Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Decorating - and who am I?
(This picture was taken at Hawker's Hut near Morwenstow - a fabulous walk in North Cornwall.)
I’ve decided to have my flat redecorated while I’m away for a week in March. This was quite a momentous decision as it means saying goodbye to the Flowerpot who was Pip’s wife. Well, that’s what it feels like.
On a practical level it makes sense. We painted it 13 years ago so it needs doing. Also, the colour scheme involved orange and dark red ceilings which make it dark, and really the flat needs lightening and warming up, so that’s my intention.
Emotionally it also makes sense. As my Irish friend Mari said, “It’ll be a good opportunity to have a good clear out, Sue. Mentally and physically.” Which I’ve started doing.
But taking down all those old photographs made me think. I’m not Flowerpot anymore, though a few people call me that. I shan’t repeat some of my other nicknames, but I am also sometimes Sue Jackson and sometimes Sue Kittow. One is a writer, one is a widow – how I hate that non-word.
What or who am I now? Adventurer, fab friend (according to one birthday card), mother, singer, writer, walker. I am all of these and more besides. But the me that was married to Pip is evolving into someone else.
I’m moving on, and I don’t know who I’ll end up as. Or where, when and for how long. And while that’s exciting in a way, it’s also pretty scary.
It occurred to me that many of us are defined – and therefore define ourselves - through other people. I was Pip's wife. I will, I trust, be someone else's partner. Lover. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a mother. We are also defined by our jobs - I'm a writer, a landlady, a journalist.
I've been struggling with this identity crisis until it occurred to me that underneath all that labelling, I'm just me. Fortunate enough to know that I am much loved.