My Identity Crisis

My life has been all about identities. I was a child, a daughter, a friend, a sister. Then I was a student, an athlete, and president of book club. I went to college and became a student again, a 20-something, president of the PRSSA chapter, student account manager, and intern.

I’ve always been defined by these words. And suddenly, I find myself without any words left.

Things don’t always go as planned. The paths you choose to follow don’t always lead you where you want them.

I chose a path a while ago choosing to take a chance on a small startup company. This path didn’t turn out how I wanted. And here I am, left without the words.

For the first time in my life, I feel completely free. I always thought that this feeling would come accompanied by a feeling of pure excitement.

But all I’m feeling is pure terror.

For most of my life, I always knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to college, so I did. I wanted to become involved in the public relations field and help the student organization make a name for itself…so I did. And I wanted to go to Australia and study abroad, therefore I did.

Then suddenly, the health issues that I had been running away from for so long caught up to me, and the paths that I had been chasing after suddenly disappeared.

The job that I thought was perfect turned out to be all wrong.

And the travel dreams that I was chasing, were put on hold because of impending surgeries and a desire to feel better.

And I’m left with no idea what I’m supposed to do anymore. I don’t know what I want to do for a living. I don’t know where I see myself in the next year. And I don’t know how to figure it all out.

For years, I dreamt of the day that I would be a college graduate. I imagined the job that I would have, the friends that I would surround myself with, and the goals that I would be close to achieving.

But now I realize, that I was truly setting myself up for failure. I put such high expectations on myself to determine my path. Yet I never stopped to think about what would happen if that path was not obtainable.

Maybe life isn’t about having all the answers. Maybe it’s not about knowing what we want to do, what we’re meant to do. Maybe it’s about enjoying exactly where we are, at the exact moment that we’re there. And maybe it’s about letting the paths find us, and then allowing ourselves to follow them.

I don’t have the words to describe myself right now. But maybe I don’t have to. I’m still Lara, the same person that I have always been. Except now instead of defining myself by the words…maybe it’s time to realize that I can’t be defined by words. And I can’t be defined by the paths.

“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.” 
Guy Gavriel Kay



One response to “My Identity Crisis

  1. I feel like I’ve come to the same place as you from the opposite direction. I never knew what I wanted to do. For years, I didn’t care. I went to college only because it was what “you’re supposed to do” after high school. My first major wasn’t something I ended up wanting to study; my next major was something I only chose ‘cuz I was a junior and my school said pick a major or you’re out. When I finished, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. A year or so later, I took a creative writing class at a community college for the hell of it and thought, “I think I’d like to work with writing somehow.” I was accepted to law school and a PhD program, but I chose an M.A. in English ‘cuz I figured a writer should have a literary background. A few years after that, I was accepted to an MFA but couldn’t afford to move. So I enrolled in a one-year teaching M.S. program–because it seemed like I should “do” something instead of nothing. A year later, I ended up in the MFA program. Finished that last year. Now I teach comp. and lit. at a few local colleges. So the plan I laid out 10 years ago–get an M.A., maybe an MFA; teach/work with writing–is in effect. But still, nothing’s taken any shape I expected it to. The best I can come up with is that life unfolds as it should, and all I can do is accept that and see it as being what I need, and not lament if it doesn’t resemble what I thought I wanted.

    I never knew what I wanted, really. And I kind of got it. And I’m still not sure what to make of it. All I can do is let my path find me, and choose to follow.

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