“Wait. You’re going to a movie? You don’t have friends, you can’t go. That’s just weird, mom.”
Ah, the cutting words of a teenager. If I were less comfortable in my own skin, I might be having an identity crisis.
Apparently my son thinks because I am a mother, I have no life. I can see where he might think that. For the past 21 years my life has pretty much revolved around he and his sister and their activities. It was important to me to be there for them. Why should they think I have a life of my own?
Ah, but I do!
I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and self-appointed family referee. I’m a friend and a co-worker. I’m an animal lover and a hiker, a photographer and scrapbooker. And I am a writer. While my persona’s share some traits, others are unique to a specific role. And yet, they all tie in together to make me who I am.
My family undoubtedly sees me as the bossy one. Being the oldest of five, of course I learned to be bossy! My siblings either are too far away or don’t want to deal with the issues of aging parents, so naturally I’ve taken charge. Someone has to.
“Suzie Homemaker” is what some of my soccer mom friends have dubbed me. To my way of thinking, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes, I attend all my son’s games. I roam the sidelines taking pictures of our players, and often share them with other parents on Facebook. I’m happy to help out organizing the parent phone tree, painting signs, or bringing snacks. They laugh when I tell them I don’t cook, but it’s the truth. My hubby is the cook in our family, and believe me, it’s better that way!
Co-workers might say I do too much, meaning I need to learn to say no. But my job is more than just a job to me, it’s another family. I care about the people I work with and for. I strive to do the best that I can do. Yes, I’m bossy there sometimes too. But for the most part, what needs to happen gets done, and done right. Co-workers and my bosses know they can count on me to get the job done. I don’t need accolades for doing my job. I’m perfectly happy behind the scenes.
My writer persona is still a work in progress. I’m like a sponge, trying to soak up as much information as I can, then wringing it out as words on paper or on my computer. I am the boss here, too, and sometimes that can be a bad thing. It’s like having the whole world to run free in, and not knowing which direction to go. But I’m learning!
And then I had an Aha! moment.
The heroine in my current WIP has been a real struggle for me. Who is she? Maybe I haven’t explored the fabrics of her personas enough. She’s not a mother, but she is a daughter and a sister. How do others perceive her in those roles? How do those roles tie in to her professional role in life? Obviously I’m missing something because she’s not working for me, and if she’s not working for me, she won’t work for my readers. Maybe I need to think more like my son and question who her friends are.
Do you or your characters ever suffer from an identity crisis? How do you cope with it?