06 March 2013

One long, exploratory post

Bet that title drew you in. :)

I'm having an identity crisis.

Okay, I'm not really. Not on a deep level. Allow me to explain. I am a confusing blend of "hippy", technology lover, "people person", and lover-of-solitude. So many contradictory elements of my personality. I realize that everyone has this to one extent or another (right? It's not just me?), but at times it leaves me really confused.

In high school and college (pre-marriage) I would have described myself as an extrovert without any hesitation, bubbly-ness and perpetual cheerfulness included. I loved being around people, going out and having fun (for me, that usually involves dancing and/or food), bright colors. My mom tells me that as a child I was very friendly, and liked to include everyone/make everyone feel welcome. I also remember enjoying playing/imagining by myself just as much as playing with other kids. There was a period of my young life when I considered myself shy, but in retrospect I think I really was just self-conscious. At some point I made the decision to just be friendly to everyone and do my very best to love every single person I met. This decision was influenced by people that I admired and that I wanted to emulate. So I became a full-out extrovert.

In college, I added the element of being somewhat hippy-ish (and I mean that in the best sense). I was (well, am) a modern dancer, and I became very connected to and trusting of my body. This easily explains my complete lack of desire to have epidurals for childbirth, as epidurals can interfere with the natural process. Anyway, having never struggled with eating disorders of any kind I had no problem believing that I could trust my body to know what was good for it, and if my body as God's creation was trustworthy, then so was the earth. The closer to all-natural my food and all other things that get into and interact with my body, the better. This belief began in college, but I haven't really explored all possible applications of that until the last couple of years. In a perfect world, I'd be raising my own meat ('cause I'll be darned if I ever give up hamburgers to become a vegetarian or anything like one - no offense, I just really love burgers), and growing my own fruits and vegetables. Or buying those foods from sources that I know to be high quality, meaning minimal interference from man with hormones and chemicals. Surprised?

Well, here's another contrast. I am a firm believer in vaccinations (technology). With full respect to other people and their views, I personally feel like not having myself or my children vaccinated would be irresponsible. We are not far removed from the generations where children died (often) from things like whooping cough, measles, mumps, and all other kinds of illnesses that for us here in the United States are almost non-existent. My grandma had two little sisters die of whooping cough (she shared a bedroom with them, and they were her only sisters). I absolutely feel like vaccinations were inspired by the Lord. Also, unrelated to vaccinations but relevant to technology, I love digital files. The less paper in my life, the better! That also kind of fits into my hippy-ish ideas - less paper usage saves more trees, right? Although, I also believe that the earth and everything on it is for our use and benefit to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

So, my extroverted-with-hippy-tendencies self got married. To an introvert getting his degree in biology (science = anti-hippy). And he is a fabulous man. I love and respect him so much. His personality has tempered and altered mine. Pretty sure he hasn't changed a whole lot - which, to be clear I had no hopes or expectations for him to do so. This post is about me, not him. I married him because there were many things that I admired about him, things that I wanted to become. He basically believes that he can do whatever he wants to. Oh, he has strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else, therefore things that he's more suited to than others. But he knows, and seemingly has always known exactly what those things are; so within that scope of strengths there are a variety of things he could be good at, and he knows he would. He chooses to do things that he really likes and really has an aptitude for, and doesn't really pursue those things at which he wouldn't naturally excel. Basically, he's not banging his head against the wall trying to be anything other than what he is. Now does that seem like an obvious approach to life, or what?

Forgive me for going on so much, I swear I have a point. I am less of an extrovert. I'm a lot more subdued around people than I once was, and I do a lot more thinking before I speak than I once did. I think that some people previously found my extreme extrovert personality somewhat irritating, and thinking before you speak never hurt anybody. However, having my personality tempered and becoming in some ways like my husband leaves me struggling to clearly identify myself as an individual. Which is good in some ways, and not in others. It's great that he and I can achieve that kind of unity, but (now, don't laugh) it leaves me in kind of a quandary in terms of fashion. hahaha I've probably lost you now. I can just see any one of you saying, "Rachael, how on earth did we get from an identity crisis to fashion?" Just stay with me.

My husband dresses in dark colors, and very conservatively. Pre-marriage I had every color of the rainbow in my closet in the brightest hues. Now I have an assortment of bright and mostly dark colors, much of which are not things I love very much. My dancer self wants to express and express accurately who I am. I am fully invested in being a stay-at-home mom, so expression through movement is not a high priority right now. I'd like to have a clearly defined sense of style - in my home, and on my person. But it's hard to make it clear when there's so much contradiction/confusion. I have one thing nailed - I have a signature fragrance. My younger sister introduced me to that idea, and I found mine with no problem (bath & body works Japanese cherry blossom, btw). I no longer buy any other lotion that is not my signature scent. My signature color probably is yellow (because it's obsessively my favorite), but you wouldn't know by looking at my closet. And it feels wrong, you know? Am I just crazy?

