Saturday, May 31, 2008

Who Am I?

Today we have a writer that I'm very familiar with because she's from my country! She's a PWACer, just like me! And an FLXer. (I think she's stalking me!) So, ladies, please put your hands together for Marijke Vroomen-Durning.

Hi, my name is Marijke and I’m – well – that’s the problem. Who am I?

I’ve never been one to suffer from an identity crisis. I’ve always had a spot in the world, however fragile it could be at times. But, sometimes I’m so many people that I begin to wonder who I really am.

The unarguable facts are that I’m a newly minted 47-year-old mother of three (for 21 years and counting) and wife of one (almost 23 years and counting). But I’m also a nurse, a writer, an editor, a quilter, a freelancer, owner of Dee, the greyhound (although Dee may argue that she’s the owner!), sister, daughter, friend, mentor and acquaintance. I’ve participated in groups where I felt I belonged and I’ve been part of groups where I’ve felt like an outsider. There have been times when I’ve felt invisible and other times when I felt like the elephant in the middle of the room. But which one of those is me?

I love being a mother but, I’ve never lived through my children. Some mothers become the super-mother and everything they do and think is about their children. I’ve never been able to do that. I always thought I was a bit on the selfish side because, I couldn’t do that. I am their mother, but a mother is not who I am. Does that make sense? I would take a bullet for my kids and I can’t imagine life without them. I feel for them and every hurt they have, it seems that I feel it 100 times over. I take such pride in their accomplishments, I think I’ll burst sometimes, and I quietly mourn their disappointments. But being a mother wasn’t and isn’t my meaning in life. At least, not that I know of.

With my oldest living on his own now, my middle one in university and my “baby” graduating from high school next month, my life is shifting from mom of children to mom of adults. It’s a very different way of thinking and it takes a different mindset. My role as mother is no longer the primary thing in my life. While they may need me from time to time to help them, they don’t need me. My job is pretty well done.

So, am I to identify more as a wife? No – I love my husband, but I don’t identify myself as a wife. Am I a nurse? For years, that is how I identified myself – I felt like being a nurse went to my very core because of my knowledge and because of my experience. But, I haven’t worked clinically in over a year now and only sporadically before that for several years, so can I/should I say I’m a nurse?

Am I a writer? Now that’s the one that gives me pause. Am I a writer? I think about writing all the time. I dream about it sometimes. I see things that need to be written; I hear stories that need to be told. I sit in front of the computer and start to write – and the words just flow, as they are doing now.

I read a good piece of writing and I get it. I get how the person made the words flow and helped me feel what he wanted me to feel. I read bad writing and cringe, because there are so many good writers out here in the real world.

Some writers see their work as just that – work. But that’s how I saw nursing. It was a job; sometimes I did it better than other times; I could be mediocre, and I could be really good. But writing, my writing. All I want to do is write. So, maybe I’ve finally discovered who it is that I am.

I am Marijke, mother of three adult children, wife of one, I used to be a nurse, and now I’m a writer.

And I like to think that I’m a pretty good one.

Marijke (which is pronounced muh-RYE-kah/keh) lives in Montreal, Canada and has taken her nursing background to carve a spot in the health writing world. She has started writing about other things, such as quilting. She writes for several blogs but the two she loves to work on most are Help My Hurt, a blog about pain and living with pain, and her newest one, Womb Within, a blog about the health and issues in pregnancy.

1 comment:

C Erickson said...

Marijke, I can really appreciate this post. My "identity" is something I think about quite often, since it seems to change so frequently, as life changes.

Thanks for sharing your identity with us!