Who Am I?
Who are you? I keep seeing that phrase, that loaded question, everywhere. And I wanted to write a post about it even before Friday morning. Now I feel like I need to write that post.
Our notion of ourselves develops over time. It takes years for us to figure out who we are. When we’re kids we have rudimentary ideas of it, mostly based on what we’re told by other people: our parents, our teachers and perhaps most acutely, our peers.
It seems that our understanding of ourselves continues to be based on what others believe us to be. At the very least, who we are is frequently understood in relation to those who are most important to us: I am my parent’s daughter, my sister’s sibling, my husband’s wife… my daughter’s mother.
There are very few moments that completely overhaul our perception of ourselves. Getting married is probably one of them. Having a child is definitely another. Suffering an incredible loss will almost assuredly change the way you see yourself, they way you define who you are.
Friday morning my life changed. I changed. I became a different person. All it took was one phone call, the relaying of the results of one blood test. In that simple action, with those simple words, my whole reality changed.
I changed. I became a different person.
Before that phone call I was the mother of a beautiful, precocious 2.5 year old daughter who was having a hard time giving her a sibling. I had no reason to believe I wouldn’t some day be able to do that. I had little reason to believe something was actually wrong with me–after all, I’d conceived and birthed a healthy child without interventions. Everyone told me the delay this time was probably a fluke. I just had to be patient.
And then I got a phone call and suddenly I was infertile. Suddenly my chances of becoming a mother to another child were significantly lower. Suddenly who I was, and what I might expect my life to become, had radically changed.
Most defining moments change who we are by changing the relationships in our lives. On Friday morning something inside of me changed. I became, physically, a different person. Except that I didn’t. I was already that person, I just didn’t know it. So really, did I change? If we are only our perceptions of ourselves, then in a very real way, yes, I did change. Immeasurably.
Even before Friday I wondered how to answer the question of who I was. Now, I couldn’t even attempt it. I have no idea who I am. I need to make appointments with doctors, and attempt treatments, to tell me that. Sure there are other parts of my persona I can easily describe, but there is one part of me that is now an anomaly. And at this particular time in my life, that part of me is the most important.
So who am I?
I am my parents’ daughter.
My sister’s sibling.
My husband’s partner.
My daughter’s mother.
My friends’ confidant.
My students’ teacher.
My colleague’s coworker.
I am a writer and a blogger.
And a reader.
I am a lover of the written word.
I am graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.
I am a home owner.
I am a Spanish speaker.
I am a yogi.
I am a sufferer of ADD and depression.
I am a 32 year old woman.
I am an infertile.
I am me.