About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who I Am

I've been kicking around these ideas in my head for awhile and hoping that I can write something that is coherent enough for others to read. It has to do with my evolution as a person through all the stuff that's happened to me and the choices I've made in the last couple of years.

When things were getting intense between Paul and me, I began a journal. On the opening page of that journal I began with a description of who I am. I described myself: wife, mother, and then a list of what I like to do. I think I was already uncomfortable with that typing of myself but didn't know how to change it yet. A few journal entries later I re-described myself: just me, who I am. Because my roles do not define me. Who I am married to, what children I have, those are wonderful relationships that enhance my life, but they are not me. They are relationships.

I remembered a time when I was in a gathering of women about 7-8 years ago, and I introduced myself as as the wife of a priest. I spoke with another woman for quite some time before she told me her husband is a pastor. I expressed surprise that I did not know this, and she said something to the effect that it isn't the first thing she tells people, because it doesn't define her.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I got too caught up in defining myself through my roles--wife and mother--and forgot about developing my own self. And two years ago I decided to begin developing my own self.

I've tried to figure out how I could have done this differently, but I have to say I honestly enjoyed being stay-at-home mommy when my children were young. I cannot imagine putting them in day care when they were babies. I enjoyed homeschooling them, but I think I probably could have begun to explore my passion when they were school-aged. Slowly though. By the time I was good and ready and was really restless to find something else to occupy my time, they were also done with homeschooling. I always thought that homeschooling could work for us all the way through high school, but it just didn't. It worked great for the first bit and then it was time to move on. I am so grateful for the foundation it gave my kids; I'm glad that Carissa was able to be herself (and later when she would identify as transgender she/he was able to do that with hopefully a minimum of self-doubt). I am glad that Zachary, my "late" reader, was able to learn at his own pace and not face criticism from anyone but himself.

When I divorced, obviously I was separating myself from the role of being a priest's wife--I was no one's wife, and began re-defining myself as an independent woman. But I also found myself pulling away from my children to some extent. I am pretty sure this hurt them, but I did feel it necessary in my own evolution as a person, to find out who I, Elizabeth, was, not just who I am as a mother. I needed to tend to my needs for awhile. Is this selfish? Probably. But it was a selfish I really needed. I needed to extricate myself from what I was expected to do in order to find out what I expected of myself.

Now I find myself reconnecting with my kids. And wishing I had more time in which to do that. But life is good as it is, and the time we have is really good. And it's real--I am establishing myself as an independent woman in relationship, not as provider and facilitator for other people to find their passions, but as a co-passion-finder. And that is an excellent journey to take with people I love.


Mae Scatliff said...

Hi Elisabeth,

I don't know how I ended up reading your blog (technology still baffles me) but I'm glad I did. Your journey is wonderful and shared by many women.

God bless you!


Unknown said...

I know something you are: courageous
You don't know me...not sure how I found your blog (years ago), but always found you very uplifting and will continue to wish you peace & happiness. Goliadyaya