Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Defining Who We Are

My husband came home last evening and something he said made me wonder, how we define ourselves, who we are and why everyone else seems to have different opinions than we even do of who we are.

As many of you know, I am a substitute teacher and that alone can be cause for a monetary panic depending on what month of the year it is, but it is a job and I really like working with the kids and the schools I work for.

We just got over spring break and that meant, a much needed, refreshing 9 days off. It did mean for a short month, but I had 9 days working and that is good. However, after making between $50-$60,000 a year, hubby doesn't think it is so grand. In todays trying times, I think is is wonderful!

For the last several days, we had beautiful weather and I planted flowers, cleaned the house, caught up on laundry, took the kids to the park and kept busy. You see, school started and I didn't have any work and if I am not working, I feel it is up to me to clean house, bathe children, do laundry, keep the fires burning in the fireplace, prepare meals and I don't mind it at all.

Yesterday, I went outside and began cleaning off our back deck. I got about half way before it got to cold to finish it, but it looks much better. I wasn't told to do it, but I wanted to be outside and be busy.

I also took my checks and paid all of my bills, saw my doctor, purchased meat from the butcher for the month, washed my car, etc. The other night, I told hubby I was exhausted. He told me, 'how can you be tired after 9 days off?' Last night another comment was when I showed him the patio, 'Its nice to see the last 2 days you have finally done something with your time off.' He says he was joking, but he really wasn't.

So, in my husbands eyes, I am a paycheck. It doesn't matter that I was exhausted, my fibromyalgia kicks up when I do to much,. that the house was clean, no, to hubby, seeing me home is a reminder I am no longer the bread winner. Without a large check coming in sometimes I think that places me in his eyes as less of a woman.

So, should I define myself as a paycheck? If I am not bringing in 5 figures does that mean I am less of a woman? If I have a bad day and my hands and feet are swollen, red and I ache all over, am I defined by my Fibromyalgia? I wonder, does my doctor only see a woman who has chronic pain or does he see me as a whole person?

I can define myself as a different person to different people. To some people (students), I am the cop lady, to others I am the one who plays dodge ball with them during recess, the one who always brings coffee to work and who eats lunch in the room alone so she can rest and yet, if they need to talk to me, they know they can come into the room. I am the teacher who gives them fun tests that try their brains, but they succeed.

To my grandchildren, I am Ranny. No more, no less. They do not define me as the person who has or doesn't have money, cooks or makes sandwiches, to them it doesn't matter as long as I hug them, read to them and generally love them to pieces.

To my children, I am the person to call and talk to and ask favors of because I can find the answers quickly. For my oldest son, I am the calmer of fears in trying to locate his daughter or when his kids visit him for the first time in years this week-end, I will be the one he turns to.

I am all of these people and how we define ourselves isn't going to change the way we feel.

Today, I am the exhausted woman whose in pain and wants to sleep until morning.

My real question isn't how we define ourselves but why we do this? If I define myself as just a paycheck, I would be in tears all the time because I don't have a high paying full-time great job. If I define myself as a cook, then maybe all I would want to do is cook. If I define myself as just a grandmother, how am I looked upon?

I try not to define myself, however job interview after job interview makes me stick all of me into a small little box and define the type of worker I am.

I have always worked hard since I was 16 years old, I have held jobs working with the elderly, the disabled, I have flipper burgers and wiped noses. I have worked in hospitals, nuclear power plants and doctors offices as well as a 13 year stint as a police dispatcher and yet, I am solely defined my many as just my poor credit score.

So, how do you define yourselves or get around the question, tell us who you are?

How do you define yourself?

Post 500 on its way!


Anonymous said...

I define myself as a woman of faith. I have faith that the things that I do will matter to someone at some time. I also define myself as a woman of compassion. I value my ability to serve more than my ability to receive. I am also a woman of unconditional love. To truly love it must be unconditional. I am not a paycheck. I am a contributor. I am a partner. I do my part. You too are a woman of faith, compassion and unconditional love. (Just ask your kids and grandkids!)

Angeliquez said...

You are a great person.
I guess you should accept the definitions of you that you like and believe.
You a a great person,
And you have done a great job.
smile and be satisfied knowing that you have done your job.
You are still on it day and night.
maybe a lot dont share my view,but The bread winning part is not your job.and yet you do it as you have in the past..which means that you have done way more than your share.
i believe that you have done your part and done it well.
It doesnt matter what you look infronta others eyes..
You know who you are,and its all about what you think of yourself.

Rannyjean said...

Thank you both for your comments. We are different people at different times in different circumstances and I too am a woman of faith, try putting that down on a job application or telling someone that in an interview. I like what you both had to say and you are amazing women!

Judy said...

I enjoyed this read, Jean.

We truly do wear different hats...some definitely more appealing than others.

I am daughter of aging parents;
I am wife, lover and friend to Allen,
mother to three grown children,
grandmother to eight,
friend to some,
cook and baker,
lover of life,
at peace...

and most of all a child of the King.

Rannyjean said...

Just beautiful. That is what I was trying to get across, we are many things to many different people, why place us in a box and make us define who we are because we change at any given moment.
My favorite saying is 'go outside the lines, the lines are not our friends, they are to confining!'