I am the person who went away, then came back?


When I promise I will do something I am usually pretty good at doing it.

But clearly when I promised to write here every day, I over-estimated my ability to actually do it. So perhaps I am not as I thought I was at all.

There is just too much going on and when I do have time to sit and write, I meet resistance. All I want to do is read, or watch In Treatment on ororo.tv.

My brain is totally full of lists and plans and ruminations on how to resolve the damp problem outside the house, whether to lay tiles or a floating floor, how to get the internet connected. Then the sun shines and we make a dash to the beach to try and swim while there is still a chance.

Everyone is saying what a bad summer it has been but really it doesn’t seem too bad. Isn’t this just what it is like in Cornwall in August?  I seem to have forgotten what is normal any more. Obviously it is not hot and dry like in Catalunya but isn’t this a typical summer here?  And when the sun does shine as it did two days ago, it is quite hot. Finally we made it down to Roskilly beach and had a swim. The water was warm-ish and as always, you felt so much better for having been in. But the thing with the weather here is that you can’t depend on it – it is changeable and not reliable. Like me?

What I wanted to write about tonight was the programme, Future Proofing,  I heard on Radio 4 this evening. They were talking about identity and how much it is affected by the communities you feel a part of. Family, home town, work place, country. So, if you are away from those familiar groups you can begin to wonder who you are. The positive side of this separation is that you are free to explore who you can be, outside of who you have always been.

Interesting thoughts. I certainly went through a crisis of identity when in Catalunya as I felt people mainly saw me as a foreigner, a stranger and an older woman in a youth-based society.   I wasn’t funny any more – just a quiet person with British reserve. It took a long time to begin to feel I had any other identity that was unique to me.

But also I felt free to be a different person – to speak, dress, behave, think, communicate in a more relaxed way.  I did things that I had never tried to do when I lived in the UK. Like dancing in the mountains.

And now that I am back do I feel the old identity pulling me back into line?

Yes, I do although it is self-inflicted and no-one is monitoring me but me. I feel a stiffening up, a tightness in how I walk, speak and act. I don’t hug people as much. I don’t smile as much. I feel more rule-bound and less experimental. Something seeks out the safe and familiar and rejects the strange and new.

Sunshine!  I miss it and how the warmth melted away my tensions.

But the main question that nags me since my return from Catalunya, and even more accurately since walking the Camino is ‘Who am I?’ and can I find more honest answers to this now that I am both returned from abroad and not yet fully back at home?

Do you know who you are?

Would you answer that question based on your family, your nationality, your work, your politics,your sexuality, your beliefs?  Do other people define who you think you are?

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8 thoughts on “I am the person who went away, then came back?

  1. I’m split too. My split is London and Suffolk. As I write that I realise that I knew who I was when I lived in London. I love Suffolk. I love our village and I’ve attracted my friends to come here. We haven’t experienced homophobia or any small-mindedness, but still I don’t know who I am here.

    The nearest I get to knowing who I am in Suffolk is when I am swimming in the sea. If I’m with someone I always say ‘How did I make this stick? How can I remember the feeling of this moment?’

    In London, I get on my bike and I know who I am. I know the back routes. I feel I know things other people don’t and I can do things other people can’t.

    Maybe it’s feeling you get wherever you are in your element.

    1. I thought this was so interesting….that you really feel like you when in London. Where do I really feel like me? certainly more here in Cornwall and yet, I so loved the freedom to be a different me in Catalunya. I aim to feel at home everywhere on the planet. But perhaps this is still a bit too high a leap. K x

  2. I’m working on acceptance and mindfulness. I’ll need to, as soon I’ll be moving from the States to Cornwall. This will be quite the transition. I’m looking forward to it in many ways but still, it will be an adjustment, a culture shock.

    By acceptance I mean, where I am is where I’m supposed to be.
    By mindfulness, I realize that thoughts are like tides, they come and go. There’s no good in holding onto the tides. I’ve been watching clouds dissipate lately and see that my thoughts do the same thing.

    Everything is temporary, only love is necessary.

    1. I seem to be always working on acceptance and mindfulness- it was what helped me so much when I was in Spain but it isn’t easy either is it? When you come to Cornwall I hope we can have interesting conversations about this sort of stuff. I can imagine what a big change it will be for you too. K x

  3. I have been asking this question a lot lately too (maybe it’s something in the air?!) I have been excavating the parts of me that shut down in my childhood being raised by two alcoloholics. It affected the partners I choose and attracted to me for the rest of my life (so far….) and now I don’t want and can’t live like this any longer. I am trying to get back in touch with who I am. Loving reading your posts!

    1. Interesting, my instincts tell me the Earth Mother is preparing for a major cleansing. Those who are paying attention are getting to where they need to be, emotionally and physically. This is not a bad thing. In fact, we are learning, we are nature too!

      1. Yes I think so too. Interesting how many people are moving now and going somewhere different. We are nature too….that is a nice way of putting it.

    2. Thank you as always Kim. It means a lot to me that you come here to visit. I think so many of us are going through these processes now. Big questions making themselves heard. Looking at what we can no longer ignore. Uncomfortable sometimes and also exciting…..sometimes. K x

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