Anyway, the real point in this long-winded post is to tell my lady friends primarily about something I came across a couple of days ago that I find absolutely fascinating and I think will help me define my personal style at least for dressing. I'm thinking the principles will apply to my home, too. Check out the website dressingyourtruth.com if you are interested in the idea of having your personal style be perfectly congruent with your personality, rather than strictly following trends. If you are, but want to be at whatever you think your ideal weight is first, don't wait until then. Or if you think that because you're a stay-at-home mom, and therefore you hardly ever 'dress up' anyway so this is useless for you right now, you may be wrong. It addresses no-fuss mom clothes and exercise clothes, too so it's not impractical for those of us that mostly stay home! And, hopefully you don't feel like this is a shallow endeavor. Our bodies are temples, and how we dress them matters. I think it matters not only in terms of modesty, but in terms of honoring and celebrating everything that we are as individuals. There's a free course available, and there's also a course that's more in-depth but isn't free. Start with the free one, of course. That may very well be enough for you if you know yourself well enough. I'm having an identity crisis and am trying to sort it all out, so I may be going with the in-depth course. :)

If you read this entire thing, you must really be my friend. And I love you for that.

Note: I just want to emphasize that if you found yourself offended by any opinions that I stated, you shouldn't have been. Here's why: no matter what I feel about things I completely respect the opinions of others and I absolutely do not make it my business to judge you for yours. Agency rocks. And you're awesome.


  1. So I think I can relate to what you are feeling, even though we are a lot different! I find myself feeling like I am going through an identity crisis fairly often. But I almost think that comes being a mom. (or being pregnant...I feel like I lose my identity a little bit because "i am a runner"). I also have contradictory things about myself. I like to do what is right and I hate getting in trouble (I think about it all the time!), but I also don't like to do what everyone is doing (i.e. I do natural birth, natural remedies, natural food) and I like to be different. Sometimes that gets me in trouble with people I care about. Anyhow, I am not that great with expressing myself but great post!

  2. I love your note before this comment box. I think I can relate too. I just don't think of it in terms of identity crisis. We all grow and change and that is what life is for. As far as fashion goes, I consider myself as having no fashion sense at all. So I'm not much help there. Our husbands definitely change us.

  3. Super interesting, Rachael. I say, if you like bright colors, embrace it! Maybe a gradual change to your wardrobe so it's more like it used to be and less like David's will help you feel like yourself in some ways.

  4. Love this post! Of course I read the whole thing. I think being married with children and staying home is means for an identity crisis at times. There are so many roles we are now filling that being just our selfish self has to change. (if that makes sense). I'll have to check out the website on fashion. I like clothes and sometimes feel that my budget keeps me from truly wearing what I want - haha. Not that it would be extravagant and expensive, I just want to rid myself of my closet and start new :)

  5. Hey there. Good post. I think you can be a lot of different things and still be you. I have no comment on the fashion aspect of your post because I don't know anything about it.
    I read a good book last year called "Quiet" (by Susan Cain) which I highly recommend. This book especially suits me because I'm without a doubt an introvert, but it's good for all I think because it discusses different aspects of personality and how different parts come out at different times. Plus, you're married to an introvert, so that's an extra bonus.

    You're a good person. I'm glad you are married to Dave.

  6. Ha ha, I think I could have written this post! Like really, all of it. I don't have anything else to add, but I'm excited to check out the link. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've been thinking about this lately. About who (and how) I was before I got married and who I am now. "Back in that day" I LOVED myself! I thought I was pretty awesome, life was so fun and so was I! Seriously, how could you NOT like me!? (Just teasing ;) But now I feel like very little of the girl I once was remains.
    Being married and having kids has added a lot of responsibility, stress... whatever you want to call it, and I feel like I just don't have time to be fun any more! (I'm just too stinkin' tired!)
    As I was thinking about this I was trying to pinpoint not only what has changed in me but also how my siblings have changed since they got married. Spouses change you! Some of the changes were good, others, not so much.
    I kind of feel like I'm floundering right now too and am not quite sure how to reclaim myself! I'll be checking out that link for sure ;)

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  10. Hey Rachael! Great post. I remember the extrovert in college, and I liked her! I hope you can find some yellows to wear, and to speak your mind as often as you like. That is what I liked about you :) Your blog is awesome, but it is hard to read with the faded background? Maybe that's just on my computer. Thanks for your comment on my post. I did get stretch marks, just not on my stomach. And I like the idea of reaching a weight that I feel comfortable in, not just go for the number or pant size. You are awesome!



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