By definition ...

Your identity lies not in what you do, but to whom you belong..jpg

Identity: condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing:

I am pretty put together.  I dress appropriately for situations.  I am a pageant girl.  I work in a business professional environment, always dressing the part.  I speak publicly, I can carry my own in a room.  My husband is higher ranking in the military and I've never questioned my place next to him.  I show up and volunteer at my children's school and am a fixture that they could be proud of.  I am college educated and articulate.  I post the most put together photos I can... most of the time.  To some, they have chosen to judge me or assume these things define me or that I find my identity in them..

ME.jpg

What people don't know is that underneath the clothes, the makeup and the perfectly placed hair is me.  Over the years I have lost my identity as a person and have replaced it by 'mom' and 'wife'.  I would MUCH rather wear my sweatpants and flip flops that my beautiful Badgley Mischka heels.  I am painfully shy and awkward, definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert.  I struggle with group settings as I never feel like I fit.  I am not the same person in the comfort of my safe home as I am in the public eye.  Prying eyes make me feel that I have to be 'on' instead of being myself.  Very few have been privy to my life behind closed doors.  The less than perfect persona, the woman that appreciates sweet tea over wine, that feels like pajamas should be considered socially acceptable, that would rather attend a dessert party that a wine night.  w, as a mother, I am not alone.  The day my daughter came home, my world changed along with my identity.  That is ok.  I don't feel bad or regret that moment, or the moment I became a wife, the moment my son came home... or the moment that each of our fosters has moved in/out further changing me.  With each just came a shift, I let myself slide down the list of priorities.  I'm not saying this as a bad thing, it simply was my thing

I say all of these things because I know, as a mother, I am not alone.  The day my daughter came home, my world changed along with my identity.  That is ok.  I don't feel bad or regret that moment, or the moment I became a wife, the moment my son came home... or the moment that each of our fosters has moved in/out further changing me.  With each just came a shift, I let myself slide down the list of priorities.  I'm not saying this as a bad thing, it simply was my thing.  

It's what we do with the internal information that we should really pay attention to.  I have suffered from levels of depression over the years, moments that getting out of bed, dressed or showered seemed like a task far to great.  Then other days that I am up at 5:30, giggling and drinking my coffee with the sunrise.  I love my children with every ounce of my heart.  I love being their mom, I love being a wife.  I love running in the streets, dancing in the aisle at Kroger just to make them laugh or snuggle up on the couch with a child on either side, a dog and a cat on us and my husband sitting on the other end watching a movie.  Yes, that is what I love in life.  I love my friends, I am loyal to a fault but there is something comforting in that.  What else though?  What else helps me be ME, what defines me.

I have found a love in educating others.  I love to stand in front of people and tell them about something that I am passionate about.  There is a realness in it.  I can be vulnerable and authentic, I can put myself out there (good and bad) as it pertains to the subject matter.  I don't have to be social in that setting, I still get to talk about my family but with my own identity.  I think it's important not to lose yourself in your family, nothing defines you but you.  There is no job, no family dynamic and no circumstance that defines you.  I am Shana, foster care educator, mom, wife, etc.  I need to remember to introduce by my NAME first before the other things...  

How do you define you?!