Remember the other day when I shared a list of my likes and dislikes with you? That post was really hard for me to write at first, and that got me thinking. Should it really be so hard to recognize simple things about yourself such as your preferences, favorites, or pet peeves? What does it mean when you can’t readily identify those things?
A big focus for me this year has been discovering my place in life and uncovering my new identity. I’ve made considerable progress and feel very comfortable in my own skin these days. So I was baffled at how I couldn’t seem to put that list together easily.
But I think it’s a bit like archaeology (or how I imagine it must be in a really roundabout way). At first, there are just small pieces of evidence that there is something significant underneath the surface. It might take a while before the first layers of soil are removed, but eventually excavation really gets going. It’s not a universal process: it can go smoothly and quickly or be difficult and technical, depending on what is uncovered at each layer. You might remove artifacts as you progress or find they are so fused together, you’ll never be able to get them apart. You might be able to do it alone, or you might need an entire team. But no matter how or when you get there, the work is far from over once excavation is complete. No, in fact that is when the real work begins. You’ve uncovered the remains. You’ve discovered what is there. Now you have to identify it, study it, understand it.
And that is where I have been. I thought just unearthing the new person would be enough. But now that I’ve found her, I get to study her. I have to explore and test and stretch constraints. I have to try on new things and shrug off others. And something as seemingly trivial as listing my likes and dislikes is actually a significant part of that process.
Yes, I know this is all very angsty-teenage-identity-crises, but it’s real. And man, it feels good. There were days right after losing The Hubs when I couldn’t imagine even existing this far, and days much more recently when I thought that I would likely always cling to my old identity and new ‘label’ because I moving beyond it all seemed too painful and difficult. So to be honest, I’ll gladly take the teenage ‘who am I’ re-do than give up and just stay stuck.
My inner teen is cheering for herself, excited that I get to decide these things all over again, this time with the benefit of wisdom and experience. And I know The Hubs is cheering as well, so proud of his girl who is stronger and more herself than she ever was before.
I can’t wait to see what is uncovered next.
What are you excavating in your life? What layers are you liberating? I’d love you to share your story in the comments.