I think sometimes as we get older, and especially if we have kids, we forget who we used to be. We’re all made up of all these parts, all these components, all these stories. Every one of us has thousands upon thousands of pieces, things we’ve done, things that have happened to us, things we love or like or hate. And sometimes you get so focused on just a few of those components that the rest disappear. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I mean, my kids take up the vast majority of my time right now, and that’s okay. I even think it’s right. They’re growing humans, and they need me. So I’m there. But somehow, somewhere, I started feeling like Bugbug and Speck’s mom. Dr. Scientist’s wife. Everything I am to everyone else. I’m the girl who cooks and cleans. There are pieces of me from my entire life, and sometimes I see them come out – the girl who had to learn to pick up work wherever she could. The girl who reacts well in a crisis. The girl who tells stories that can scare herself, or make herself cry. Sometimes I even see them in my children; though they’ve never seen those sides of me. Various bits. But this year, I’ve been making changes. A lot of changes. Trying to go from content to happy; from good things to the things I really want. And in doing so I’m remembering myself.
I’m trying to leave behind a few of the things I’ve become. I don’t need to be afraid of what the neighbors will think if I dye my hair pink (I’m doing that next week.) Who cares? Does it matter what anyone will think when my son wears a skirt? Not remotely. I’ve gotten myself into this combative mode lately, because it's wearying fighting with people over my choices. And that has to stop. I need to leave behind the cynicism, combative and angry nature I’ve picked up. Accept that I’m not going to make the same choices as anyone else; we're all different. I got my lip pierced a few weeks ago (I'd wanted to for a long time, and never had because I was worried about what people would think) and I almost didn’t post a picture on Facebook because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to deal with any backlash. Then I told myself this didn’t matter; I’m pleased with it and I wanted to share. So I shared. Guess what? No negative backlash. None. The worst was a reminder from my mother to make sure it doesn’t damage my gums (something I’m already watching).
|Me, right after I got my lip pierced. I look pale because I was. It didn't really hurt; I just had myself really freaked out over it. The change, not the pain.|
I’ve closed myself off so much over the years that when I decided this year to start trying to share more about myself it was a huge effort. It started when my husband told me last year he’d never realized I like comic books – something I’d never purposefully hidden from him, but also hadn’t made any effort to share. Somehow, before I started writing for work, he’d never realized I enjoy writing, either. I’m done with that. People who care about me need to know ME, not the face I put on. They need to know Christina who likes bright colors and fun makeup and cute lingerie and mystery and romance novels. Christina who hates bugs but loves to play in the rain. They need to know Christina who doesn’t like carrots but loves almost all other veggies. Christina who loves people, but can’t quite handle groups of them. Christina who likes to push people’s buttons, but wouldn’t hurt anyone on purpose even if it meant hurting herself instead. Christina who has all the patience in the world for those who are trying, and none whatsoever for those who are reckless or hurtful. Christina who loves to cuddle, but doesn’t like strangers touching her. Christina who is scared of more or less everything, but puts herself in the middle of it all anyhow. Christina who wants honesty and beauty and love and to make everything better. Christina who can be cynical and needs help balancing that. Christina who takes care of everyone else and forgets to take care of herself – reminders to do so are always appreciated. Christina who thinks our choices and experiences create us in a way that keeps us all from ever being like anyone else, no matter our DNA, but is constantly pleasantly surprised by the effects of our building blocks.
We are, deep inside, the sum of our experiences. We are each a story, of millions and multitudes of tiny parts. Don’t lose parts of your story. Even if they’re in the footnotes, don’t forget they exist. Dye your hair. Get your lip pierced. Tell your best friends a secret about you. Remember a story from your childhood. Ask someone about their favorite memory, their first kiss, their best friend when they were 5, their favorite teacher in high school. Let’s help each other remember who we are, especially if we’re losing that in the face of just getting through the day.