Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letting go of parts of your identity

Yesterday I did something that I rarely do. I bought some cookies.

Let me explain that. I have always enjoyed baking and I'm relatively good at it. I make good cookies, muffins, pies, cakes, etc...

When I became a mother, I saw that as an even bigger part of my identity. I was to be the super mom. Yes, I'm a 21 century woman, with a not so small helping of feminism, but I wanted to be the ultimate homemaker and mother too. To me, amongst other things, that meant home cooking and baking.

So, we were in the store yesterday getting supplies to have a picnic for dinner. We picked up some fresh strawberries, and some tortillas to make wraps. We already had a lot of the other fixings, so we were moving on when my children asked about the chocolate chip cookies.

My first thought was: if we are going to have cookies, I need to make them.

I've shown this stubbornness before. Despite my tendency to get overwhelmed, I always insist on making pies at Christmas and other holidays - because I CAN'T serve store bought ones. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a snob, and I am perfectly happy to eat store bought pies at someone else's house. They have every right to serve them.

But, I am Deb, the baker. Somehow, I had allowed myself to let that become part of my identity.

Then yesterday, while standing in the grocery store, I let go of that part of my identity.

There is nothing wrong with the occasional treat, and I have no problem with my kids having cookies sometimes. However, I don't do well with them in the house. At this point, baking cookies means I'll eat too much batter before they're even made and then I will have dozens of them haunting me. Buying a package of a dozen allows my family to have a treat, with only a small amount left over later.

I am not Deb, the baker.

I am a person who occasionally bakes. I am also a person that frequently runs, bikes, and swims. I am a person that enjoys gardening and hiking. I like theatre and I have an artistic side.

More and more, I am wondering which of these things actually defines me? If I injured myself and could no longer run, would I lose part of my identity? Part of me says yes. That would be a label that would hurt a lot more to give up. Yet, at the same time, none of it is me. It's just things that I do that sometimes allow me to be me.

I left the store with some cookies, but without a label that I've let hold me down.


  1. This is a great post. I often think how I would define myself if I stopped running for some reason. I got my hair cut 2 days ago and the stylist asked me "what do you do for fun" and I said "ummm... I like to run" and she was all "no, I meant for FUN."

  2. I'm comfortable in my role in this universe as the eater of cookies. No need to let that go. Then again....

  3. Good for you!!

    I don't discriminate against homemade or store bought junk food. I "used" to eat it all! Not anymore- although the picture of the cookie sure made me crave one! Not gonna give in!