Monday, March 07, 2011

What's in a Name?

I was having a discussion recently about someone I know who never really learned to find her value in anything other than her beauty (of which she has plenty). She's a wife, a mother, a student, an athlete, a friend, a Christian -- there are so many labels I could give her that, to me, define her, but to HER, she's beautiful. It's where she finds her validation, her esteem, in essence, it's who she thinks she is.

It made me think about my own definitions and labels, which, to be honest, I've been taking stock of quite a bit lately. But looking at them after this particular conversation made me see them in a different light.

Here's the thing. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me or reads my blog regularly that I don't adore my job. I mean, it has its perks (who wouldn't love working in sweat pants and slippers everyday?!?), but after a while, the downsides really start to outweigh the pajamas. Heck, I actually yearn to dress up and go places all the time now. I get sick of my pjs.

All that to say that I don't define myself by my work, as most people do. And if I WERE to define myself occupationally, I'd be more likely to say that I'm an ex-teacher than to use my current job to define me.

And the fact that occupationally, I'd define myself by something in the past made me realize that alot of my definitions and labels that I would give myself are based in the past. See, to ME, I'm not a fat lady. I'm a skinny, athletic girl who is desperately trying to lose weight. I remember being heartbroken when I realized that more of my friends now never knew me as skinny. They don't think of me as the girl who gained weight after college. They only picture me at this weight, whereas when I think of myself, I know that I'm REALLY a tiny gymnast, not this plump thing I look like now.

I don't think that it's a matter of not accepting who I am now in my job or my weight, but rather than I'm not really pleased with either of those things personally so I don't want to change my definition of myself to meet them, even if they've both been true for more than 6 years now. And realizing that for 6 years I've not been happy with the current "me" makes me kind of sad.

That's not to say that I don't love certain parts of my life. I'm a mom, and a pretty darn good one, I like to think. My kid is happy and intelligent and funny and charming and I like to think at least some of that is a result of something I've done. I certainly hope that I'm a good wife at least most of the time. Granted, a load of laundry almost never gets put all the way up before another one is out of the dryer and my desk stays a mess, but I also have worked 6+ years at a job I really don't like to help pay the bills and I make his coffee and lunch every morning while getting our 2 year old fed and dressed without being asked. I take care of T sometimes 5 days a week and regularly 2 or 3 days a week by myself until past her bedtime. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking (when it gets done). I have mental notes of things he likes and doesn't and try to remember them in all situations (whether that means never cooking with or ordering tomatoes, mushrooms, or olives OR just restraining myself when I want to tell a story I think is hysterical that I know he might think was embarassing).

I'm GOOD at those parts of my life. I'm not perfect, but I'm proud of those parts.

But most people don't really think of or talk about those being things to be proud of. Most people want to define you by your job and what you've accomplished in the business world, not by how awesome your 2-year old is or how mean of a lasagna you can make. And I guess if I were a stay-at-home mom, I would be more ok with that because at least I could say that at my "job" - aka being a mom, I was really successful (and I might also keep the laundry a little closer to done). But I'm not. I work full-time and don't really change the world in any dramatic way, yet I whittle-away hours and hours doing it. And in my own definitions that I set a long, long time ago, that makes me feel like a failure at least a little bit.

I didn't realize until very recently how much having this "random computer job" (which is what I tell most people I do when asked) had cut down my self-esteem, but it really has. Which is ridiculous to me because another definition I have of myself is that I am a confident, self-assured person. I always have been. I've always done things as well as I could and thus been proud of myself and known that if I really wanted something, I could do it, get it, or work towards it. But these days, I question myself and am constantly scared of making a fool of myself.

So I'm working on that now. I took a big step recently and, although the outcome wasn't at all my desired ending, I didn't fail either. I did ok. And it made me think that maybe girl who is really only qualified to do a "random computer job" isn't really just that. Maybe I'm still that skinny, ex-teacher who's an awesome mom and wife somewhere in there and I just need to give her a chance to try and prove herself.


Love & Shipoopies,


Anonymous said...

So, I hate to point this out... but I REALLY have to. "alot" ;)

Zipidee said...

A job is just a job. They come & they go. To have one forever like your Mom & Dad is very rare. To have one and juggle all of the other issues is a female thing that would break most men.
I've been around to see every mutation of you and I still see you! I'm looking forward to seeing the next knowing that you are going to be in there.