identity-shifts…

Well, it’s been a few days since I posted last. For me, November brings with it not only the greatness of the holiday but also the remembering which tends to quieten me sometimes. But that’s okay. It’s what life is all about, right? The high’s and the low’s. The enjoyment and the retrospect.

So lately I’ve been mulling over…identity. {Interesting little word, isn’t it?} And my question is, what’s your identity? What does it encompass? Do you see it as who-you-are-as-a-whole, or do you view it more like the specific details that piece you together? {Make sense?} In other words, is it the forest, or the trees that fill it?

I guess the reason for the question is, yesterday I watched a movie, The Lucky One. Now, I admit, there are a few ‘loving’ scenes in it, so you might want to view it away from the kiddos, but…it did make me think.

The story was about a Marine who had survived several incidents during his three tours, and how he was fitting back into ‘normal’ life. And as I watched, I realized that even though he was back ‘home’, he was still the Marine he had become. Coming back to the states didn’t alter that fact.

He reacted to the sound of gunfire from an Xbox game.
He held himself with the discipline you typically see from a Marine.

But more importantly, he didn’t simply ‘fit in’ with everyone else around him. He stood out. Probably not meaning to, though. Because whether he may have expected it or not, becoming a Marine had created an identity-shift. It was…
Looking for adventure
Who he was now.
How he held himself.
How he spoke.
How he acted.
How he reacted.

He may have been different before, but afterwards…being a Marine was his new identity.

Which made me love how the storyline played out. Because instead of his character trying to re-become like everyone else, fitting into a more ‘normal’, understandable identity that made everyone else around him more comfortable, he remained as he was and simply….lived his life. Focused. Steady. Alert. Determined. And that eventually caused him to be accepted by everyone else as he was.

I just loved that.

But it also made me think. Do we really accept others around us…as they are? Or do we find ourselves trying to fit them into a mold that more suits our purposes?

That makes us more comfortable?
That fits into our plans?
That defines them in terms we can relate to?

Ever watched someone go through a tragedy? They are never the same again afterwards. Oh, they may pick up and move forward, and they might even be able to find a place of ‘joy’ through it all, but…they will never again hold the identity they had previous to the heartbreak. And I know this because when I stood at my mom’s bedside when she died, I literally felt my identity shift at the core of who I was. It was a physical feeling, and I was never again who I was before.

Which made it odd for me. {And, honestly, everyone else around me.} I wasn’t who I had been. So who was I now? I was no longer the girl who had never experienced that sort of pain, or who had never felt the security around her crack. Pain had slipped in when I least expected it. Death had caught me off-guard.

And my identity was left…forever altered.

Has that ever happened to you? Where you are going along day-by-day in life and all of a sudden, change comes when you weren’t prepared. A twist in the road appears. A sharp curve catches you unsuspecting. Or you make a choice to take the ‘road less traveled’.

And it has made all the difference, hasn’t it?

You’re no longer who you were before. You’ve changed. Problem is, even you aren’t exactly sure who the ‘new’ you really is. Which can be a bit disconcerting.

Do I still like that? Or do I prefer this?
Am I still okay with here? Or do I need there?
Are ‘they’ still a good fit for me? Or does it not feel quite right?

Who am I…now? And what is my identity?

The man or woman who becomes a Marine will never again be simply the man or woman they were before. They will forever be who they have become. A Marine. They have been altered at the core of their being. Their identity changed.

The man or woman who has been touched by tragedy will never again be simply who they were before. Pain that hits that deep alters you at your core. Whether you like it or not. It simply happens. Your identity shifts.

The tough part is…discovering who you now are and how that fits into what lies ahead.

Do you resist what the change does to you?
Or do you flow into where it takes you?

Do you try with all your might to regain who you were?
Or do you open yourself to what the change has birthed in you?

Identity. Who are you?

Are you what you do? Or what you did?
Are you what you have? Or what you lost?
Are you what you have accomplished? Or what you failed at?
Are you filled with the possibilities? Or just loaded down with what didn’t turn out?
Are you okay with who you are now becoming? Or do you just wish the identity-shift had never occurred?

Some stickier questions might be, Is it okay if your current situation no longer feels right? Is it understandable that who you have had around you may not fit well with the ‘new’ you? And are you comfortable with the choices that will probably be required from you? Brene Brown says in her book, Daring Greatly, it’s about making ‘the journey from “What will people think?” to “I am enough.”‘

Most of all, if you let it, are you at peace with where your core-change will take you? {Personally, I think it’s worth finding out.} Because as Robert Frost once said, ‘It has made all the difference.’

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
{Robert Frost}

{Image courtesy of Flickr}

About suehill3k

I'm a stay-at-home wife, mom, and blogger. I love spending time with my family and enjoy sharing things I learn each day with them. Maybe something said here will help you along your way! God bless...
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