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.
- I write.
- I paint.
- I need a job (but hopefully that will change before long).
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.