't need to make a return journey." What a beautiful way to put it.

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  3. love this. resonates with me totally.

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  4. This is EXACTLY why I moved from business coaching to mindset coaching. I love helping women rediscover this part of themselves. It is so inspiring and jaw-dropping when women re-discover who they are and what they are meant to be. I LOVE YOU!

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  5. I have been feeling very much the same way... I think as we get older, we tend to "adjust" to the here and now. I miss a lot of things that I did 6 years ago. I'm going to be 37 and I think to myself, I miss the old me. The one who liked having fun with friends... nowadays, my entire focus is my family and while that's great and everything, WE need to have fun too. So I think with effort, it can be done. I need to spend more time with my girlfriends. I crave it and hope to get back my old self soon. You are not alone.

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    1. Thank you for understanding. :) I hope you find your way to yourself as well!

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  6. As I read this my friend I find myself analyzing myself. I do think that as we age and go through life challenges and struggles it does chip away and take some of the person we once were away, however with that it bring a stronger version of ourselves. I know today I am still easy going and care free, I have more self confidence in who I am and what I do than I have had in the past. I think that came because I am constantly telling my girls to be confident, don't change for anyone, be who they are and embrace themselves, love themselves for who they are. I find that I have to be an example to them and there is no better way then to live by example.
    I am crazy and live life laughing and enjoying each day as if it were my last. Don't get me wrong I have those days were I may not feel as fun, as loving and as carefree. But my kids, my husband, family and friends remind me that I am ME! They love me for me and in return I can laugh until I cry, I can dance and be silly I have come to the conclusion that I am who I am and I love me for me. I am not going to change I will always be the crazy redhead who likes crazy hairstyles and dance to Vanilla Ice. However, I do have to make one point and that is what "I'm just a simple gal" said -Being with friends is important, having sleepovers with your friends and staying up all night is a must!!! This keeps me young and also reminds me that I don't want to loose this Me. Yes, my family is important but we also need girl time. A time to be silly, a time to cry, a time to laugh and a time to sing!! Friends bring out the crazy in all of us!
    YES.... you can get that old you back my friend, find her, love her and embrace her!!!! I think you are a total rock star and I see you dancing in the rain, laughing until your cheeks hurt and finding that girl you once were. Only she will be stronger and she will dance more, she will laugh even more!!!
    loves- Madge

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    1. Madge, you seem very aware of who you are and I admire that about you. It shows. :)

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  7. Every time I read your blog, (which is daily by the way) I am AMAZED at how well you speak what it is in my own thoughts. In fact you said it so well today that I just read it to my husband. I find myself wondering what happened to that fun, energetic 20 year old who was so passionate about life and scared of NOTHING!!! to this 51 year old, empty nester, almost grandma who is afraid, nervous and worries, so insecure and so aware of my own mortality. I think we just keep re-defining ourselves and as I read this to my husband he wondered if we really are the people we are supposed to be, we just haven't come to terms with it. I loved the way he put it, that our life experiences, ya they jade us, scare us, make us insecure - BUT isn't this the life we are to live with those experiences and changes as they certainly have made me who I am and really I wouldn't want to be any different. I'll put my scuba tank on and go dive with my fish 100 feet below the surface, don by motorcycle helmet and cross off state after state as I hit those borders and jump from a plane and say "dang I've had a good life." So do I want to be "that" girl again or just make new dreams with this girl?

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  8. I cannot really say I have been here. I think I am more who I have always wanted to be now then I was in my 20's. (I am 46.) I sing while I am shopping, dance when I feel like it (much to the horror of my 14 year old daughter) and really do not care what others think on my good days. I am a good friend and an okay wife. (I think that is always a balancing act!!) I still have insecurities but I am finding as I get older that I feel free to be who I wanted to be rather then what my parents, my siblings needed/wanted me to be for them. That said, I am this way because I went through some very bad times before I hit 25 and had a lot of therapy. You will get there. It takes time, as well as baby steps to be where you want to be. We are all a work in progress, that is what makes us human. Big hugs!!

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    1. Nora, I admire people like you that know who they are and embrace it. :)

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  9. Jen,

    To answer your questions, yes, I do think we can rediscover ourselves. In fact, I believe that's a normal part of life and living.

