Before my daughter was born, I was totally wrapped up in, totally in love with, the idea of being a mom. Frankly, it’s all I’ve ever aspired to be aside from Wonder Woman. Other little girls dreamt of a fabulous wedding with flowing white train, I dreamt only of rocking the babies. (Hmmm… I never could envision the daddy; the other parent was always faceless and decidedly non-gender specific).
Then it happened. And while motherhood has been unequivocally the most rewarding, amazing, and indescribably incredible experience of my life, I’m afraid that it has become my life. Or, rather, that I have no value or identity beyond the role. The sensation is particularly strong on days like today, when the highlight consists of attending a 30-minute toddler storytime. And though I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything or anyone– my daughter is the unquestioned, unrivaled love of my life–, there is always the underlying worry that I’ll end up one of those lonely helicopter parents who hover, cluelessly unwelcome, long after the chickens have flown the coop. These parents, mostly mothers, don’t ever seem to forge an identity beyond their child(ren), and, I closeted worrier that I am, feel just a little tiny twinge of paranoia. Me in fifteen years? Could be.
This past month, I was honored to attend the 2008 Lambda Literary Foundation Writer’s Retreat. I met some wonderfully talented and creative people, many of them new, if transitory, teachers in this phase of my life. Yet aside from craft technicalities and feedback, one of my most lasting impressions of this conference centered on identity concepts, from the abstract and artistic to the concrete and physical. Frankly, the whole experience– being surrounded by GLBT-identified creators, solidified the sense in me that I, too, need to really kickstart writing, that I need to get off my rear and actively seek to form a presence undefined by conventional roles so as to shape a unique voice.
But first, I guess, I need to find it.
by Elisa Garcia