Identity is such a strange phenomenon. I feel that my identity has changed a lot over the years. When I was a child I identified myself as myself. I didn’t actually think about my identity in terms of my relationship with others.
As I grew into adulthood, my identity became linked with my career. When you are a teacher you are a teacher 24/7/365. I didn’t turn off being a teacher when I walked out of my classroom. I was just a teacher.
When I moved to FL, I got a dog. Abby went with me lots of places and I then became Abby’s owner who is a teacher. More people who we saw around knew Abby than knew me. It just is. Abby was a Shiba Inu and looked like a fox so she was hard not to fall in love with and notice.
When I met Richard I was still Abby’s owner who is a teacher. We began spending more and more time together and 1 year, 1 month and 2 days after our first date I became his wife. I then changed my last name. This was a big change in identity because it changed my name as a teacher. It changed my name in everything. But, I’m not sure it changed my identity as much as my name.
When I was pregnant with Blake I stopped working. This didn’t stop me from feeling like a teacher, as I said you can’t shut that identity off. But, now I was changing again. Now I’m Blake and Colby’s mom. When I go to the schools that is how I’m know. When we go to the playgrounds and other places I’m Blake/Colby’s mom.
Then I went back to teaching and I was identified as Blake/Colby’s mom the teacher.
I often wonder if the feeling I have, as well as many women have, of not feeling like I’m part of the equation has to do with identity. We put so much focus of life on our children, our careers, our marriage, that the part of us that was unique to us when we were younger often gets lost.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m proud to be identified as a teacher, a mother, a wife, a dog owner. and so many other things. But, there are times when I just want to be seen as Lori.