When the kids’ dad and I separated, among many other things, he accused me of reinventing myself every few years.
And he was right.
Strike a pose
When I moved to Eugene, I became a professional woman, and that part of my life moved to the forefront. A few years earlier, I had become a mother. With a newborn baby, that part of my life was emphasized over everything else.
Before that, I was a chick-folk-rock musician. Before that…a journalist perhaps? Or a newly-separated woman sowing her wild oats.
Before that, a nature-loving, back-to-the-land, college drop-out (since we’re giving things labels), creating an intentional community in the North Carolina mountains. Really.
Before that, a high-schooler, tragically ill with fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. Valiantly finishing high school and determined to go on to college, even as friends fell away and pounds of flesh gathered in their place.
Before that, a new American immigrant. Before that, an adventurer, moving to Barbados with her mum. Before that, a child of divorce. Before that, a new life coming into this world.
Throughout many of these changes – in partner, country and hair color – I packaged the past away and moved forward into the new chapter. It was the way I knew to deal with things.
I moved a lot. I often didn’t live in the same state as my most recent ex. At least not for long. And the ex-es didn’t know each other.
Today, though. Well, it’s different now. Thanks to social media, I don’t need to be co-located to still have people in my life, even if I’ve said goodbye to them in other ways.
For instance, take this exchange between two folks I was once in relationships with – different phases of life, different states. And here they are talking to each other about my kids’ after-school science project.
In the past, this would have given me some heebeejeebees. I liked to keep such folks separate. Those worlds were not supposed to collide.
Now? Now it makes me laugh.
Also, the fact that I continue to be attracted to many of the same qualities in mates — such as intelligence and love of science. I may reinvent myself, but some things don’t change much.
Re-thinking things again
Being laid off from a job I poured my heart into has given me the opportunity to reexamine things.
What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What’s important to me in how I present myself to the world? What comes next?
Perhaps it’s time for some reinvention again. (Note to current husband, it’s OK, I’m not going anywhere.)
One re-occurring theme is integration. I want my worlds to collide. I don’t want separate, compartmentalized parts of my life, or of who I am anymore.
The person I want to be now is all of me – mother, professional, writer, spirit, goddess. (It’s been a long time since I’ve used that word in relation to myself.)
I’ve done lots of things throughout my inventions of myself. Lived in lots of places. Explored different aspects of careers (writing has been in all of them, though). Dated and married different aspects of the same person over and over again.
Reinvention time again
So, yes, it’s reinvention time again. I don’t know what that means or what form it’ll take. Only that I want it to include all of who I am. I cannot stop being a mother or a wife. Nor do I want to. Or need to.
When I moved from England to Barbados when I was 10, I forgot my life in England. I actually couldn’t remember anything about it, except the address of the house I lived in and the name of my best friend.
Over the years, my memories returned. For the most part.
Lately, I find more of them floating to the surface again. As I run in the morning or spin yarn. Or walk at the treadmill desk and write.
I’m ready to remember who I am. This could be interesting.