Last night’s post about our own identities was cause for some brilliant introspection and some truly intelligent conversation. I deferred until this morning to answer the question myself.
All in the Timing
In revisiting my introduction to the last 25 people I have met, I have only been asked my identity once. Whether it is a side-effect of life in the American south or just my uber-polite social circle, I am introduced to most everyone I meet. This, however, does not deter me from having an answer or using it.
The one person who did ask me, knew my name, my profession, my faith, my gender, my familial role and my employment status. All which remained were politics and character. The politics would wait, but the character was the question. The question was posed:
Who are you inside?”
My answer was cryptic, but true: I am complete.
I have many names. I am Ann Marie. I am Annie. I am Momma. I am Ms. Dwyer. I am Momma Bear. I am Trouble. I am Ursula. I am Red. I am Playground Bully. I am Bitch Goddess.
Over the years, the names have changed and fallen from use, but they all refer to me. I do not subscribe my existence to any handle in particular, so my name is not indicative of my identity. It merely aids others in remembering who they think I am.
I am spiritual.
I commune with my guiding forces in some of the oddest places. At the grocery. In my truck. At my dinner table. In my tub. In my laundry room. In my bed. Deep in the woods. On the sidewalk. It is a convenience afforded those with a force which is omnipresent. It is where I am.
I am an entrepreneur.
I have never played, or worked as it were, well with others. While I can be largely helpful and tremendously patient, it is not a choice I make for myself in many cases beyond my progeny. I have worked for others but have only been truly happy to toil when I was free of accounting for my corporate actions to anyone but myself.
I have reinvented myself many times to suit my financial and corporate needs. I remain at heart a writer, truly my profession. Yet, still, it is not enough to call me a writer, for even in my writing I am more than merely a scribe.
I am family.
I am a granddaughter. I am a daughter. I am a niece. I am a sister. I am a cousin. I am a mother. I am an aunt. I am a grandmother. Some days, I am more than one at a time. Still other times, I am also a surrogate father. Truly, I cannot be solely or completely described by any familial status.
I have character.
I am honest, logical, spontaneous, forthright, obstinate, erudite, brave, intelligent, patient, verbose, kind, tenacious, impatient, intolerant, longsuffering, forgiving, hard-hearted, compassionate, demure, caring, passionate, cruel, strong, fair, capricious, valiant, vulnerable, steadfast, willful, faithful. The length of the list is not indicative of all of my characteristics. Singly or in solido, they do not represent my identity.
I am self-employed.
Being an entrepreneur means working for oneself. There are times when I am worth and earn my salary. There are other times when I do not pay for the work I have not done. I pay myself what I need to maintain a household for the children still living at home.
On the days when I have no interest in my profession, I do not work. Neither my rate of pay nor my inclination to perform changes my status or my identity.
I am disgusted.
The political arena, of which I was once a participating combatant, renders me to the point of tears. The level of corruption, malfeasance, non-feasance, incompetence, nepotism, glad-handing, duping, abuse and other equally unsavory actions are beyond what I would have ever dreamed the American public would allow.
Were it up to me, we would scrap the entire thing and begin with the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to craft a document with concise language with little to no room for interpretation. Yes, there are some Amendments which may not make the cut in my version of what government should and should not be.
While these attitudes and opinions have changed very little over the decades, my social outrage is not what defines me.
I am not silent.
I have no trepidation meeting others. I have nothing to hide. The things I have done have made me the person I am today. I do not prefer to be anonymous. I want others to know I existed and did everything in my power to make a positive difference. Anonymity does not define me.
I am other.
I am complete.
Others have the choice of acknowledging or ignoring my declaration; Neither diminishes its veracity.
Others may identify the qualities and responsibilities in me; Their recognition is incomplete because I am far more than the simple sum of my component occupations.
Others see my emotion, yet they cannot gauge or grasp its scope, variety and intensity; I am more than my expression at singular or aggregate events.
Others may see my need and assume I need assistance; The assumption leaves me cold, for they cannot perceive my capabilities.
Others see my self-sufficiency; They mistakenly discount my genuine desire for companionship and help.
Others perceive my compassionate love without knowing its power; The ignorance leaves me unlikely to share it.
Whatever you may perceive, I will always be more, for you cannot see all my dimensions without being inside my skin to see the things I hold sacred and safe against those who may be too careless to appreciate their value.
Has your answer changed from last night? How so? If not, why should it not?
PS If you blogged about this since last night, leave a link in the comments, please.