Tag Archive | Identity

Identity – Like a rose,

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If you truly want to find yourself, you’ll need to give yourself permission to be who you are. So many of us are simply playing roles in life, roles we may not even realize we are playing. When we look in the mirror are we really seeing the reflection of our true self, or is the person looking back at us merely what we think the world wants to see? I wonder how many us can honestly answer the question, who am I? We know what we believe in, what we stand for and who we are supposed to be, at least we think we do. Life often dictates the path we will follow even though our hearts may have made different plans.

It seems we are always on some valiant quest to find our true self; it’s not an easy task. Many of us have hidden away the hopes and dreams we once had, we’ve sacrificed certain wants and desires for the sake of those we love most, without hesitation. I have. I don’t regret setting those things aside in hopes of finding them again someday, but sometimes, I wonder if they are still worth finding.

Some of them certainly are, but I’m not the same person I was when I first wanted them. Some of those hopes and dreams have been realized, perhaps not in the way I’d thought they would be, and some were realized in ways I never imagined they could be. There are still a few though, tucked way somewhere inside of me, waiting to be rediscovered.

I have hopes and dreams now I didn’t have when my younger self started making plans for the future. It’s funny, when I think of those plans I once had, I’m reminded of a song I sang when I was little, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”, we could apply this innocent principle in our own search for self. We don’t have to give up all things past, maybe we simply need to incorporate some of them into our present and on into our future. I can say with utmost certainty, the thoughts I think today will be different from the ones I may think tomorrow. Not all of them, of course, but new thoughts will grow within them, some of the old ones will fall away, leaving the new to grow until they too have served their purpose.

They remind me of a rose. The beautiful bud opens as it blooms, petal atop petal, each delicately filled with life, eventually, the outer petals begin to wilt and fall, some meet the ground with their beauty intact, others have wilted and browned and they fade back into the earth, becoming a part of something greater. Those which fell with color and form can be preserved and cherished – between the pages of a book, their color rich and beautiful still, but to keep that perfection, they must remain between the pages. Even once a rose has seen its final dawn it can remain forever beautiful if cared for.  There is an unexpected beauty in the sight of a perfectly dried rose. It’s color has faded and though it’s petals are brittle and can crumble with the slightest touch of even the most delicate hand, it is beautiful still.

I see my old hopes and dreams as I see the rose. Some of them fell to the ground and journeyed away in the breeze, some fell to nourish the soil where their journey began, and sometimes they are the petals, fallen and preserved. They remain – different than they once were, but they remain, kept between the pages of my life’s story, never to be forgotten. The dried beauty of a once vibrant rose represents those dreams I once dreamed but were never meant to be. Still a beautiful sight, when you look upon it you cannot help but see what it used to be, it serves as a precious memory.

My old dreams, like the rose, are a reminder of who I once was, not of who I have become or who I will one day be. Maybe this is the secret to finding your true self. Letting go of who you used to be and embracing who you have become, different, yet beautiful still. Only when we accept the changes in our life can we find ourselves, only when we have found ourselves will we find happiness.

“Make new dreams, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”

I don’t have to play a role, I am everything I am supposed to be. The light I was once afraid I wasn’t supposed to show needs to shine. I’ve held back laughter and I’ve held back tears. I’ve been serious when I wanted to play and I have given up things I wanted to keep. My light needs to shine. I am who I am, if I accept myself, those I love will as well and that will continue to be my strength and my joy.

I am a child of God; I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I am far from perfect yet perfect the way I am. I am someone who knows who I am and accepts whoever I may become with the passage of time.

I am who I am meant to be . . .

Crystal R. Cook

Mothers – Remembering who you are.

Picasso - Mother and Child

Picasso – Mother and Child

I remember well the first time I left my son; it was only for a short time. But in that short time I went from feeling euphoric joy to terrible anguish. I was gone all of ten minutes. I knew he was safe in the arms of my mother and yet I found myself weeping before I made it home. I held him and kissed his precious forehead vowing I would never leave him again. In the early stages of parenting I felt terrible guilt if I even considered leaving my children, it was unfounded and unnecessary, but you couldn’t have convinced me of it then.

Fast forward and three more precious babes later, and you’ve got a mom who doesn’t mind hopping into the car for a few trips alone to the store. Ironically, when I do get out for the occasional shopping day I usually end up looking at things I know they would love. When in the company of others, the topic of conversation inevitably steers toward all things children. I must admit I miss them when I am gone. I like being with them . . . most of the time. I can now say without the weight of unfounded guilt, it’s okay to take some time for myself when I need it.

Everyone needs a little respite now and again. Sometimes we need it from our kids and sometimes they need it from us. Truthfully, there are times I think they need it more than we do. There is nothing wrong with breathing a sigh of relief as you listen to the silence surrounding you when the kids are away from the house.

As a stay at home mother of four fabulous kids who are now  no longer little, I can say without hesitation or guilt, I look forward to those fleeting moments of solace. I can’t take it for too long though . . . I need to hear the life and laughter they bring, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice every now and then to have the house all to myself. For most parents at this stage, their nest is emptying. My little birdies have yet to all take flight, they are still learning to spread their wings.

As mothers we need time to ourselves, many of us won’t admit it though. I know from experience if I am tired or overwhelmed I am not going to be the most patient or nurturing mother I could be. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact it was okay to be away from them for a short while. Once I did it though, and all of the awful things I had imagined happening didn’t happen, I realized it felt good, a different kind of good, a need to get used to, kind of good, but good nonetheless.

Once we become mothers we tend to forget we are so much more than mothers still. We are women. We are wives and friends and daughters. We need to keep those parts of us alive and well if we are to be whole. The day is going to come when our children become people and begin to spread the wings we’ve watched grow, we have to know who we are so when they take flight we know we still have purpose and relevance in life.

I think I would be doing my kids a terrible injustice if I never took a bit of time for myself . . . If I don’t know who I am then they will never really know me either. The older they get, the more I realize they are watching me, learning from me. I want them to learn how to be everything they can be. Long ago I put so many pieces of who I was up on a shelf so high I could no longer reach them. Ironically, my children are the ones who pulled them down for me; they are the ones who reminded me I was more than I thought I was.

I remembered I was a wife, I remembered I was a writer and an artist, I remembered I was an individual, and in the beginning these things terrified me, but as time passed I began to cherish these parts of who I once was and began incorporating them into my life. I will always, always be a mother, no one ever told me it wasn’t all I could be, if they did, I certainly didn’t heed their words. When my children are out and about or when the night has come and they lay safe in their beds I treasure the time I have to get to know myself again.

It took me a long time to reach the realization that it is not only okay for us to steal away now and again, it is vital. Spiritual and emotional healing is found in moments of solitude, we have to tend to the woman within, the one which will remain once the children have grown. She needs to be nurtured just as our children do.

Stealing a few moments in time to sit in quiet reflection, read a book, nurture a talent or simply take a nice long shower can only make you a better you, and in turn, a better mother . . .

Crystal R. Cook