Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ramblings on Identity

One of the benefits of teaching high school is spirit days. Once or twice a year there are several days with various themes. This week is spirit week at the high school where I teach. Tuesday was Culture Day. In the last few years I have sharply limited my wardrobe, so I don't have many dress up clothes. This called for some creative thinking. So I was going to represent a subculture, punk. I got red hair paint and a t-shirt from my husband. I pulled out my make up and bobby pins and got to work. I rarely do my hair and make up and certainly never with an end goal in mind. I was a bit concerned about how it would turn out. In the end I had nothing to worry about. I did a pretty great job. (I did not do such a great job on the photo.)

When I was done, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "I could get used to this." I really liked the way it looked. It felt like this is really me. If I didn't have to live up to the expectations of family, friends, co-workers, etc., then I would dress like this more often. A part of me thinks that is really annoying and wants to rebel against expectations. However I realize that I wouldn't want to pay for that many salon visits or the make up. The part that really makes me the saddest is my son's response to me yesterday. He didn't want to look at me because my eye makeup was 'weird'. Also he asked if I could 'paint my hair brown' when I got home. So even if I got over my frugality and fear of disappointing people, my son wouldn't like it. I know he's 6. Most 6 year olds and him in particular don't like change. And if I did it long enough he would get used to it and tell me I look beautiful, like he does on normal days. So it isn't a permanent thing and it isn't a judgment against me, it is him being 6. However it still makes me sad. It leaves me wondering. Who am I really? Is that person okay for my current cultural settings? Do people like me or my presentation of me?

I know that those closest to my heart, already know that the crazy hair and make up suits me. They wouldn't expect anything less. And I love you so much for giving me that freedom to be myself crazy looks and all.

Last week I took two tests which if I pass will allow me to teach English. I was nervous about the tests at first. As studying time went on I came up with several fun ideas and started getting excited about it. In fact, I'm still excited about it. I haven't found out my scores yet, but I feel good about them. I also feel good about the possibility of becoming an English teacher at my current high school. At some point in the excitement, I started wondering why I was excited. A new challenge is exciting for me.

So then has my current work become stale and not challenging? Evidently it has. Why? Because I wasn't challenging myself. (And I have a plan to fix that for my Spanish classes.) So does that make me the type of person who needs a challenge to be really engaged in what I'm doing? I guess so. Does that mean I'm someone who can't be satisfied with where I am? Um... I hope not, but maybe. I don't want to be that kind of a person. I want to be someone who is satisfied with where God has put me. I don't want to need a change to excite me about life. On the other hand, I don't want to be so satisfied that I stop reaching for better.

Maybe I'm thinking too deeply into an outfit and a test, but that's just who I am.


  1. Ha! Let's try this again. You were made for change, for adventure, for a challenge. It's how we grow and learn to trust and how we thrive! Yes, to be content with where we are is definitely needed but knowing that we were made for those things helps us to not lay expectations on others. Learning who you are, what you need, what will draw you closer to the Father's heart is essential in your walk with God. Try, experiment. Go for more, and be content with where you are. I'm starting down a new path of my own and I am so freaked out but I am so glad to be freaking out because it means I will learn, grow, all of that, etc. And, God bless our kids, they will get thrown by anything new that we do. It will help to not take personally the things that they say and let them know that it's okay to experiment and to try out new things. They see you doing something different and they will know that it's okay to do the same. I bless you to let your true heart shine, no matter what that looks like. Don't be afraid to question the source, either. Find the source and you'll find whether it's from God or coming from elsewhere.

  2. This makes a lot of sense. Thank you. This is just a step in the process and not something that has been hidden that I'm just uncovering. That makes me feel better. For some reason it bothered me that this was something inside of me that I was just finding out was there.

    "I am so glad to be freaking out because it means I will learn, grow, all of that, etc." Yes. I so get this. And I agree wholeheartedly.

    I hadn't thought of this whole thing benefiting Ben. This is a chance for me to be a good example to Ben.

    Those are all very good words. Thank you so much sweet friend.