Since long before I was old enough to be called a woman, I have wondered, worried, explored, analyzed, psychoanalyzed, reformed, self-chastened and chastised, groveled, and agonized about the kind of woman I am, should be, need to be, want to be. These journeys into the deepest caves of my being, these self-forced marches through the stalactites and stalagmites of my spirit, have taken place on paper, in my dreams, in my insomnia, in my conversations with myself and those with whom I share affection. And these journeys have gone on, and on, and on, leading me to travel one way and then another, circling back, losing myself in the dark forest of perfectionism and seeking approval, binding me with the crawling, clinging, choking vines of trying to be the girl and woman I have thought others expect me to be and I expect myself to be. I swing, unable to reach the ground, caught, nearly unable to breathe, held fast by the terror of not measuring up.
And so I am sick unto revulsion of writing about the kind of woman I have been and find myself to be.
Okay, on the Enneagram I am a Type 2, one who loves to serve but too often flips over into serving in order to be accepted. I am old according to most but don’t feel or act old. I don’t even always act or feel grown. I am proud of my degrees but feel less than those who have more degrees than I; I still think of earning a doctorate, but the goal is only partly from my love of learning. I am single—I detest the word “spinster” because of the connotations it carries, but yet I’m known to apply these connotations to myself. I am adventurous. I do love learning—so much so that I expect my heaven to include universities. I love intensely those closest to my heart. I am still trying to figure out my purpose. I have, including recently, been called Goodie Two Shoes, but I am meek and goodie only until I’ve absolutely had enough, and the time lapse between goodie and harpy varies.
Do you know who I really want to be? I want to be a woman who is exactly as God intends for her to be—herself, foibles and all, and with a determination to work each day toward being herself in the best sense. And that, of course, includes at the center finding out how she can, as herself and not merely as she wants and thinks she ought to be, be useful to others and honor her parents and creation, of which she can right this minute stop being ashamed of the part she is taking in its being and becoming.