Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Identity lost, identity regained

When the bomb dropped, back in the ancient history of January, that I was to be Suddenly Single at Sixty, I became overwhelmingly disoriented. I was actually a lot of things but disorientation was the most unsettling and frightening. I've described it as being in a foreign country that has an unrecognizable language, lost, not a penny in my pocket, and a hostile population that refuses to help. That kind of disorientation and fright, with an intractable and immovable weight as though I were trapped under an enormous blanket of chain maille.

I'd suddenly lost my identity because over the years a slow and insidious change had come over me, the kind you can recognize only from a distance, transforming me from Kathy to Bob'sWife. I felt I had no sense of my own self but only as his extension. There are many reasons for this change, each one not powerful enough on its own, but the cumulative effect was transformative. When the one identity I had was gone, I was lost and alone in that foreign country, not having the first idea how to get home.

Since January I've been finding link after link of the chain maille breaking and falling away with the considerable help of friends (which includes my family) because who they're helping, welcoming, and offering kindness to is Kathy, not Bob'sWife. The friends who are always willing to listen, to offer a different perspective of events (he's shining you on), to give always-welcome advice, are offering it to menot to an appendage of another person. The friends who narrow their eyes with anger or widen them with a Good news! look and say You're better off without him or There's a weight off you or What do you need him for? The friend who cut my hair for free as a going-away gift. The friends who were genuinely sorry to see me go because it was the individual me they would miss, not the merged me I'd become in my mind. The friends around the country, some whom I've not even met yet in person, who are opening spots in the driveway for Grace, putting out the welcome mat, making up the guest room, and telling me that I'm their role model for strength and courage. I'm astonished by this support. Bob'sWife was sure she wouldn't deserve it but Kathy is tentatively recognizing her own value. It's becoming an amazing rebirth back to the land of the living.

I had my iPod plugged in yesterday, turned up loud, with the music wanted to hear and, yes, to define it loosely, even singing along. One of my favorite songs of all time is Molly Magdalain's The Open Road. Her open road is a literal road trip that revealed what's important in her life. I see my open road as not only my own literal one, but also my journey of transformation, my travels along a path with heart.


Like gypsy souls we travel, most of all we look within.
Reflections I'm confronted by
  will make me change as much as I can.
In the mirror of these strangers I see clearly who I am.
On the open road, this is where I find the truth of my soul.
There's no place like my home on the open road.

2 comments:

  1. It's interesting the parts of us that get submerged for awhile. Every now and then I'm reacquainted with a facet that isn't in use at the moment.

    Glad you're out of there!

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  2. Speaking from my extensive knowledge, I think everyone submerges parts of themselves for different reasons, from time to time. The trick is to be aware of what and when and why, and to be able to recover yourself as you want your self to be.

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