I recently attended a work conference in which there were so many of us in a small room that we were like sardines in a can. But I was completely comfortable in the chaos, ‘cause I was just another face that didn’t need to call attention to myself. That is, until the people running the conference asked us to each turn around and introduce ourselves to one other person in one sentence. We were asked to define, “who are you?”
That’s a really hard thing for me, someone who has spent her entire life being something for someone else. I was probably overthinking it, but it’s what I do, I over-everything.
I was the daughter who strived to please regardless of the task. I juggled everything and anything that was expected of me. When I was so lost in those expectations, I swallowed my cries of agony and represented what I thought was expected of me.
I was the wife who stood tall and strong as the husband threw his sea bag over his shoulder and walked down the pier to a ship that would deploy him for months. I was the mom who worked and managed to not lose her baby to the giant entertainment center that she liked to randomly climb at eight months instead of walking.
I’ve been the employee who messed things up so badly it took me a whole weekend to clean up my mess. And I’ve also been the rockstar who beat a tough deadline. I’ve failed a lot and succeeded just enough to keep me climbing, and yet, I have no idea who I am.
Can we ever define who we are? Or is that something that will be left to those around us to put in our obituary, “She was … .”
I turned to the lady behind me and she introduced herself first. It was great, she was articulate and she made eye contact and she was sincere. I was less than that. I managed to share “I’m a mom, wife and child of Christ,” because that was all I could think of in a crunch.
And you know what — that pretty much sums me up. I know women around me who have achieved amazing things. They have initials behind their names, they have children who have conquered amazing hurdles, and yet I wake up each day and ask the Lord to let others see Him through me.
I’m a small person. Not just short in stature but also I’m a small girl with small goals and a heart for those around me. I’ll never do big things. I’m not destined for greatness in the worldly sense. I’ll never conquer amazing things but I can love like no other. I can drag those around me along with prayers of comfort and grace. I know that God can do big things and I’m okay with leaving that to him.
My career has been an afterthought. I do what I have to do while I support those around me. I’ve been able to create a business from nothing, and then watch someone else take it to amazing heights when I got bored. I’ve worked in some good companies that I hated to leave, but I did. I’ve worked for myself, in my pajamas whenever I couldn’t find something that would allow me the freedom to mom/wife the way I needed. And I have never regretted a single moment of it.
Maybe I’m destined to be that woman who will be remembered as “she loved hard” or “she was an amazing cook.” But to those around me, I hope that I’m remembered as the one who spoke the truth and then fed them in their time of need.
I know that there have been women in my life who have passed on and they have a prominent place in my memory. I think of them often and with a smile, because they marked me with their wisdom and their truths as well as their food.
So I guess when it comes down to “Who are you?” I can honestly say, “I’m a child of Christ, I’m a wife to a Godly man, mother to strong women and daughter to a woman who knew let’s life get her down. “
— Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now living in the remoteness of North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.