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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: A Glass of Identity

If you need more info about Pour Your Heart Out, see THIS post.

But, really, it's anything that YOU consider pouring your heart out. There isn't ever a theme or topic that you have to blog about- it's completely a personal thing.

Please grab the button for your post and link up! 

Be sure to check out some of the links- you will find some amazing stories out there.

Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


I am J's wife. In a small town where he grew up and everyone knows him, that is my identity. His wife. My title, the way I'm introduced, the way people know who I am.

I am my boys' mom. It's seldom that I go places without them. At their schools, at a playdate, at the park, I'm their mom.

Those are roles that I treasure. I love my husband. I love my boys.

But, that's how I'm most often seen. And that's how I see myself sometimes, too.

How does what I do, say, wear affect how people see my husband or my kids? Is what I'm doing something that is appropriate for my role as Hubs's wife or my boys' mom?

I think it's okay to think like that a little. After all, if I walked into Hubs's conservative office wearing a short-short dress, that doesn't reflect well on him. Or if I would cuss at someone in the parking lot of the boys' preschool, that would end up reflecting negatively on them.

It's okay to consider how my actions would affect others in my life.

But, even though I love my family and even like being referred to as J's wife or Monkey's or Bear's or Cub's mom, that's not all I am.

I'm Shell.

Sensitive, emotional, driven, scattered, intelligent, flaky, loyal, reader, writer, yoga-lover, beach girl, comfy-clothes-wearing, flip-flop loving, Christian, sarcastic, contradictory, teacher, wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend.


There was a time in my life when I felt like everyone around me had pigeon-holed me into a box that wasn't really me. It was just what they wanted me to be.

And while it wasn't necessarily a bad little box that they put me in, it was still a box.

A box that felt suffocating to me because it wasn't who I really was. 

And I did some things that weren't really me, either, but I couldn't stand the labels being put on me.

Then, I learned that a better way to handle it was to just be me. Not to try to live up to the labels that get put on me. And not try to do something just to disprove someone's idea of me, either.

But, just to be me.

And so while I am J's wife, my boys' mom, my mom's daughter, my brothers' sister, and on and on....I am still me.

Some may not like that I don't fit into the box that they want to shove me in, but I've learned that I don't do well trying to deal with other people's labels.

Or even my own labels.

I've learned that I have the freedom to be who I really am.

That it's hard enough to find your place in the world without dealing with what others think you are or want you to be.  That there's no way to be exactly who someone else wants you to be. That you can only be yourself.

And I'm comfortable with who I am.



Blogger Laurel said...

Being identified by our relationships to others is incredibly interesting. I think that we end up defining ourselves--in that role at least--with some of the attributes we see in the person we're being related to. I know I did that when I was "Vic's Daughter" in high school and later when I was "Joel's fiance."

I loved what you said: "And not try to do something just to disprove someone's idea of me, either." I think a lot of people don't consider that subverting expectations can be just as dangerous as trying to live up to them. I suppose it's important to be sure that your motives for doing things are the right ones, you know?

Thanks for hosting. I hope you have a great week!

July 28, 2010 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger The Boob Nazi said...

I loved this post.

July 28, 2010 at 12:14 AM  
OpenID fojoy said...

That's why I am so lucky to have Wilzie - he has always loved and accepted me for what I am, even I let the occasionally "eff" slip in front of his Dad.

July 28, 2010 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger Perfectly Unperfect said...

Bravo! Very well put!!!

July 28, 2010 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

And the fact that we reserve the right to change our minds about who we are and what works for us---at any given time----just plain awesome!!!!

July 28, 2010 at 12:36 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

SO perfect, Shell. I feel the very same way. Worried about how I'll be perceived by people for certain things, including the PYHO I'm about to post/link up with. I'm mostly worried about in-laws and friends around here who aren't bloggers but just read me. I'm scared, but I'm tired of it. Whatever. Think what you want. I'm honest and open and I hope stuff I write about can help people....

Thanks again for providing this venue, this safe place for us. And I love your post today.

I'm about to link up and then go throw up.

July 28, 2010 at 12:40 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I think we all get put into those boxes, and I think I put myself in a box too.

When I was hit with my depression, I was worried about what needed to be done with me as a mom...kids were getting ready to go school full time and my role was changing, it was scary so I jumped into my own box, in a corner. A place no one would look for me.

