Of course. But most of us are different things to different people. Does anyone really know anyone? It all depends on what we choose to show, how we wish to present ourselves, how much, how little.
In a somewhat chronological order, I am/was:
A thought. A discovery to my mother when she discovered she was pregnant, she became pregnant by an “older man,” and was ostracized. I was definitely the product of a passionate affair. What were her first thoughts? Surprise? Concern? Regret? Maybe all three. I was given up for adoption, after all. Sure, I bet at least half of us were surprises. Concern? Can she raise me? Does she want to? A single mother in the fifties was not looked upon with anything positive. Most, as she, were moved away into seclusion to finish the unwanted pregnancy and move back after giving up the child. Regret? Most likely, but birth control and abortion were not available then. I was one of the lucky ones; my adoption was planned prior to my birth, with all associated medical costs paid for by my adoptive family. Not all were so fortunate.
A daughter. A child! Ah, such possibilities – a daughter, with parents who genuinely wanted one. Raised in an upper middle-class suburban home, I was afforded a good life. All the things that would ensure my success. Education, good medical care, love. Pretty good start. Yes, I was raised in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Connecticut. Great schools full of happy healthy kids like me. The usual music lessons, religious training, good moral values, dance lessons, access to medical and dental care.
A friend. Raised in suburbia provided an instant circle of friends. We walked to school together, went to synagogue, Hebrew school after our regular school. Brownies (the younger Girl Scout groups). All the requisite activities designed to develop us socially, spiritually, mentally and physically. Went through all school grades with pretty much the same group of friends. We really couldn’t choose our friends; I don’t even think we could decide if we liked them or not. They just were our friends.
A student. Because we all went through school together, we pretty much knew who was smart, who was average, and who was moved along. Although we all went to public schools, they were really good ones. So, we all succeeded with good grades because that’s what we did.
A girlfriend. I never considered myself the kind of girl who would find a boyfriend. I was the tall skinny girl with glasses and didn’t really develop a figure that teenage boys found attractive. That was for the cheerleaders, who magically appeared in my field of vision when I entered high school. We had one high school in my small town, and they went to different schools when younger. But boy oh boy, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete there! They had breasts. And they were petite, had blonde hair and blue eyes. I was the art geek, the complete opposite. But somehow, a few boys found me attractive. So, I did have a few boyfriends in high school, and one who actually was the co-captain of the junior varsity football team. He was my boyfriend for over two years. Imagine that.
A wife. Yup, a wife, and a very young one at that. Eighteen! My father died when I was eighteen, and of course I had to replace him. I was the definitive Daddy’s Girl, so I found someone who would take care of me. Joey was so handsome! Smooth, a little older than I, much more progressive. He was a catch, so when he suggested we marry, who was I to say no? He came from a completely different background than I, which I found fascinating. A Roman Catholic, with parents who drank alcohol, had big parties, lived large. I was quite sheltered form that kind of life, but they welcomed me without hesitation. My mother wasn’t terribly happy with my choice, but I was born with a pretty strong stubborn streak (she actually labeled me a “willful child!) so I went ahead. Joey was a good husband, entered his family’s business and was a hard worker and hard partier. We had fun, and stayed together for fifteen years.
A single woman. As I grew up, I came to realize I wanted a different life, wanted the ability to experience, travel, explore. Joey was more of a homebody, so off I went.
An adventurer. I traveled. Read. Explored. Felt. Wandered. Yet was always responsible financially and with my life.
A lover. I embraced life and the men in the world. I loved learning about people from different cultures, cities, levels. Experiencing them physically, mentally and emotionally. I stayed single for over seventeen very happy years. Sometimes in longish relationships, sometimes one-night stands. And don’t regret a single one. They all added to my being.
A wife. Yes, I became a wife again. I wasn’t looking for a husband, and in retrospect, feel I allowed myself to be talked into it, but it lasted ten years. Wasn’t happy for most of it, but I had my work, my freedom (he was yet another homebody and valued work over everything). I traveled many places as a solo, experienced a lot by myself. I had my own money so had that freedom.
A single woman. Yes, single again, and happy for my decision. Maybe I waited too long to leave, but hey…. here I am, once again…taking a big bite out of life as…
An adventurer/explorer/an individual. Happier than ever!