Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On worth, identity, and where I've been

I am hesitant to write this post, but it needs to be written.

I have been described as both introspective and extroverted, which is quite the volatile concoction. I dream new dreams before completing old ones, and I share my excitement about them openly, even when everyone around me knows I will never complete them before a new one hangs its curtains in my heart. In times of uncertainty, I fall into a sort of puddle form at the feet of anyone I perceive to own a mop. In moments of sorrow, I find arms that will wrap around me, even when I know I should not allow arms that snuggle up to another woman at night to hold me together by day.

It goes without saying that the last few years have been trying. My identity has waxed and waned like the phases of the moon-- bright and bold, barely there, totally absent. I have seen ultimate highs and solemn lows. I went through a stage where I could not be hugged without bursting into tears. This was followed by the stage where the lack of human touch in any form made me feel worthless and unloved.

My roller derby team took me under their wing at a time when I felt broken and proved to me that I was not fragile at all. I quickly became part of this new family, laughing louder than I ever have before and really meaning it. Since the fall things have taken a sharp turn south. My laughter is louder than my sobs, sure, but my sobs surely are still there. The bandage couldn't hold back the flood waters forever. I've stopped going to practice, to parties, to away bouts. I've tucked myself so deeply back in my shell where I can't hear anything, not even the ocean.

Last night I was driving home from Savannah, singing at the top of my lungs to keep my head from spinning. It hit my like a ton of bricks:

My worth is not found in his hands on my hips, my cheek, my thighs. It's not measured by how well I skate or how cute my butt looks in a pair of booty shorts. It's not equivalent to the amount of calories I eat in one day or how much sweat pours out of me at the gym. It's not a number on a scale. It's not the number of people I've loved. It's not the husband who abused me. It's not the divorce that has defined me or the babies I couldn't carry. It's not the photos in my Instagram feed. It's not the art I make. It's not the length of my hair or the job that I do or the place that I live. It's not my volunteer work. My worth is packaged in my ability to experience all of these things and love myself because of my story and not in spite of it.

I'll admit, I'm still working on that while the world spins madly on.