Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Words Define Us

I was reading this post by a fellow blogger, anniegirl1138, yesterday and it started the wheels in my brain turning....

The post is an opinion from a widow about being widowed and how some people in this "widow club" chose to forever define themselves in this manner. Some of these other widows have turned this into their life's work, helping others, listening to their tragic stories, and befriending these other widows for strength and support.

Is this bad? Well, no. In general, it's a rather good idea. When Ryan died, I didn't know what to do, how to feel, and I too chose to utilize these support groups. I felt like other widows were people I could identify with, people who could understand this loss I had experienced and feel my pain with me....

Then after only a few short months, I quit. I deleted all my "widow board" accounts, stopped reading posts at YWBB, stopped talking to people about the fact that I was widowed.

Why? Because it's NOT MY DEFINITION.

After reading and writing and sharing with these fellow widows, I realized something. I realized that many, many, many other widows chose to keep this identity for reasons that are not healthy to the psyche. They not only use it to define their "marital status" anymore, they use it as an excuse to drone on this sad yet natural part of life. It's kind of like taking a word, one simple word, and wrapping yourself into it as if you can cocoon yourself from all else that is happening around you.

Then I started to think some more.... God help us all now... :)

People do this EVERY DAY. We all do it. We find words to describe who and what we are. We take our race, heritage, sexual orientation, lifestyle, all of these and pick and chose words to define ourselves. It's like we must live with in these squared off boxes of definition so that we feel better about ourselves. We take titles to give us excuses to act in a certain manner or to justify our beliefs.

Yet we don't have to. We are not words. We are not one set of words and that should never be our definition. Shit, I have a LIST of definitions: Woman, white, straight, mother, widow, wife, nurse, bohemian, artist, dancer, activist, volunteer, employee, horrible writer (hahahaha), and many more.... I am all of these. However I never live inside the boundaries of any one definition.

I find it truly sad that people strive to live with in the boundaries of these definitions. It's so constricting and actually can be counter productive to living a very full life. Personally, I see life as a process, an ever evolving and changing process that we take on one day at a time. Whose to say I will be the same person tomorrow that I am today? I like changing my mask from time to time, it leaves so many options out there for myself and also can create a more well rounded and full individual. It makes me feel complete to know that I don't need a definition to define myself.

SO in regards to being a widow... I prefer to live by this little ditty instead:

"I am not what happened yesterday, I am what I am today, and I will be what I chose to be tomorrow...."

And every single day I wake up being ME. Just me, Dana, my name. All definitions and words included in one package that I can guarantee you, it will change. :)