Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Defining ourselves

We have established that our parents choose our first names.  That, quite frequently, our names give a fairly good description of what we are like.  (not always true, but it is true for my children)  It only makes sense that our last names also define us in someway.  Last names are not chosen though, they are passed on, and what we are left with is definitions based on the past and on our family.

Where I grew up there was a construction company called "Stewart Construction" (clever, I know)  but everyone assumed that the people who owned that were related to me because my last name was also 'Stewart'.  I was not related to them.  I was not closely related to anyone within 100km of where I grew up.

We get older, we get married and then we have our husband's last name.  Every other person within 100km of where Eric grew up knows his mom.  She knows EVERYONE!  That being said, when I say I am Kathryn Seaborn, anyone from the Orillia area will immediately ask if I am related to Marie, and my answer is 'Yes.... she is my mother in-law".

Now names aren't such a bad thing to be defined by.  I think most of us can agree that we have grown attached to our name and the name of our families.

As we grow up we are defined by our siblings.... I can't tell you how many times I have been referred to as "Ben's little sister" or "Nathan's little sister" and occasionally "Matt's big sister".

We have children and we become defined by them.  I am "Seth's Mom" and for some reason I cannot understand, his accomplishments are my accomplishments.  If someone were to ask me about myself the first thing I would say is that I have 3 children.  I would then go on to describe them instead of myself.  Somewhere along the way I am loosing 'Kathryn' and just becoming 'Mom'.

Then we can be defined by the neighbourhood we live in.  I am sure we all remember the unsavoury areas around our hometown.  For me, if you grew up  in Port McNicoll you automatically had some bad connotations.  If you said you grew up in Victoria Harbour you had an entirely different reputation. (Maybe not entirely different... but different)

We are defined by the houses we live in and the cars we drive.  We are defined by the brand of our shoes and the cleanliness of our clothes.



 Would I be looked at or thought of differently for getting out of the second car rather than the first?

What I want to know is, How do we stop this?  How can I be defined for who I really am instead of who's mother I am?  How can I begin to define myself when asked about my own interests?

If you've got this figured out, let me know!!

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