Friday, August 04, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: "Who else might I have been?"

We met the neighbors in the heat of our first day here. Jennifer and Mark were the first to welcome us. A little later Emily brought over a plate of peaches, then Julia asked if we needed anything from the market since she was going anyway. Later that evening her and Julie knocked on our door with a gift of chilled cantaloupe soup with fresh mint nestled refreshingly atop clear glass mugs. This place is definitely a step up from what we left behind where the neighbors fought and threw things out windows instead of being friendly--or even civil.

The bringers of cantaloupe soup were quick to let us know that we've moved from one small town to another. They said, "We call this place 'Little Mayberry.'" And, so far, it's turning out to be true--although "Little Mayberry" is much more affable than Bemidji ever was (at least where we lived anyway). People actually smile and say hello here for god's sake. It is, needless to say, a welcome change.

But one thing that has come along with this change is a heightened awareness of myself. I like to wear crappy, comfortable clothes when I'm working on the house; I wake up with very scary bed-head and like to go outside to snuggle Anu when I first wake up. I'm aware of the fact that our neighbors make a lot more money than us (especially considering we don't' even have jobs yet!), they're older or have babies, and that many of these people have lived here a long time before we ever got here. We are the ones that live in "Beth's old house." For 2 years before us, a family of three: Aslam, Jennifer and Zane, lived here. Still, it's "Beth's place"...but maybe that's a sidetrack. What I'm trying to say is that they are as curious about us as we are about them. On the outside I might be judged by my flip-flops, velour capris, and hair standing on end, but beyond that...

my question is: Who am I?

What I like about this question is that starting over in a new city, in a new neighborhood, allows me the liberty to be anyone I want to be. Yet, at the same time, I am still me--I am everything that has brought me to this point.

When introducing myself to someone new, I've been noticing a pattern in what I reveal about myself. In no particular order, I might say something like:
  • My husband and I just finished our Master's degree--but I'm still working on my thesis.
  • I'm married (this usually becomes know when I say "My husband and I....")
  • I have a dog. Her name is Anu and she's our baby.
  • I worked with plants and flowers for many years at my family's floral business, but more recently I taught English and loved it.
  • I used to have a house out in the country.
  • I never imagined myself living in Minneapolis, but now that I'm here I love it.
  • My sister also lives in the neighborhood, but on the other side of the freeway.
  • My brother lives nearby too.
  • I love the woods.
  • I'm grateful to be living in a place that is more peaceful than what I left behind.
Things that I haven't said about myself, but that I'm sure will become obvious over time is that:
  • I write.
  • I paint.
  • I need a job (but hopefully that will change before long).
These are things that, in many ways, I am defined by. I've noticed, over the past several days, a thought dancing around in the periphery of my mind. Who else might I have been? Who else might I be? Right now it is a clean slate. My options are limitless.

There's a certain freedom in all of this newness. I could easily be someone else if I want, but oddly, I find myself fitting more comfortably than ever into who I really am. It feels good to be in my own skin, to be me--all of me--containing both my past and present and whatever is to come. Here I am moving forward from the middle of myself and, for the first time in forever, I feel my movements originate from my center as I step out into the newness of who I've been all along.


erin said...

that is why i love moving to new places. oddly, i always feel i can be more myself than i can around people/places i know. doesn't make much sense, i know, but there it is. i feel more comfortable because they don't expect anything in particular from me yet. or rather, maybe they do, but i just don't know about it, which is fine with me too. sounds like a nice neighborhood.

paris parfait said...

Love this post, Jessie - the celebration of who you are and who you are becoming, with all these new opportunities beckoning. And how wonderful to have neighbours bearing "welcome" gifts. Sounds as though you're off to a wonderful start!

Belle said...

Hi Jessie,

Thoughtful post. I made me think.

Best of wishes with the neighbors, a job, and the new place.

Anonymous said...

"Here I am moving forward from the middle of myself and, for the first time in forever, I feel my movements originate from my center as I step out into the newness of who I've been all along."

this statement gave me chills, jessie! such a beautiful post; what an exciting time for you and vinny!

swampgrrl said...

there is wisdom in this post.
it comes from experience, failure
and successes.

sounds like there is some freedom
you're enjoying in the newness
of your new home, but even more
freedom in knowing who you are.

Mark said...

Lovely piece, Jessie. I think your move has made you aware of a power to choose who your self might be. I also think you--and we--have that power all the time, whether moving or not. We forget that.

Kerstin said...

What a wonderful conclusion: to be pondering the opportunities for redefinition of the self within the context of new beginnings; and then to realise that you are actually comfortable with who you are right now. And excited about who you might still be, which was my own conclusion in my post on the subject.

Well written, thank you.

Endment said...

This is one great post!!! lots of food for thought for all of us...
Have fun writing on your new slate :)

commongal said...

I'm jealous of both the freshness of your opportunity and the pleasure you so obviously take in writing about it! You write about this opportunity beautifully, as well.

Gemma said...

You reveal alot about yourself. Being an artist is sometimes difficult to admit. In fact it takes years sometimes to own it.

Roadchick said...

It's wonderful to know that you have the freedom to become whoever you would like to be . . . it's more wonderful to love who you already are.

jblack designs said...

Great post. I haven't moved in a while, but it's so true. I love the freedom that comes with going somewhere new, yet no matter where I go, I take myself with me. (For good and for bad...) Fun read.


Jen(nifer) said...

I love following your journey into the new home! :) The fact that Jennifer and Mark were your first visitors made me smile...(me and my non-hubby) I am feeling the same sense of peaceful ness and Me-ness in my new place and I need to get it all down in words...

Although I have to say reading yours makes me jealous of my life yet to come in the future...thanks for sharing!

Kristine said...

Sounds like you have great neighbors. What great freedom to be able to start anew! Sounds like it'll be not only a time of reflection but one of continued growth as well.