I jumped out of the box and so glad I did...but sometimes it looks comforting. I just need to recylce it so I don't get back in.

Thanks for sharing Shell! :)

July 28, 2010 at 12:54 AM  
Blogger Cheryl D. said...

I find blogging helps me be me! It gives me the outlet to explore my feelings.

You did this quite beautifully in your post! Bravo!

July 28, 2010 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger shortmama said...

I can totally relate to this. Except instead of hubs wife in a small town I am the daughter of in the small town. Everyone knows me by my parents. Everyone at the school know me as my oldests mom. I also rebeled against all the labels in my late teens, was tired of being known a certain way. It helped me find who I really was/am though

July 28, 2010 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger purseblogger said...

You say it so well. I really love your writing. This is a great post girl and I think all of us who read it can relate to.

July 28, 2010 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger Kisha said...

I think the dichotomy between embracing and enjoying your roles and being identified solely by them is incredibly interesting. For example, I love to be known as my husband's wife because I love him, and I like to be known as a mom because I enjoy it and am good at it and adore my kids, but I balk at being known as JUST those things. Thanks for a post that really made me think. :)

July 28, 2010 at 1:44 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Don't you wish we had learned to be happy with being who we are when were were younger? What an precious gift it would be if we could impart that on young girls today.

July 28, 2010 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Icy BC said...

This post speaks for many women, Shell..I felt the same way before, and now I'm slowly gaining "me" back..

July 28, 2010 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger natalee said...

What an amazing post.. Im sure you touched sooo many people

July 28, 2010 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Such an important post, and one to which I think every mother and wife can relate. One of the things that left me floundering after my divorce was that loss of identity... I wanted it...I thought I was being who I wanted to be...and I failed..or at least that's what it felt like. Now I work hard at listening to my heart, my head and God to truly find the me that I am truly supposed to be, to not lose myself in the wake of my roll as mom.

July 28, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Mumsy said...

What a wonderful post! We all lost our identities through the roles that we play or live at times..but our true-selves will eventually want to be free..

July 28, 2010 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Kerri said...

I look at it like wearing hats. Each role I play is like wearing a different hat. It's important that we don't forget to take all the hats off from time to time and shake our booties off for being who we truly are inside!

July 28, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Nancy C said...

Like the previous commenters, this really speaks to me. I know, especially on the more isolating of days, that parts of me are screaming to come out. I think that's one of the reasons writing is so important right now.

July 28, 2010 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

Me is always a good person to be. I have learned that although I know "Me" and except "Me", most will only know me as the labels and titles that I wear. That's okay too, because I am guilty of getting to know them by their label/title.

Although I really enjoy when someones "Me" sneaks out for a sneak peek :D

July 28, 2010 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

It can be so tough sometimes not to be seen as someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's friend, etc. But it is SO important to remember that you are your own person and that you can definitely be whoever you want to be! Ever since I activated my "I don't give a shit what you think" switch, I've been so much happier.

July 28, 2010 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

I think every mom and wife feels the same. I have a lot of friends whoa re first time mom's who have a difficult time between the mom, wife, self role.

July 28, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

i think it's extremely important to be who you are - and components of yourself may be a mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc.

At the same time, you have to make sure you don't lose youself in your roles and that you are true to your feelings and your personality.

This past weekend, my sister told my husband and I that we are "just" a mom and dad. She didn't see us an anything more than that - I guess she feels like we are losing our identities. It's important to note though that she doesn't have children and doesn't live near us. She doesn't know what we do a part from Hayden. She doesn't know that I am true to myself while also being a mom and loving that role. I am a mom, but I am also me - Melissa. And I like me.

P.S. I "linked up" for the first time today... I hope you enjoy it.

July 28, 2010 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Rocker Mom said...

As moms, we are given so many titles and roles, I can see how some women totally lose their identities when the become so immersed in them. i try to be who I am still maintain my roles and mom and wife.

July 28, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I think a lot of moms/wives go through this. At the time it seems easier to be the roles we are given, but we end up losing who we are in the process.

Trying to climb out of that box is not an easy thing to, but it can feel so liberating when you do it.

July 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

I read it.

I commented the wrong way lol.

I can't relate. But commenting CAUSE YOU RULE!!!!

