Since I was a little girl, people have always told me I had “mommy” tendencies – I always thought it meant that people believed I was super mature. Growing up idolizing my mother, I adopted her conservative style and gracefulness. Now at 27, I find myself feeling like I am nothing like the women of my generation.
When I think of myself, the only two titles/descriptors that stick out are “mom” and “teacher.” I embody both of these titles in everything I do, the way I dress, how I treat people and the perception people have of me. While I have absolutely made mistakes, I’ve spent the better part of my life being the “responsible, mature one”. When I had my son, I feel like this behavior and persona was amplified because it was no longer about me. My son depends on me to be responsible and mature in order to be the best mother I can be. Recently, that has left me feeling like that’s all I am. While I know being a mother and a teacher are my active roles, I am still just a woman. A woman seeking to feel attractive, fun, and cool.
I look at women (and mothers) in my age bracket and feel like I am nothing like them. I don’t go out often and if I do, I’m home by midnight and I most likely went to a simple dinner with friends. I don’t know anything about the “hottest” clubs or bars. I don’t even know what clothes are “trendy.” I don’t wear weaves or lashes often – I don’t really know how to be “sexy.”
I often contemplate if having these feelings is normal or if I’m just experiencing moments of insecurity. I realize that along this self-love/self-awareness journey there are many phases and loving yourself is a constant battle. I just happen to be at a phase in which I’ve lost some sense of my identity.
Today I am guilty of reviewing my life and focusing on what’s missing. I realize that I feel as if I lost parts of my identity because:
- I do not put myself as a priority
- I stopped putting as effort into how I look
- My friend circle changed once I had a baby
- My career aspirations have taken a backseat
- I no longer have the freedom I once had
After some self-reflection and a conversation with my mother, I am clear that if I want ME back, I have to fight for HER because no one else will. I must be intentional about what I want and the live I want to live. I intend to make specific changes in order to redefine my identity. Today I commit to:
- Change who I follow. This sounds simple, but it is really powerful. Studies have shown that social media has huge impacts on mental health, self-esteem, body image, communication, etc. Make the choice to follow people/accounts that demonstrate positivity and align with where you are in your life.
- Design my own “cool”. Who decides what is cool? I guess I do now. LOL Deciding what activities, styles, and places are cool to me rather than what’s popular to the large millennial majority. Maybe I’m the cool one.
- Eliminate people who judge me for being me. This is probably the hardest one for me. Eliminating people from my life is difficult because I typically give people too many chances. Essentially, if people don’t like who I am when I’m being myself then that’s a personal problem for them.