Identity: Maintenance and Change

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I haven’t written anything since mid-June. I blame this partially on the fact that other than work, going to the gym and sweating profusely in the garden in God-awful Virginia summer heat, not much else has been going on in life. I firmly believe that the other reason I haven’t written much in the past few weeks is due to the fact that I’ve entangled myself again with someone I used to date.  I find myself in a tangled struggle of identity: am I the fiercely independent, albeit somewhat selfish (focusing only on what makes me happy), cultivator of the earth, writing machine? Or, am I the far too giving, adoring, somewhat obsessive (and thus, stuck in my head constantly analyzing) girl who throws herself face first into another person and, in the process loses who she is?

I realize now that I have always had an identity war of sorts when it comes to time vested with another person.  I think part of it comes from my need to please others; and for whatever reason, it has never occurred to me that I could please a partner just by being who I am: my true self. I stumble upon that epiphany as I write this and it blows my mind that I’ve never had that thought before.  I don’t believe that I morph into this neurotic woman on purpose; I think it just…happens. For whatever reason, I seem to lose a bit of myself if another person is in my life. I think I pour so much of the caring side of me that the selfish side loses out.

I am trying desperately to continue to do the things that make me happy and to strike a balance between the self-pleasing independent part of me with the people pleaser who lives in me. I’m not sure how people achieve this balance and maintain healthy relationships. But, I am an all-or-nothing type of girl.  And, come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure that I’ve ever maintained what would be considered a healthy relationship.

I’m making a promise to myself here and now (in writing with witnesses) to make an effort to continue to make myself happy. To do the things that bring a smile to my face: cook, garden, write, workout. And anything else that would please me: cut my hair the way I want it even if I second (and third and fourth and fifth) guess it, color it if it pleases me, acquire a new tattoo, step outside of the box and challenge myself, especially on days when I’m feeling bored, stuck or lost. To make a conscious effort not to over-analyze, to listen to my gut, to call out bullshit when I see it. The first step is realizing your faults and calling yourself out on them; now that I’m conscious of my pitfalls, I’m hopefully that I can maintain me and possibly let someone else in at the same time.

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