I became who I am in chapters. Everything happens gradually, of course, but there are phases in my life in which I've really become, when the real scaffolding of who I am was erected. It doesn't have to be anything glamorous. Peanut butter M & Ms first taught me about fleeting popularity.
I was thinking about this because my son -- who has recently been infuriating, confusing, and inspiring in equal measure -- has entered what I consider to be my own first big becoming phase. I came to be rooted in who I was, and who I would, in many ways, return to being, between the ages of 8 and 12. This was when someone other than my teacher, mom, or dad read my stuff, and I decided I wanted to be a writer. This was when I really got into animals, even after my gerbil tried to maul me and also seemed to interpret competent mothering to include cannibalizing one's young. It was when I first hiked the Grand Canyon, hiked to the top of the Superstitions, and ate leeches (the last one, unintentionally). It was when I saw someone's house burn down. It was the time during which, after a very unfortunate incident with an evil yo-yo and my face, I realized "coordination" for my body most closely resembled "OK, limbs, everyone do your own thing!" It was when I was first bullied, when I first stuck up for someone, when I had my first crush, when I discovered the word "fuck," when I developed acne, and when I realized, to my great personal anguish, that certain things about me were abnormal, some OK and some not.
A few things happened between 12 and 15. Not much. I got my period, way after everyone else. (I was thrilled. Why would you want it earlier? No, I don't "feel like a woman" now. I feel like shit. Now quit looking at me.) I read the collected works of Christopher Pike. This was not a defining time.
Phase Two was, I would say, between 15 and 18. This was the first time I suffered a great personal loss. It was when I decided to rebel, learned I really sucked at rebelling, my boyfriend and I ran for our lives from a bear (which may actually have been a squirrel), I barfed lettuce out of my nose, I got religious, I began to get nonreligious, I got engaged, and I decided to get unengaged.
Later, I got popular for a few minutes. I got pregnant. But that wasn't really a phase. It wasn't even particularly life changing.
Having my son was certainly life changing. I became a mom, and that is and forever shall be my most defining charcteristic; and screw you, everyone who says that means I'm giving up some part of my identity. I'm certainly no perfect homemaker, as anyone who knows me can attest. For one, I spend WAY more time reading science fiction fan forums than I do cleaning my own house; and also, I had a cookie for breakfast this morning because I was too busy doing other stuff -- which, now that I typed it, doesn't look like something that should make me proud, but, well, so THERE.
Wait, what was I saying? Oh, yeah. Phases.
Anyway, after that, there have been plenty of big things, but they tend to fall back to parameters set in place in Phase One or Phase Two. And you know what? I don't talk much about those times.
So now, to fill up my blog posts, I shall bore you with the entirety of my childhood.
No. Kidding. KIDDING! Please don't go away. You'll make me cry, and then I'll eat a whole pie, and then I'll feel sick so I'll look for something to drink only all we have is sugary soda because I'm too crappy of a homemaker to go buy diet soda even though I want it and my husband's diabetic so he needs it; and THEN I'll enter into a Phase Three, which will be comprised entirely of weight gain and visits to my husband's doctor, and you don't want that on your conscious, do you?
I will share brief snippets from those times. They're actually all pretty short, but they're the things that drive me. Some are sad. Some are funny. Even if they're not particularly life-shattering, they're the stories that live in my head, and thus, who I am. I'm thinking of starting with the rabid squirrel-bear. What do you think?
**I'm still doing snapshots, or going back to them, I guess. You seemed to like them, and David's got a TON of shots I need to share.
**I'm thinking of making some kind of schedule, you know, themed posts of one type or another on certain days. What do you think? (I'm thinking Snapshots, Things I love/hate, critter day, maybe even Wordless Wednesday. I can be wordless. You know, mostly. Sometimes.)
**I'm throwing in pretty sunset pictures because you all seem to like that. This post has nothing to do with sunsets. I could draw again, I guess, but I'm not sure if the kudos on that was because you were humoring me, or what. Or maybe you think my family really does have Jack-o-lantern heads, so the drawings were accurate. I did kind of like drawing, though. It captured how correct I was, right?