Identity is a tricky thing, always changing. Identity can shift at a moment’s notice, or over a span of years. I think back on all the things I am and all the things I’ve been. I wonder about all the things I’ll someday be, or if I’ll be able to reclaim the girl I was back when.
I’m a mother, I’m a lover,
A chef, a referee,
I’m a doctor and a chauffeur seven days a week.
Back when I knew it all, I was going to be a famous writer before I turned thirty. I’d be critically acclaimed and make a fortune and not need a day job. I’d work as a medical transcriptionist for a few years, until I hit it big, and then I’d quit the day job to write for a living.
It’s the hardest gig I’ve known,
I work my fingers to the bone.
Yeah, the dishes and the diapers never stop.
There ain’t no 401(k).
I know this may come as a shock,
But this here’s a full-time job.
Back when I knew it all, I was going to see the world. I’d get my Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing, I’d study abroad in Europe, I’d become fluent in French and maybe minor in linguistics. I never dreamed that instead of all that, I’d get pregnant my freshman year of college, end up with an Associate’s Degree from the local community college, and find myself still struggling to get my writing career off the ground at the age of thirty-two.
Back when I knew it all, I never dreamed I’d be divorced at twenty-three.
Well, I’m takin’ a vacation,
I could use a little fun.
I’ll be sippin’ on the silence
And soakin’ up the sun.
I’m leavin’ you my apron,
You can try it on for size,
You said there’s nothin’ to it,
So I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Back when I knew it all, getting divorced was the end of the world.
But it turned out I was wrong.
I learned that I can do anything. I learned I can hold down a full-time job, and write, and raise a child on my own. I learned I can meet new people; I can make new friends. I learned I could dig myself out of the hole I spent half a decade creating. I learned that I am one tough chica.
I learned that, no matter what, I got this. This whole life thing? Totally my…well, you know. 🙂
Back when I knew it all, I was certain there was nothing left to learn:
In a day, or maybe two,
You’ll be changin’ your tune
By then you’ll be ready to drop
Workin’ my full-time job
This here’s a full-time job
But I’ve learned an awful lot since back when I knew it all.
Song lyrics from “Full Time Job,” by Gretchen Wilson.
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