Who Am I?

Talking with a friend over the last couple days, and she said to me.. “You’re really lost, aren’t you?”

Because for 14 years, but especially the last 5 or so and particularly in the last 2 1/2, my life has been about Mark.  I relate my life in terms of “Mark & Jane”

How it will affect Mark.

How it will affect Mark’s health.

How it will affect Mark’s self-esteem.

Whether or not Mark can do it.

Whether or not Mark can watch the kids while I do it.

Whether or not I can do it because Mark’s having a bad day and the boys are too much for him.

What career choice and how far will it go based on what we need because Mark’s never going to work again.

How active of a social life I will have based on how comfortable Mark is with other people.

How late we will stay at a party because he’s done and needs to go home.

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t resent it.  I had complaints some of the time but I loved him, was IN love with him, to such a degree that I enjoyed his company and was happy to spend most of my time with him.

He supported me in my goals/plans/hobbies.

He loved me enough to give me the opportunity to fly.

He pushed me, encouraged me, supported me, was the perfect complement to me.

But now he’s gone, and I’m “just Jane”

I don’t know who Jane is anymore…  I don’t know what *I* want.

Remember the movie “Runaway Bride?”  She became whoever her fiance’s wanted – because she didn’t have a strong sense of who she was or even how she liked her eggs….  I feel a bit like that.

I know how I like my eggs, but I don’t know who I am when I’m not “Mark’s Wife”  I wanted to be a wife from the time I was little.  My marriage wasn’t how I envisioned it, but I adjusted, I flourished, I made it the best I possibly could.

But now I’m not Mark’s wife – I’m his widow.  And I don’t want to be known as just “Mark’s widow”  I want to be Jane… and know who she is.

I’m tired of being a chameleon.  I feel it happening in any social group I’m in.  Put me in a big group though, and I’ll get quiet and hide in a corner (or on a deck) watching people because I don’t know how to chameleon with multiple groups of people and have it “work” and be comfortable.

I relate to people on a lot of different levels.  It’s not deceptive when I chameleon – its a matter of just relaxing into that part of my personality and minimizing the other parts of me.   The problem with this, is that I never get to truly be ME.

I could, and did with Mark.   Around other people though? I would stifle my opinion on something if I thought it would offend them.  I would not “agree” so much as not disagree with someone – the implication being that I did agree with them.

So now – I get to figure out who I am on my own.

I’ve had a beautiful life with Mark.   I’d go back to it in a heartbeat if that was an option. I miss him more than words can express.  My heart aches at all the things I don’t get to share with him and he doesn’t get to be a part of as our children go through their lives.

But I get to figure out who *I* am. Me.  Learn to live on my own.  Learn to make (and follow) my own rules.  Figure out how I like my eggs (scrambled, dry thank you very much).  Figure out what things turn my crank and how far & fast I can crank it because its’ just me and my life, and I get to create a life that works for me and my kids.

I have two choices in becoming a widow.   Get lost in the past and wallow in my grief… or try to move through my grief, create the life I want, that Mark would be proud of and that our kids can look back on and say “Hey – life was pretty good. ”

Right now, I’m feeling pretty good.  I went for a walk with my friend Sarah today that pushed me a bit and I enjoyed myself.  I have good endorphins going through my body and I’m feeling positive about life.   Sarah helps me with that.  She’s pretty awesome that way.

I want to know who I am.

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4 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. InstantWidow says:

    You are not “Just Jane” or “Mark’s Widow”. You are Jane. The person you marry does not determine who you are. They are supposed to compliment who you are.

    I had much the same feeling as you do now when I left home and went to college. My Momma had always told me who I was and what I was supposed to like and how I was supposed to feel. In social situations I was awkward and lost. I was unbearably uncomfortable on my own and had no confidence in myself because I had no ideaa who I was – in most all aspects. It was devastating to be on my own.

    When I was growing up, Momma determined everthing. She only bought Cheerios for us. My first effort in determining what I truly liked was at the grocery store … I started with Alphabits and, over a period of time, I went through every single brand of cereal on the shelves.

    The point is that in order to be a whole person you have to be willing to reach beyond what you’ve become comfortable with and experiment (within reason ’cause you’ve got kids) to re-build your authentic self.

    Being alone is not the end of the world. But it can be uncomfortable. Turn it into an adventure. Shake things up. Try new things. Involve your kids. Make new experiences for them. Seek out opportunities to teach them (and yourself) how to be courageous and flexible without being afraid. These are character traits they will need in their own lives.

    My favorite cereal is Golden Grahams, by the way. 🙂

  2. sunnyjane says:

    He did compliment me, in so many ways. He was yin to my yang, he was calm when I was crazy, he was silly when I was serious. Trying to figure out how to find that balance in me, without his influence, is going to be the challenge as I move through the next phase of my life.

  3. Lucia Soqui says:

    I think people are always changing in life. We change when our routine is different, or when we’re enlightened and our perspective broadens. What has happened to you of course will make you different, but how you respond to the hardest moments represents who you are. The way you talk about your experience shows your strength. I’m sure there were things in your life that your husband wasn’t part of; activities that were just about you. For me it’s running, yoga, oil painting. I’m sure if you find what you always loved doing, you’ll remember who you are.

  4. nekkidsoul says:

    This post really resonates with me. Not because I share any of the details, but I understand the journey of self-discovery; of answering the question: Who am I? It is sometimes strange, sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always worthwhile. Good luck with your journey!

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