July 28, 2010 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Aunt Crazy said...

So many times, I've said I've been lost. Lost in being a wife, a mom, an employee, and everything else we become as we grow. Finding myself, it was so hard, and it's hard keeping me around. Thank you for sharing!!!

July 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

Awesome post, as usual. This is such a relevant post...add this to your best ones!

July 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Aging Mommy said...

Great sentiment. I think for many of us being comfortable in our own skin is something that only comes with age, but I also think if we can do our best to teach our children this from an early age then they just might make it there that much sooner which is a gift worth giving.

July 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Dina said...

that's a really nice post, i think SAHM's really get caught up in losing their own identity, however having our own identity and passions are what makes us interesting people. Especially to those closest to us who may have put us in those boxes to begin with.

July 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I feel like I could have written this! I'm also in this stage of my life where I feel like I'm getting to know me, and accept her. Maybe it's a 30's thing? Great post!

July 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Just Another Mom of 2 said...

I have a post about this that is slightly harsh, so I constantly hesitate to post it (see?? There I go worrying about others..). I have slowly become much more confident in who I am, even when I am lonely and without people around me. I love being a wife, I love being a mother, but I also love all of the things I get to do for me- even if sometimes I don't get to focus all that much on some of them. I think Blogging is a great way to help get to that point.

Your comfort with yourself shines through in the clarity of posts like this! I actually mentioned you in my ProBlogger challenge links because I love how honest you are- you put it out there how you feel. Love it! I hope your laptop situation is fixed soon!

July 28, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

So true, Shell. As a mom and a wife, we sometimes forget or downplay that we are still our own person. I love my life and my titles, but sometimes I want to just be Natalie!

July 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Lydia @ On The Verge said...

After being married and having four kids, I find myself still searching for "me". I spend so much time being Mommy and wife I forget about me. I have been working on bringing me back out and it is awesome.

Great post!


July 28, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger SassySillySpunky said...

Thanks for writing this post Shell! It is something I can relate to and it is so nice to know other woman feel the same way I do. I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter but I am also so many other things and that is OK too!

July 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger MommyLovesStilettos said...

I can relate to this. It's hard when everyone wants you to be this or that. And it can be hard to stay true to yourself and say "screw the labels". *HUGS*

July 28, 2010 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Messy Mommy said...

I can relate! Sometimes it seems like once you have kids it's all about them and you don't matter anymore.

July 28, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I get this. This is the reason I moved away from home, because I didn't like my labels or the box my family had me in. And the older I get, the more I realize this is not something you can escape, that I just have to embrace it, to some extent. But it's a struggle some days :)

July 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Jayme said...

It's hard to be anything else sometimes- there's not enough to be wife, mom and myself.

July 28, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Andrea (ace1028) said...

Yahoo for being YOU! You are an incredible you. :)

July 28, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Ms Bibi said...

Great post.

I feel the same way when I visit my hubs city and his family and when I step on the school grounds.

I do make sure that I leave my own mark everywhere else I go,lol.

July 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Love your post. I think I've been butting at some labels lately... WHO AM I??? LOL! ;D

July 28, 2010 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger McGillicutty said...

Gosh I feel we all go through this a lot... my hubby feels like he's my husband and not himself!!!!!
I don't particularly feel I'm the dominant half but it's just I know more people here than he does.
thanks for this link.. i really needed it.

July 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Mothers' Hideaway said...

Oh, Shell. I feel this way all the time. (I wrote a blog on this). It's so hard to find who you are when you're defined by who you are. If that makes sense. I was pigeon holed as a kid by my family and I've done a great job of making sure I wasn't that person, but each time I am around them I feel this sense of suffocation and panic because they're trying to stuff me back into that box.

Thanks for writing this today and for hosting yet again. <3

July 28, 2010 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Daisygirl said...

yes yes yes! I find myself struggling with this all the time! Took a vacation just to be me...only tried to talk about me....it was fabulous!

I find that when I write my biography for school, a blog, a website I always start with I am a wife and a mother...I am not doing this anymore because yes those are super important but those 2 things don't only define me as a person.

Love this post!

July 28, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Grand Pooba said...

This is so important, I agree. Every mom and wife needs to keep her identity, she will be a better wife and mom that way.

July 28, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Joann Mannix said...

