Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cherry-picking, #4: I Find Myself Fascinating

I mentioned here that I find myself fascinating. And I really do.

But I think that statement deserves a little more clarification. It's not in an "I'm-so-cool-as-I-lean-against-my-red-sportscar-and-flip-my-hair (like-a-character-from-an-80s-movie)" kind of way. It's more in the way an infant stares at its hands, like, "Whoa, dude, look at those amazing things! Lordy!"

First, I find my life fascinating.

It actually usually feels quite routine (which I am discovering is not such a bad thing), but when I take a look back at the experiences that have happened to me, the things I have made happen, intentionally or unintentionally, the places I've gone, the people I've met, the things I have seen, I think, Wow, what a crazy, interesting, lucky life I lead!

I can't take much credit for it all, because I don't see myself as being in control as much as being a guide for my life, sort of loosely shepherding it in this way, or that, and waiting with anticipation to see what comes next. Even when something happens as a direct result of a conscious decision on my part, it usually unfolds in a completely unexpected manner.

Second, I do find myself fascinating.

But it's as if I were someone else, a subject to study, and I am starting to learn that I am not the Alison I thought I was.

I am 33, at the age where you start having doctors who are younger than you are, which is a bit of a shock, really, and you realize that all that worldliness and wisdom you thought you had in college and your 20s is replaced in equal parts by certainty and uncertainty.

In other words, even though I am pretty sure I know a few things by now, I am also aware that I know nothing, really. And I'm okay with that.

My life changed pretty drastically three years ago when my husband and I got married -- I left my job, and, really, my career; I left my friends and some of my family behind; I left my beloved city of Philadelphia; and (this is the one that I had the most trouble adjusting to, because I didn't expect it to be difficult at all), I left my name.

Essentially, I, who had never had a problem with dramatic changes and had gleefully jaunted off to live in countries where I knew no one and spoke none of the language not once, but twice, stepped into a major identity crisis and fell, and kept falling for a long time.

I did not know what hit me.

It has taken a lot of time to climb back out of the hole I fell into, using a ladder constructed mainly of two things: the patient and supportive love of my husband and this new life as an artist.

As I've climbed out, I have discovered that I am not the person I thought I was. In some ways, I've changed. In other ways, I just never was that person. But I find this new me as interesting as the old one, as I get to know myself all over again.

(And I am discovering that, in many ways, I have come full circle, and that, deep at the core, I am still just me.)


sweetcheese said...

Yay for being fascinated with your own self! I know what you mean about the "infant staring at its own hand" sort of feeling.

AlasMyDear said...

this was such a good read. i'm so glad you've found yourself all new, and that you're loving what you're discovering...way to go! that's what makes life really meaningful and fasciniating, i think. congrats on reaching this wonderful stage.

paintandink said...

Thank you, both, so much!