    As for the parts of ourselves that feel as though they are lost, I believe they are left behind to enable us to pick up new parts, to create a new us!

    When I reflect back on myself as a 20, 30 and 40 year old, there are most certainly parts of those old selves that I miss...dearly. But, I wouldn't go back to those times for anything. Everything I experienced during those years has added up to who I am today. And, although I sometimes wish I was more carefree (as I was in my younger years), I know that the trade-offs have been worth it.

    That said, I am working on letting go more, having more silly moments and being at peace with the me I am now.

    I wish you peace and courage and gratefulness as you find your new path.

    Have a wonderful week,

    Steph

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    1. It's true. Everything we go through makes us who we are today. Beautifully put!

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  10. Every time I read your blog, (which is daily by the way) I am AMAZED at how well you speak what it is in my own thoughts. In fact you said it so well today that I just read it to my husband. I find myself wondering what happened to that fun, energetic 20 year old who was so passionate about life and scared of NOTHING!!! to this 51 year old, empty nester, almost grandma who is afraid, nervous and worries, so insecure and so aware of my own mortality. I think we just keep re-defining ourselves and as I read this to my husband he wondered if we really are the people we are supposed to be, we just haven't come to terms with it. I loved the way he put it, that our life experiences, ya they jade us, scare us, make us insecure - BUT isn't this the life we are to live with those experiences and changes as they certainly have made me who I am and really I wouldn't want to be any different. I'll put my scuba tank on and go dive with my fish 100 feet below the surface, don by motorcycle helmet and cross off state after state as I hit those borders and jump from a plane and say "dang I've had a good life." So do I want to be "that" girl again or just make new dreams with this girl?

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    1. I'm glad this resonates with you. It's good to feel like we're not alone.

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  11. Wow, what a powerful blog post Jen! I think all of us can relate to this in one way or another. Life digs its hooks in and we get lost in it sometimes, but I absolutely do believe it's possible to reinvent yourself and find old glimpses of our past selves along the way.

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  12. You express feelings that i have had through peri-menopause (which can be 5-10 years before actual menopause). I suspect that we have to re-evaluate who we are every so often but i highly recommend "The Wisdom of Menopause", by Christine Northrup. I can't recommend this book enough to women. Part of it is a reference book but the first few chapters described so well how I was feeling and why nature helps us change as we go through diferent phases of life.
    After a number of years of soul-searching and growth, i can say that at 53, I feel more like the younger me yet more confident and self-accepting of myself and others. I hope that this book can assist you (and others) to find the sparks inside yourself that have been dimmed through tragedy and the everyday difficulties of life.

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  13. Sometimes I hear an old song or stumble upon an old photo of me or a book I read when I was a student and think - "hey, I remember that girl. I wonder where she's gone". I think a part of her is still here, with me.. but most of the time I just forget to remember about her.

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  14. I remember at the end of a counselling session I said. ' but I just want the old me back from before'. But do I really want to go back through all that pain again. Something about the loss of a child and with it the guilt you feel and that.missing chunk of your heart it is hard to keep the same you. As said before by one of the commenters no return journey for me. The conclusion was to learn to get used to and to love the new me. As u find your way with the new you your confidence returns and you can make changes and find little bits of the old you you wish to embrace again. Some of the fears and wonderment can be surfacing because things are changing again as your daugther goes away for a while. It happens. When each of my younger children left for university all my fears and concerns raised again. The fear of not being able to protect them letting them become independent. It all makes an impact on who we are. Don't be afraid of the tears Jen they are part of the process. Take care xx

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  15. I remember at the end of a counselling session I said. ' but I just want the old me back from before'. But do I really want to go back through all that pain again. Something about the loss of a child and with it the guilt you feel and that.missing chunk of your heart it is hard to keep the same you. As said before by one of the commenters no return journey for me. The conclusion was to learn to get used to and to love the new me. As u find your way with the new you your confidence returns and you can make changes and find little bits of the old you you wish to embrace again. Some of the fears and wonderment can be surfacing because things are changing again as your daugther goes away for a while. It happens. When each of my younger children left for university all my fears and concerns raised again. The fear of not being able to protect them letting them become independent. It all makes an impact on who we are. Don't be afraid of the tears Jen they are part of the process. Take care xx

    ReplyDelete

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