Everyone has a persona they put out in the world. Some use their identity to define who they are as a person. I was guilty of using my career as my identity. It was where I obtained the self esteem to take care of my family. My identity has evolved over the past 10 years, I like who I am becoming
In 2011 when I started over after losing my job at a major credit card company. I job I dedicated 20 years of my life to. A job that had evolved with me as I grew up and learned new things. A job that functioned as a family to me by providing father figures, doting aunts, and friends to my boys and I. I was devistated and a little lost. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself so the process of reinventing began.
That year I started a new job, I decided early on that I was going to just take the job and do my best. I was going to work to live and not live to work. That job took me to the city of Ogden where I met some of the best people I’ve ever had an opportunity to meet. I became the doting aunt, the mother figure, and the example to follow for these people. They helped me become my best self and helped me welcome my new child into the world. After a startling diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, they taught me to be a health warrior. I learned about the spoon theory. I gained strength and determination.
3 years later, as my new identity as a leader emerged I took a different job, this time in Layton. Some of the people from Ogden followed me there. My identity shifted and evolved here too. I became a care giver to my late husband, a role model for my older sons, and mommy to a little boy. I was tired. I felt broken. It was here that I learned to trust people again. As I shared my daily battles, these people rallied around me. They grieved with me when I became a widow. They taught me about cocoons and emerging as a butterfly. They gave me perspective on moving forward. Leaving that job was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I left due to lack of respect, I was good enough to do the job of the senior leader but intimidating enough for them to not give me the job. My identity, my self worth was becoming clearer.
Up to this point all of my identity revolved around my work. It was the one thing I was really good at. During grief counseling with T, his counselor gave me a compliment on motherhood. She told me, she wished other mothers were as in tune with their child’s emotions as I was with T’s. As my older boys started to launch out into the world I realized Momma J did a decent job with them too. Being a good mom started to take over my “work” identity. I was still good at my jobs but that was not who I was any more. I was Stetzon, Lex, and T’s mom, and I was a bad ass.
When I started dating Adam, I didn’t think it would be a long term commitment. I thought we would realize we just wanted to be friends and that would be that. Boy was I wrong! I don’t know if I would have gotten as healthy mentally as I have without him. He holds me accountable and doesn’t let me make excuses. We moved to Colorado and both of our identities changed. He went from being a declared bachelor for life to family man. Mine became a work from home mom and homeschooler. I’ve come to find that identity is fluid, if you don’t like something you can changed it or life will help you change it.
I’m getting married in 4 months. My name will change and my old name will represent a different life. I don’t know who this new woman is or who she will become. What legacy will she leave behind? What I do know is this, identity can be the facade you put on to survive the world. When you can have the same identity in all places, when you can just be who you were called and created to be, you have found your real identity. I have learned that I will not change who I am so others can be comfortable.
I always thought I “grew up” in the credit card world but I think I’m still growing up. I’m still evolving. I think that is how it is supposed to work. No one stays the same forever, change is hard. Embrace the change. Stay tuned, this new woman is going to be amazing!