Sunday, February 12, 2006


A person is involved with all that they are doing all of the time. I think in a way language helps to obscure or clarify this reality, in that a person can say they are a 'linguist' or a 'mother' or a 'Christian' or a 'Muslim' or 'wife' whatever and everyone, including themselves may forget that in fact they are much much more than just the sum of what all of these words mean, what roles and responsibilities they define... and to take this as an assumption for your own identity can lead you astray, you can end up too comfortable never questioning 'who you realy are', 'what you really believe in as your life's work etc'... you can forget that we are all incredible human beings all interacting with each other all the time on so many levels... with a real ability to change things, influence and create them.

I am referring to a situation I find myself in particular, in a peculiar way I am getting used to a change in status and conceptualisation, from being in a 'couple' to being 'single'. This, in my world at least, in a substantial difference both in how others might percieve me, but more crucially in how I perceive myself, which is very strange thing to come to terms with gaining a sense of identity ( maybe like being a teenager again) and I find myself engaging with the world in an entirely new way.

I am also realising that it is a completely new way each moment, I have never been in this situation before, or more accurately 'myself' has never been in this situation before.... this strange feeling is embodied by my moving into a house by myself for the first time in a while ( in a town where I dont really know anyone) and setting it all up and getting to know myself in the moments of being alone... I suppose I am constantly being faced with all this 'me'-ness, I feel aware of doing everything that I do, all the choices I have, and I have time to pause and reconsider, savour all the labels, or words i would normally and naturally associate myself with one big one being 'in a relationship with Adam')... I feel very aware ( most of the time) that I am not on autopilot, I dont have a standard set of assumptions to work off about how these situations work, I am making it up as I go, that is I am creating or influencing ( consciously) many of the situations around me.

It is making me gradually much more assertive and confident, I tell you, but it is also very scary and I feel fundamentally shaken sometimes, unsure and undefined. Wanting to crawl back into some safe space, where I know 'me' and dont have to wonder and feel it out from some heart space all the time... to think things like 'oh I am researching' and 'I am an aunty to these two twins' and 'I have a scholarship' etc. and i actually find they do not really get that close to helping me understanding my own soul, it could be that they even distract me from it a little with their comfort and their existing roles. I am finding the need to reconceptualise myself only in terms of my self ( for a few moments a day at least, until it gets a bit scary)... when i look around it makes me realise many most people probably deal with this every day too... maybe they dont know what they are doing or what is expected of them they are just making it up, trying to get along. Maybe this is what growing up feels like... growing out.


Anonymous bulanjdjan said...

Bloody hell you're on the money there Soph. You're right, you ain't been in the space you're in now as a single person. Not only are you experiencing the world differently b/c of your on-going ageing and wising, but also b/c of what you have learnt and experienced from your relationship. It's like getting to know yourself and the world all over again. Have to say that while it isn't easy, I'm actually really loving it. A chance to be truer, more honest and contemplative. I've taken comfort from astrological explainings a la 'Saturn return'. And yes, that age old adage, simply growing up. Finally.

10:14 am  
Blogger Catalin said...

Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts and feelings in such a clear and interesting way!

You made me think of a classroom exercise I learned for breaking down stereotypes. It goes something like this: you write your name down and then you write four (or more) nominals that define/describe you (linguist, sister, etc.). Then for each of those, you write sentences like this, "I'm a [linguist], but I'm not..." When I did this, it was interesting because the identity nominals that I chose weren't ones that I had negative associations with, but it somehow got me to think of those identities in a different way. For example, I'd put down "ecologist" or "earth-lover" or something like that and then I had to think of ways that I didn't fit someone else's stereotypes of that.

Anyway, it's interesting to reimagine your self and also maybe to realise that those images of yourself (for example as part of a couple or as single) are not necessarily the primary ways that others see you.

The alteration from coupledom to singledom is obviously big for your own experience of yourself, but it's a tiny detail in the constellation of things _I_ think of when I think of you. Your capability of having a long-term respectful and loving relationship is part of how I see you, but whether or not you are in a relationship doesn't change who you are (to me).

1:06 pm  

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