Monday, October 13, 2014

Identity Theft

We all create an identity for ourselves in our minds. We associate certain traits as being a constant part of who we really are. Here are a few things I have thought would always be a part of my identity. I am mostly neither proud of or overly ashamed of these things, and there are many more things that should be on the list, both good and bad.

Pretty eyes
Horrible skin
Pretty good athlete
Decent musician
High intelligence
Love of serving others
Love of all things fun
Too talkative
Poor self control, especially when it comes to food

I have a bit of an internal dilemma as I see some of these things on my list changing. Some changes are easier to deal with than others. I am now an average weight because of medications I have taken that have caused me to gain weight. I'm trying to be okay with that change, but I haven't mentally and emotionally adapted well. Also, my wardrobe has not been adapted for this change, so I don't fit into any of my pants. My eyelashes are becoming thinner and shorter as I age. Also, my eyes don't work well. My skin quality goes up and down; every once in a while, it isn't that bad. I currently have absolutely no coordination or strength because of MS, so I am horrible at all sports now. I frequently can't play songs that used to be easy for me on the piano because of a loss of fine motor skills. Also, I never get to practice piano because I am a mother. I also cannot consistently sing well. I have had cognizant issues relating to MS, so I actually am getting stupider beyond just the normal IQ decreases that come with being a tired mother. I am not able to serve people very well much of the time because of my own health issues. I am also so tired that I don't enjoy as many activities as I used to, and I just don't have as much fun anymore. Even if I want to do some fun things, I frequently have to choose not to because I know my body can't handle very many activities. I now sometimes don't want to talk and would rather listen to others, or I am too tired to talk. Once in a while, I am even mature enough to censor myself and avoid saying things I shouldn't. I have way better self control than I used to have. Having tons of food allergies, most of which can be deadly, can change a person in that way. I never thought I would be able to stop myself from eating something I wanted because it seemed impossible the way I was before. 

All these changes in what I thought were integral parts of me show me a few things:

1. I shouldn't label myself. God can give and take away, and I can't base my identity on those labels, even if the pants labels have a bigger number on them than I would like. 

2. Losing and gaining new abilities doesn't actually change my individual worth, even if I usually feel like I am worth less when I physically contribute less. I need to work on remembering that I have value, whether or not I feel like I am a contributing member of my family or society or when my kids tell me I am good at laying on the couch. The trials and how I deal with them are what bring about the good changes in my abilities, which still don't actually make me worth more but help me cope better with life.
3. The only part of my identity that doesn't change is that I am a daughter of God. He loves me. If I can remember who I really am, maybe I won't feel too upset when I have so many things changing that I thought would never change. (Don't take this as a sign that I am hinting that I am super depressed, just that I have normal feelings of inadequacy and sadness when I am not meeting my own expectations.)

4. I'm stealing this one from a friend yesterday, and I have no idea where she got it, but the idea behind it always helps me to cope with all these changes so much better. "Laughter is like a windshield wiper. It doesn't stop the rain but allows us to keep going." 

So to keep me going, here are a few of Sadie's funny quotes from the last few days, well, the ones I can remember...

Sadie: Mom, what do you wike when you're in the mood for?
Me: I like you.
Sadie: No, you don't wike me. You wike cheese sometimes, maybe a sour kind.

Sadie: You can borrow awe these. (While dumping all her blankets and stuffed animals on my lap, just what a claustrophobic person loves...) You're borrowing awe my stuff! Is it fun? It is fun! And we can have a couch party! Just wet me get up there with you...

Sadie: What in the world!?! (She has said this multiple times the last few days, with great surprise and expression, and she actually uses the expression appropriately. I'm not sure if she got it from me. I don't know if I actually say that when I am probably thinking something less appropriate for a toddler to say.)

I got my bangs trimmed, and Sadie got a haircut. After we got home, she said, "Where are your bangs?" I pointed to them. "No, where are your weftover bangs? Oh no! We weft our weftover hair there!" 

Preston and Avery had been laughing and playing and were up super late. I told them to go to bed, and he replied, "Well, at least we're obeying Daddy even if we're up late. He told us in his note before he left on his trip to remember to be best friends, and we are right now!" I'm glad we have moments of them being best friends. I hope they have more of those times and not just when it's an hour after bedtime, after fighting all afternoon and evening.

Avery has become a little like the one sister of mine I never thought she would have anything in common with. When we were kids, my dad, with his twisted humor, would always have Becky say the prayer on Christmas morning when we were waiting to go open presents. She would be thankful for everything people could think of to be thankful for and then a bunch of things most people would never think to show gratitude for. It's a great trait to have. It's hard to sit through one of those prayers if you are a kid waiting to open presents. Avery's prayers are like that, and it's wonderful and sometimes a little stressful in the morning before school when their ride is going to come at any second while she's still being thankful for those leaves on our neighbor's trees. It is a good reminder to me to try to be more that way.


  1. MS sucks. I'm sorry. also I know what you mean, though not because of health issues. I just remembered that I signed up to take a meal to a WEEKS ago...and never did it. I guess I was expecting a phone call because I wasn't given a specific date. Either way, it didn't get done and I have always kind of prided myself on giving good service when it was needed. Maybe I'll go back to that person after this kid comes? Maybe not. Either way, thanks for the reminder that maybe the physical doesn't matter as much as I think it does.

  2. I agree that it's hard to feel like you are still of worth when you feel like you are not contributing to your family like you used to. For some reason, what helped me through those times was service. Praying for the opportunity to give service, I found ways to lift other's spirits by relating to them through the similar trials we shared. I think it is special to be able to know how to say the right thing to someone because you understand them when no one else does. It may not be the kind of service I was used to giving, or even the kind that I wanted to give, but I like to think that it was deep and meaningful and Christ-like. I also learned a lot about the atonement. For some reason, I also found comfort in the idea that I prepared for my specific trials before I came to earth.
    Thanks for sharing funny stories today, I really needed the laugh!