Said with anger, righteous indignation, I have heard those words frequently. Many women have. I am sure men have had it said to them too, but women, OH! So many women hear it so much more frequently. Who do you think you are that you can put your needs ahead of my wants? It becomes the internal soundtrack of life. Who do you think you are to want that? To desire that? Long before children it becomes internal, the question asked before the undone act. The shaping of image and identity tainted by it. And then there are children, beautiful, magical, humbling but all-encompassing, and the balancing of needs becomes trickier, more difficult. More complex.
And soon the question is still asked, but the emphasis is different: Just who DO you think you are? Who is the me who can not be replaced by a cleaner and a cook and a babysitter and a teacher? I am not who I was, and I do not want to be, as I have learned and grown so much since they were born, and I like that. But then, who?
And now I work to discover this new self. There are well-worn paths in this, many women have walked this before me, and I hope to learn from them. But their way is not my way and I do it through the things I have always loved: creation, exploration, discovery. They are the things I have never stopped doing, and that I wish to do more. I use the prisms I have: the social sciences, art, craft and creativity, words and maps and places. These have called to me all my life.
And yet: Who do you think you are? To do this, to put this at a high priority at this time in your life when others need too? More? Who do you THINK you ARE?
In answer I write this blog. Because if I keep it internal, my attempts will be fragmented and lost amongst the “who do you THINK you ARE?s” and the “just who DO you think you are?” will go unrecorded and the answers lost. I hope to use this as a way to remember, to continue my journey. For accountability and for a record of where I have gone, and as I way of answering both those questions to myself. To others.
Who do I think I am?
I am she who creates and explores and discovers.