Thursday, May 16, 2013

What am I?

I chopped my hair off a few years ago. And then I had an identity crisis.

Because when you have long hair and then suddenly you have short hair, your world changes. You meet people for the first time and know that their first impression of you is completely different than it might have been if they met you just the day before.

Any sophistication that I felt I may have had with my long hair was gone, and immediately I felt that I was supposed to be flirty and cute as I flung my new bob around.

Dramatic, right?
It was.
But I couldn't deny the fact that I felt a bit panicky about this aspect of my identity changing.

It reminds me that I connect myself to a lot of things that don't really matter. It's not just my hair. For a while it was my job. It's easy to get caught up in defining ourselves by the things we do or the image we portray. Maybe yours isn't the length of your hair.... but maybe it's something else?

And a lot of times I don't think we even really know what these things are until they are gone. The absence of these things in our lives makes us realize how much we identified ourselves by them, it makes us realize how much we clung to them as part of who we are.

I didn't realize how much I liked being a long-haired girl until I was suddenly a short-haired girl. I didn't realize how much I identified myself as an employee at my camp until I was no longer to make phone calls and say, 'Hi, this is Debbie with Camp Eagle...". Or when wearing Chacos didn't seem like appropriate attire for a job interview.

Sometimes the absence of these things send me reeling into the identity crisis.
If I'm not a student, what am I?
If I'm not a girlfriend, what am I?
If I'm not a counselor, what am I?
If I'm not a employee, what am I?
If I'm not an athlete, what am I?
If I'm not a musician, what am I?
If I'm not a sweatshirt-wearing, braid-adorning girl, what am I?

The list goes on.

I guess I want to be able to recognize that even when all that stuff is stripped away... that the core of who I am doesn't change. Even when I graduate, or switch jobs, or break up with someone, or chop off all my hair, or dress differently, or lose my voice, or break a leg... that I'm not lost in the midst of that.

Because those things aren't the things that define me.
There's more.
There's deeper.
There's a claim on my life that's never-changing.
A claim that reminds me that I'm chosen.

It's reassuring to me. It reminds me that I don't need to cling so desperately to the things that don't ultimately define me. I don't need to have an identity crisis when I lose them, or if circumstances change.

I hope it's reassuring to you, too.

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