There’s a song in A Chorus Line that has a verse that goes: “Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? This is a photo of a person I don’t know.” I’m relating to that line a lot these days. I know I’m not the person I was before losing Vivienne, and I’m struggling to figure out who this new person is. I have to say, I just don’t feel like myself anymore.
I don’t react to things like I normally would. I expected that I’d have more patience with people, but I find the opposite to be true. I have little to no patience for trivial things. I react quickly and more strongly than I would have before. I’m quick to judge that something isn’t worth worrying about and how, in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter. I know that probably seems like a positive—don’t sweat the small stuff, right? Problem is that when you lose a child, the rest is all small stuff.
I’ve always been an introvert, but I’m now on the extreme end of that scale (this blog representing an effort to move away from that). I don’t like being around large groups of people, and I sometimes struggle with what to talk to people about. My grief and loss are always on my mind, but there’s really only so much that can be said about them. And while they consume my life, I know that they don’t consume the lives of others. It’s one of the things I’m working hardest on—being a better listener and recognizing that everyone has their struggles.
I used to be a relatively optimistic person. I always had faith that things would work out the way they were supposed to. Now that optimism is tempered with the knowledge that bad things happen. Really bad things. When people tell me that “everything will be OK” or “you’ll have another baby” I always respond with “well, we’ll see.” I don’t have the same belief that everything just works out.
I find that I’m never really present in the moment with what’s happening around me. So much feels like an out of body experience, and I always feel like I’m watching my life happen from afar. It’s when I’m most aware that I don’t know who I am anymore. As I watch myself react and respond, I can’t help but think “who is this person?”
I don’t know how I’ll work through this identity crisis and figure out who the new me is. I’m determined to make the new me a better person than the old me. I know that it’s one of the greatest ways I can honor Vivienne, which has become a driving force in my life. I hope that this new me becomes more familiar to me over the coming months. It will be nice one day to look in the mirror and recognize the face looking back at me.