Our experiences impact how we became who we are, but our experiences do not define us. For example, I have children, but I am far more than a mother. I was abused, but I am far more than a victim or a survivor. I have had work published, but I am not only an author. In fact, I’m not even the same person I was when I wrote the published piece. Writing it changed me.
Instead, I am all of these at once, but I am also something else: I am who I choose to be.
Who I am is an active, conscious decision about how I interpret and embrace the various parts of myself both past and present, and how I offer them to the world. It is me asking myself what I want and what I am capable of as well as what I will give.
I could choose to see myself as a culmination of negatives, hardship and struggle. Yes, I have overcome and I am still overcoming. But there is more to me than what has hurt me. Staying locked in my history will not serve me now. It will cause regression and recurrent pain. I choose healing (and no, I can’t think myself healed). But I can write or employ other skills I know to help myself be healthy and safe with me.
My birthday was not long ago. I have been thinking about how far I’ve come in the last year and where I want to go. I have had a mixture of wonderful and painful experiences that have helped me identify my boundaries and needs. This has been challenging. I am looking forward to a fresh start. But there is no sense in waiting.
I am who I choose to be. And I choose to be a woman who knows and respects her own boundaries. I also choose to give back as much as I can while still remaining safe in myself. While this has to do with the steps I took to get here, it has as much to do with my next step forward, my next choice about who I am.