Who Am I Even?

 Who am I even?

Is it just me, or are these stupid little catch phrases maddening? Bustle, Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, and Vloggers all over the interwebs use them.

I AM SHOOK, giving me life, AF (Example: I am hungry AF), turnt, fleek, glow up, and so on and so on.

When did it become the norm to take a perfectly good word and screw it up? I saw a shirt at Target that had a catchphrase purposefully spelled wrong (Example: Stahp, yaaaass, kewl). If there hadn’t been other people around, I probably would have roundhouse kicked the entire rack over. Life is stressful enough without wearing a misspelled meme shirt.  

I’m not a particularly deep person. Although, I do pride myself on having an above average compacity for common sense. My judge in character is impeccable. I’m a good friend—a loyal friend. And I have some cool talents, like keeping my kids fed and doing more than one load of laundry per week. But I’m no philosopher. I’ll gladly leave that to the professionals.

But like a true millennial, when I sat down to write this, I thought to myself, who am I even?

Who am I? And I don’t mean the outside crap that everyone can see. On the outside I’m kind of chubby, covered in tattoos, alone, and more times than not, I’m sleepy. What I mean is, how do I identify myself? Going down the list in my head, I’m old-fashioned. My name is Mary; I'm a straight (white-passing Hispanic) female in her early-thirties. I believe in universal healthcare and recycling. Reading is my favorite pastime, every Saturday you’ll see me at the soccer field dodging other parents, and I change my hair color quite often because I’m a seasoned hairstylist. I’m also a non-writing writer.

Well, I’m writing this…

Let’s go deeper than that, though.

We’re more than the things that we do, okay? It doesn’t make being a mom and wife any less important, but women are layered beings. It should be acknowledged. Am I right, or am I right, ladies?

Here’s a list of things I am which no one can see:

SHOOK. (Just kidding)

These are just a few characteristics of myself I fired off without thinking too hard. But I’m proud of them because if I had typed this list five years ago, it would have been pathetic. Maturity and self-discovery is one hell of a ride.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I cried on my thirtieth birthday, mourning the loss of my twenties. My husband wanted to throw me a party, but I threatened his life and avoided everyone who tried to wish me a happy birthday. What the fuck was so celebratory about turning thirty? Nothing. I literally came down with bronchitis and woke up with a single white eyebrow hair. The physical stuff only worsened in the three years since, too. My back aches, my memory is garbage, and I'm usually in bed by 9 pm because I can't hang. It’s ridiculous.

Let me tell you another secret: I’ve never been happier.

Who am I even?

I am the best version of myself.

There used to be a time when I dwelled on everything as if I was powerful enough to change anything out of my control. I was passive, subservient, and I avoided conflict if it made someone uncomfortable. I accepted bad relationships with family and friends because it was easier than the alternative. People didn’t like my personality, so I’d force a smile because it made them happy.

There was a time when I worked at a salon I hated because I wasn’t confident enough to move on to something better. I gave half of a story close to my heart to an undeserving brat who had no business writing a single word of it because I didn’t think I was good enough to do it alone. That same story was plagiarized by another shameless motherfucker who still has the nerve to write, and dare I say she’s probably more successful than me.

Who am I even?

I’m not that person anymore.

I hated turning thirty, but I am in love with my thirties. My back hurts by the end of the day, but I'm a fucking badass. My husband and I worked for everything we have and everything we've accomplished. I'm demanding and pushy and brutally honest because I refuse to be a doormat.

"Lions do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep."

Mr. Elizabeth said this after I woke up crying because my feelings were hurt by people close to me, and it’s so damn true. Setbacks are part of the process, but I refuse to be that person who sweeps their problems under the rug because it’s easier. I’ve watched this behavior destroy people, and the cycle ends here. My children will know better, and because of this, my children’s children will too.

It’s liberating AF.

Don’t assume this brilliance was bestowed upon me the moment I entered my third decade on this planet. There’s plenty I need to work on, such as my inability to forgive, a total lack of organization, and the part I mentioned about being a non-writing writer. It would probably be a good idea to pay less attention to my phone and more attention to my family. I eat too much sugar, drive too fast, and loath to clean the microwave.

I’m not perfect, and I’m in no way trying to convince you I am with this post. During my trip to Seattle last month, I had the opportunity to see Rachel Hollis speak. If you don’t know who she is, do yourself a favor and remedy that. She’s inspiring, but she’s exhausting. Rachel was recently in a car accident, and instead of taking the day off, she went to work. When she was sick, she spent the day watching YouTube videos and taught herself how to braid. She coaches her kids’ sports team, runs a business, changes lives with her #90daychallange, and eats like a bird. I can handle about four days of her perfection before I want to troll her ass, but that’s usually when she reminds me she is utterly human by talking about anxiety, addiction, or the gross reality of being a woman in today’s world.

Bad stuff happens to you, me, and Rachel Hollis. It’s inevitable. What is in our control is how we deal with it. I decided to start small by not ranting on social media every time someone adds me to a group, not making my readers uncomfortable by including them in the dirty side of the business, or freaking out when someone sells my ARCs, pirates my book, or leaves me a bad review.

I’ve also accepted that while I’m no Rachel Hollis, people do look up to me. I’m open about my anxiety/panic disorder, writer’s block, and the basic hardships I deal with on a day to day basis. Some of you see yourselves in me. It’s something I think about anytime I’m online. It’s also something I take into consideration as my children get older.

So, who am I even?

I’m the abandoned, anxious girl who beat the odds and flourished despite the odds stacked against me.