|One of my favorite identities: Hopeful gardener. I usually perform Haphazard gardener though. |
Image by Wanda Bowers. Used with permission.
This week, as I groveled to my flying instructor who probably thought I died, and penned a few posts, and spent a few hours in the garden, I got to thinking about identity--How we describe ourselves and what we perform everyday.
People often talk about identity as something relatively fixed and stable, and that there is a "true" self in there somewhere. Since grad school, I've thought about identity as more of a performance, something we do and re-do constantly. For instance, I often perform "good wife" by being thoughtful and helpful and loving to T, but I rarely perform "good housekeeper," because cleaning, yuck. But sometimes I do. And I usually perform "crappy car owner," rarely washing or maintaining (sorry Corolla-mobile), but since buying the ZHP, I routinely perform "hand wash and waxer." (Miracles!)
|A few of my favorite identities: Wife, dog mom, pilot, auntie/sister, gardener, life saver. Note you don't see the ones I'm not proud of... There are no images for procrastinator, emotional eater, or occasional bitch monster!|
For my months of busy-ness, I've carried around such immense guilt about not being the selves I say I am/want to be. Can I still call myself a student pilot if I never fly or study? Can I still be a gardener when my photinias are 10-feet tall? Are bloggers who don't blog still bloggers?
But not being one to embrace guilt trips, especially from myself, I've started to concentrate on the seasonal nature of life. And I'm thinking about identity like I do work/life balance--namely that I don't try to balance all the things, all at the same time. There's no way I can be a great teacher and researcher and gardener and pilot and blogger all at once. Not enough hours in the day for someone who also likes to binge Netflix with her husband and get eight hours of sleep.
So I've reminded myself that there are seasons to certain activities and associated activities. When the semester is crazy (like now), it's okay if I'm slow at writing or research. I'll catch up in the summer. And ditto for gardening and flying. And I can still be who I want to be, because I say so, dammit.
I may just need reminding now and again.
Other links you might like:
Related references for nerd types:
discourses and identities by Sarah Tracy and Angela Trethewey