Monday, October 25, 2010

Can I see your ID

The other night at work, my bar was crazy busy and I was completely exhausted. I had stayed up until about 2AM for the two previous nights, then participated in consecutive hours of counseling at the counseling center where I am doing my internship (YAY!), then worked, then stayed up dreadfully late again, then got up and wrangled stuff out of my garage for a yard sale, then worked some more. The last place I wanted to be was behind a bar pouring beer and whiskey for a bunch of rowdy tourists. So when I carded the two black, British men asking for Coronas, I was less than happy when they looked at me and asked, "Seriously? What are you wanting to see?"

Apparently there is no ABC board in the UK, because these men honestly didn't realize that they needed their identification on them in order for me to serve them. I sent them up to their room to retrieve their passports in order to make sure I stayed out of trouble. When they returned and I explained that they couldn't even enter most bars in the area without getting carded they thanked me and placed their order for drinks and dinner. It wasn't until later that I learned that the younger of the two was a rising British pop star signed by Simon Cowell. I later looked him up on YouTube. Pretty talented kid. However, I still think it's funny that they were so perplexed when I asked for their ID. They really had no clue what I was asking for.

Ironically enough, another intern and I are on the schedule to lead an hour long discussion on the college campus where we are interning this week about "Your Identity as a Woman." We have had so many discussions about how to approach this topic, because there are so many things we want to say to these 21 and 22 year old women about this topic. You see, this is a conservative Christian school, and most of these young woman have grown up in conservative Christian households. The generic answer that we are anticipating is "My identity is in Christ." And that's all well and good. In fact, when I was 21 and 22, it's the same answer I would have given. But over the course of the last 8 years, with all of my life experience folded neatly into baggage, I have come to realize that "My identity is in Christ" is a complete cop out. It's all well and good to love Jesus and worship God, but WHO ARE YOU REALLY AND WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

I gave this answer all those years ago, because I grew up thinking it was who I was supposed to be. It was what was expected of me. And no one ever came right out and said it was ok to be anything else. Since I was never one to rock the boat, I never questioned it. And whether it felt right or not, it's who I said I was. And then, because I could only see this one very narrow path that started with a pretty white dress, and had me pushing a stroller around the bend, I never gave myself permission to go a different way. In all honesty, I don't think it ever occurred to me that there actually was a different way. This was, for all I could see, THE ONLY WAY.

Then life happened harshly, and there was no other option for me than to redefine who I thought I was, who I wanted to be, where I wanted my life to take me, and who I wanted to go there with. It all happened so fast, and at the same time, finding myself has been the longest road.

So in an effort to find some sort of resolution to this question of "What is My Identity As a Woman" I am writing a letter to myself at the age of 22:

Dear Sara,
First of all I want you to know that I'm proud of you for finishing your bachelor's degree. I know you are second guessing your decision to major in interior well you should...bad decision, my friend...but the degree will come in handy exactly two times. Once, when you are picking out paint for your home and you chose the lighter shade because paint always looks darker at home, and then again when you decide to go to grad school. It will be useful in no other way. So just accept that. I wish you knew that you were amazing, and smart, and funny, and pretty, and valuable. But I know you don't. I wish you realized that life is much bigger and much broader than marriage and babies and living like you should. I wish you would go to a party, dance with a frat boy, drink a margarita, and have fun...because you're 22 and you really shouldn't be so worried about doing the right thing all of the time. I wish you realized that your parents were proud of you...and I wish you knew that no matter how badly you screw up they always will be. You'll figure it out one day...but I wish you got it now. I wish you could dream big dreams for your life, instead of limiting yourself the way you do. Go travel, see the world, and then come home with stories to tell! I wish you could relax just long enough to see that you are worth it. I wish you knew that God could see your hurt places and doesn't judge you for them. I wish you knew that He loves you NO MATTER WHAT...because your life will be easier once you figure this out. I wish you knew exactly what you deserved...because if you knew that, you would make different choices. I wish you realized that there are no rules, no boundaries, no limits, and no expectations...because you are the one in charge. I wish you knew what I know. Because if you did, you would love you as much as I do.

But one day you'll get there...and we'll meet up somewhere, shake hands, and have a diet coke...and then I will know that you are ok. And then you will know that I am too. You should know, Sara, that the road is going to be rough for a while...but I will not give up on you.

Whatever you do, just keep going. Because once you catch up to me you'll see that it's about to get so good.


Eight years ago, if someone had asked who I was, I wouldn't have known how to answer them. Now...there's so much to tell, I don't even know where to start.
But at least I know who is in charge of the story.


Crystal said...

There are so many things I would like to tell a 22 year old me! Wish I could have saved myself some heartache. I can't help but think that the 39 year old me has got a lot to say to me at 29 though!

FYI - love your blog - I appreciate your honesty and authenticity. I think that authenticity is one of the most under appreciated qualities in the world.

Amy said...

I loved the 21 year old you and I love the 29 year old you. I am glad that I have gotten to share life with you.

Lora said...

i don't regret a single step i've taken, as they've all led me to the place i am now (and i choose to live with no regrets)

that said...i do wish i could give the emotional and not-so-wise younger me a pep talk once in awhile. and i'm sure in 10 years i'll look back at some of my reactions to situations i face today and go...what?!

(sometimes i don't even go 10 minutes without thinking that. lol)


I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You :-)