The following is my unedited response to a writing group task to write a biography in under 500 words:
Where do I begin in describing my life’s journey? An accounting of my triumphs? My failures? Defining moments? Talents? Or is it the projection of who I wish myself to be? What I hope and aspire to, delude myself in thinking…
The truth is I am many selves: hopeful, despairing, accomplished, fumbling, educated, ignorant, human.
At different stages various descriptors have taken precedence: female, American, Puerto Rican, intellectual, mixed, Black, middle class, mixed, student, organizer, dancer, radical, mixed, teacher, teacher, teacher, Spanish-speaking, Latina, world traveler, risk-taker, friend, daughter, sensitive, empathic, engaged, passionate, deep, intense, generous, kind, humanitarian, defender.
The descriptors I had no desire to fully own but were equal parts of my journey: foolhardy, compulsive, perfectionist, competitive, lonely, depressed, lazy, indulgent, jealous, rash, stressed, brooding…
For over the past four years a new aspect of my identity has emerged~ mother. This newest part of my identity does not allow me to compartmentalize my existence into an attractive portrait of my best qualities. This part of my journey has provided me unique insight into who I am– my two children serving as little mirrors of both my best and worst qualities. In intending to create a space that is loving, tender and protective of my children I have been given the opportunity to be in deeper relationship with all parts of myself.
With the masks removed, the labels not as important, and the illusions washed (or kicked) away a more authentic rendering has emerged. I am still all those things I used to be– just more fully owning it all.
I doubt motherhood will ever allow me to feel I have arrived. In honoring my children’s own paths, I remember that their job is to teach me who they are… My hope is not to betray myself or others; to strive to be honest, true and committed; to do the least harm; to be a contribution. Or simply through my being, be a healing presence in the world.