Who Am I?

http://us.cdn4.123rf.com/168nwm/braverabbit/braverabbit1206/braverabbit120600008/14268290-cute-little-cartoon-girl-with-question-mark--high-quality-3d-illustration.jpgI used to know. I remember when it was easier but I didn’t think so at the time. I was “Chubby”. I was happy. I was short. I was shy. I was average. I didn’t stand out, wasn’t opinionated, always had at least 1 or 2 best friends.

Identifying who we are or how we want to be perceived varies depending on where we are in our lives.

Turning point? I was 11 years old when I answered that question for the first time. Because of a virus, my kidney’s stopped working and I was placed in the ICU of the pediatric ward in Newark, New Jersey’s Beth Israel Medical Center. I didn’t think of myself as the girl with the IV pole, or the girl in a wheelchair, or the girl with a pee-bag, or the kid in dialysis. I was the girl with purple arms. That was the first time I identified myself as being unique, different, not like anyone else. I remembered asking my mother if I would ever look normal again. She explained about the procedures of taking blood so often leaving my arms purple and that eventually the skin wouldn’t be bruised and I’d return to “normal”.

As a parent today I can’t imagine what that must feel like to have to answer such a question.

In high-school I was “Chubby”. I was happy. I was short. I was shy. I was average. I didn’t stand out, wasn’t opinionated, always had at least 1 or 2 best friends. The next time I was aware of asking myself this question was when I was confronted as a high-school student by a youth group administrator. He felt my friends were bad influences on me and mentioned how he thought I should look for a new group friends. Horrified and angry because as a teenager you define yourself by your associations. They were my people. I was part of them, we all thought the same things, acted the same way, made each other laugh and they were always looking out for me, protecting me, were protective of me. I was the girl everyone loved to protect. I didn’t understand why he’d say such a hurtful statement but after we went our separate ways and I was able to see things from a different perspective, I understood what he was trying to tell me. Still, I didn’t love it, but I got it. I wasn’t anybody in my own right. I had to ask the question, who am I?

Spending the summer away from my core peer group gave me new insights. I lived abroad meeting new people, some from other countries and again I was confronting myself, defining the kind of person I wanted to be. Excited to begin college, a year and a half later, I was ready for change. I was the student who started on probation and finished making  Deans List and on my way to getting a degree. I was a Ranger’s fan. I was a youth group adviser. I was the owner of a goldfish. I was the bridesmaid.

I graduated and received a service award because I wasn’t only studying, proving to myself that I was smart enough if I just applied myself. I worked at making it an experience to remember including all aspects of dorm, social and academic life. I was “Chubby”. I was happy. I was short. I was no longer shy. I was better than average. I didn’t stand out more than the next guy. I started to form my own opinions. I always had at least 1 or 2 best friends.

Now, after being married for almost 15 years, having 5 children, working at 8 various jobs and the proud owner of a domain name I am at that place once again. How do I define myself? I am a blogger. I am a glorified secretary. I am a mother, a friend, an Israeli, an American, a Jew. I am 40. I am “Chubby”. I am happy. (when I’m not crying). I am still annoyingly short. I am reserved and thoughtful. I am trying to not be average. I  want to stand up for what I believe in. I formulate my opinions based on educating myself and listening to others.  I still have at least 1 or 2 best friends.

I am secure (but I still won’t eat by myself in a restaurant). I am confident (but I still don’t like being the center of attention). I am sensitive (to the point of no return – can we say BIG FAT CRY BABY?). I am funny (and often embarrass myself just to get a good laugh). I am creative (and doodle most of the time during office meetings) . I am still evolving. 

Change is good, growth is necessary.

I look forward to asking myself this question 5 years from now.

Challenge of the day. Can you answer this question?

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash3/41785_249462994012_2356241_n.jpg

Who are you?

10 comments

  1. I am a survivor. I have had so many tests (I don’t write about them all). I am a mother of grown and almost-grown kids. I am a grandmother. I will always be “rickismom”, advocating for special needs.

  2. Had to comment again. Who am I? Someone who talks and comments too much! All kidding aside, I love how you wrote this. The whole evolution thing. I think we are always evolving, too. Due to losing my health @ 27 and then a lot of vision about 1.5 yrs ago (all related), I have the pre-illness/post-illness self. It’s a real struggle to let go of who you were and still want to be. Appreciate you bringing illness into this and glad you pulled through! Mine’s genetic so it’s just my DNA and me. You really have to eat out by yourself once. I was afraid to and ended up becoming friends of sorts with the owners since I had to talk to someone!!!

    Btw, how are you 40? You’re a tad older than me! I thought you were in your 20s (maybe right out of college) and these kids you kept referring to were your students (lol), as many expats end up teaching (yeah, you’re more than an expat). I did that in Mexico 20 yrs ago. Just cracking-up here! How do you look so young? I’m 38 (never had kids) and holding up OK, but nothing like you! How funny.

    I like you even more now as I often end up with odd age groups on here. :-)

    1. Thanks Alisa, ur very sweet to say such Thanks for your complimentary words. This was a piece I had to write since it had been on my mind because I was changing direction (nothing drastic) and I needed to ask myself this question so that I could find the answer before the journey. I don’t know about eating by myself. Money is tight with 5 kids so I don’t eat put much and when I do it’s a date night for me and my husband!

      1. You’re so welcome. I should do something like this, but my blog is so focused–like my brain!

        Oh, the tight budget! I’m living on SSDI and some help from my step-father (not where I thought I’d be after having a career and going to grad school–ugh) and have what I call “transient housing.” Embarrassing! I need red meat as I’m not well-nourished (refer to genetic disease) and there are some cheap, kabob places in town. Nothing fancy. $9 for a huge plate of food that fills me for the day. I eat gruel the rest of the time. I never kept kosher (I don’t eat pork and am mainly vegan, anyway), but my meat is always halal. Are you rolling your eyes? I was raised Reform (I did have a Bat Mitzvah!). Btw, CNN is on and they keep saying “Israel” due to Obama being over there. Odd timing.

        OK, no way you have 1 minute to yourself with 5 kids so I’ll work on shorter comments! I’m wondering how you work/blog/look so young with 5 kids, too? Hope you sleep and get a few more date nights with your hubby…

        A :-)

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