I am so please to introduce Kristen Roderick this beautiful Monday morning! She is a woman after my own heart. Bending and folding through time to better undertsand herself and other women. Her writing is fresh and raw. It’s boldness opens inside of me, shedding light of understanding. It leaves me wanting more. I know you’ll enjoy her.
My Name once shaped my identity, determined how I dressed, the people in my life, my conduct, my choices, and helped me to survive. I stated, “This is Who I Am” by presenting a job title, a role, an affiliation, a business – as though this definition was my contribution, my only way to have a place. I owned it. I was proud of it.
And yet, there are times when our Name eclipses who we are. Crowds the process of becoming. And we need to let it go. Let go of the safety net that is our Name.
Perhaps it is our cultural inheritance – a legacy of fear of being orphaned with no Name to call our own. In a world of carefully measured progress, “I don’t know” for full-grown adults is not an option but a crime worthy of rejection – Lost Souls whose potential dwindles with the memory of what once was.
As I am further away from the Name that once defined me, I am learning to be comfortable in the unknown. Initially, I felt ashamed, with no response to the inevitable “what do you do?” In The World Out There, there is a sense of being invisible, powerless. Over time, though, I am coming to accept it like the shedding of a skin, getting used to the feeling of being naked, exposed.
When I first left my job, I considered going back to university. Throwing myself fully into the education system seemed like a good option. Explaining to colleagues that I am leaving to go back to school is a respectable choice. It’s easier than saying I’m leaving to heal. It’s easier than confronting my life, full on, to face the emptiness that replaces a job and career.
Time for healing, time for unlearning, time for re-defining, time to allow the dark, murky space of the unknown to envelope me until a new truth emerges. There are no words, no language to explain this. This country has no Name.
My plans for going back to school haven’t worked out, and my dreams at night confirm that school is not my path, at least not for now. I’m realizing this is all part of the letting go, where institutional authority has no place.
My education won’t be found in the lecture hall, but I am finding it through my prayers to the goddess, in the circle of women who support me, from the wizened elder in my dreams, and in the words and stories written in my journal – those intimate bits of wisdom, forever a part of me.
Alone with the pieces of an old life that will never fit back together again the same way, I am constantly in a state of flux – the push and pull of my feelings trying to keep me here, or pull me out. But the hierarchy of unspoken milestones and social roles cannot define me in this place. Authenticity doesn’t find us that way.
The recognition I once sought from others can never truly fill the longing in my heart. It cannot relieve me from my struggle; it cannot make me whole. There is something else worth waiting for.
A new paradigm, a new story, a new home, a new mythology is unfolding. A new life is coming, and it has yet to claim its Name.
Kristen Roderick is a writer, social researcher/evaluator, and community convener. She is interested in the use of stories in the process of empowerment and social change, and in storytelling in the transitions of women’s lives. You can find her at her blog www.thespiritthatmovesme.blogspot.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thespiritthatmovesme. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband.
Do you see parts of your life being deconstructed-even your very identity- to make way for the new?