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.

26 comments:

Akelamalu said...

We have just finished painting the house right through, not for a new start in our case but because it needed it. A new start for you it maybe but you will still have your memories and I'm sure Pip is looking down thinking go gal!

What do you prefer to be known as, I always call you Flowerpot because that's the name I've always known you by?

Flowerpot said...

Ak - I bet he is! Please do call me Flowerpot - online I will continue to be Flowerpot - it's just in real life that things have changed!

Jenny Beattie said...

That's such a lovely post.

It's so easy to let the 'me' get lost in all those roles, isn't it?

Chris Stovell said...

The strange thing is that I addressed a blog comment to you as 'Sue' today - for some reason Flowerpot didn't seem quite right, isn't that peculiar? Once again, I feel huge admiration for you for the way you've face the enormous changes in your life and for recognising that you're on the threshold between two places. Redecorating seems an entirely appropriate rite of passage to mark the evolution of Sue. All best wishes and a belated happy birthday here. Cx

ADDY said...

Shifting sands - I know just how you feel. Maybe the newly renovated flat will brush away a few cobwebs.

Irene said...

I've finally stopped hiding behind all sorts of pseudonyms and call myself plain old Irene which encompasses everything I am. It's the whole package. I'll think of you as plain Sue because that's who you are. And that's a good thing too.

Morton S Gray said...

Flowerpot - Your Pip would not want you to stand still now he has gone. Flap your wings and fly - Take lots of photos of the flat as it is for those times when you need to remember and then let it go. We all evolve through time. Mx

datacreata said...

I think that probably, at this moment of time you are a chrysalis. One day, you will emerge into another you. Good luck with the decorating and your 'moving on'. Little steps ...

Melissa Marsh said...

So well said. We have so many definitions of who we are in our lives, so many roles we play, and each one is special. Would love to see some pics of the new decorating!

Flowerpot said...

Melissa - each role is special - I do like that!

Flowerpot said...

Datacreata - a chrysalis - i like it! I seem to be taking rather large steps, but that's just how it is! Good to meet you please call again soon x

SARINA said...

A new YOU. Exciting times ahead, I`m sure. Have fun exploring the future!!

Flowerpot said...

Addy - cobwebs of all kinds, yes!

Flowerpot said...

Chris - that is strange. Pip only ever referred to me as Pop and there's only one other person who calls me that. Thanks for the bday wishes!

Flowerpot said...

Irene - I seem to be the kind of person who attracts nicknames - I always have done!

Flowerpot said...

Morton - I love the image of me flapping my wings and flying. And good idea to take pics - I will do so, thanks x

Flowerpot said...

Sarina - I will, thank you.

Flowerpot said...

JJ - I think it's very easy for us to get lost in other definitions. That's how society sees us, after all.

Carol White said...

Can I just say how much I enjoy your blogs? I got to know them through your SIL Shelagh. We 'met' through watching the King Harry Ferry webcam and have been Facebook friends for quite a while. I love your decriptions of the walks you do in Cornwall. I know most of the places you mention and as I'm reading I'm 'walking' with you. Thank you.

Flowerpot said...

Carol - how lovely to hear from you, and thanks so much for your lovely comments - makes it all worthwhile! Give Shelagh my love and I'm so pleased you enjoy my walks.

Philipa said...

You are lucky to be as loved as you are. And I know that whatever you morph into you'll be just as loved as the little chap himself :-)

Didn't realise you were a mum, Sue. Or have I forgotton? You expect to be loved, to be a lover and I don't. Interesting. We come to expect more of the same I suppose?

Flowerpot said...

Phil - thank you what a lovely comment. I'm mum to my animals and surrogate mum to another, so not what you might call a proper mum, but am considered to be so by many! As for what we expect, I suppose yes, it is what we're used to. I very much enjoyed being one half of a loving partnership, so that's what I hope for again. Apparently those that have had that tend to do it again, if you know what I mean!

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful conclusion. I'm glad that in all the questioning, you found the way back to you.

Flowerpot said...

Talli - Thanks. so am I!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

What another lovely post. I only know you online but you'll always be Flowerpot to me! It's often good to get rid of the old though and look forward to the new - we'll never forget.

CJ x

Flowerpot said...

Thanks CJ I'm Flowerpot then! And yes we have to move on in life. No going back.