I love who you are. And here's hoping your computer is up and running soon. It is the absolute worst to be without it and I understand. Good luck, baby doll.

July 28, 2010 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

Yes, when you live your life in our own truth - without other's labels - I have found that the people who are best for you come into your life and love you. I just wrote a post about a me-moment and ended it with a quote I love by Virginia Woolf: "No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anything but oneself."

July 28, 2010 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Leticia said...

This is one of the very things I am working on right now! I love your post, and honesty about not being able to fit in anyones box. I certainly do not, and I have been trying to for far too long.

It's time for me to break out of the box! Thanks for sharing and opening my eyes to another one of the issues I am focusing on. It really helps to hear that others feel the same way!

July 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I feel ya there...I did some stupid things to try to "undefine" myself but then, I had to live with those consequences so learning to live as yourself is good!!! Good for you!!! :)

July 28, 2010 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger We 2 Bees said...

I loved this!
I've been there, but it's best to be ourselves and break free. Good for me for being able to see and do it!

July 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger KLZ said...

This is an issue that has been plaguing me for awhile now. I'm glad to have read it.

July 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Beth Zimmerman said...

Excellent post, Shell! Being the quiet one in a family filled with extroverts this has been something I have *struggled* with my whole life. Discovering, even for myself, who I am and the freedom to BE that person! It's okay to be me too! I'm Beth and Beth is a pretty awesome person!

July 28, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Salt said...

You are such a fantastic writer, Shell, and this post made me smile so much.

All of us as women have so many facets to who we are. Kids and husbands are just parts of a whole.

July 28, 2010 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Tylaine said...

Awesome post Shell. I just love your honesty and the way you can put your feelings into words so well. I am amazed at how much I can relate to so many of the things you say.

July 28, 2010 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger 3LittleMonkeys said...

Love this post Shell! It is so true. I also feel like I'm trying to be someone else, someone perfect! And....I'm so not perfect. I need to let go of that and be my true self!

July 28, 2010 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Katina said...

I can so identify with this post (as I can with all of your posts). We do wear so many different hats that it makes it hard sometimes to just be ourselves. IF we are not careful, we will forget who we are!

July 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I completely understand, I am trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be outside of my labels, and that can be hard. I am glad that you have it figured out, it gives me some hope!

July 28, 2010 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Great great post! And yes it is often so hard but so I important to be true to who we are

July 28, 2010 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Every now and then I jump out of the boxes that I'm in and use another for a little while. It's nice to test the waters somewhere else, but it's even better to get back to where I'm comfortable.

Becoming a mother has completely redefined the way I see myself...it's almost brought me to a place where I don't care how others see me...weird, right?

July 28, 2010 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Juliana said...

Wow Shell, your posts are so profound and I love it. So happy that you are a part of this great blogosphere.

July 28, 2010 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I feel like that's hard to do, especially when you know people have certain expectations of you.

I'm glad you learned how to just be you.

That's one of the best things I've gotten out of grad school by starting over with new people in a new and unfamiliar place/culture.

July 28, 2010 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Very good post....totally relate

July 29, 2010 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Mommy Needs a Vacation said...

I just love the way you write! Very well said!!!

July 29, 2010 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Jene said...

I think this is something that every mom struggles with at some point or another. I know that I find it very difficult to maintain a sense of "me" sometimes, especially as a working mom when I have that role to fit in somewhere, as well.

I'm glad you're in a happy place :)

July 29, 2010 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger chele said...

Great post. For years I only identified myself as a mother. I couldn't see a life after my kids were grown. Now that they are grown I'm being forced to really discover who I am and what my purpose is. It's awesome!

July 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM  
OpenID dramaformama said...

Love this. It's so important to be You. But it's hard when people expect you to be so many other "things". I look forward to when being Me is the priority again... instead of someone else's something. But what's important is that in these years when I am "mom" or "wife" or whatever, that I keep remember who Me is so that when it's time... I can fully relish in it.

July 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM  
OpenID dramaformama said...

Love this. It's so important to be You. But it's hard when people expect you to be so many other "things". I look forward to when being Me is the priority again... instead of someone else's something. But what's important is that in these years when I am "mom" or "wife" or whatever, that I keep remember who Me is so that when it's time... I can fully relish in it.

July 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Grace Adams said...

Congratulations on being the featured Lady Blogger!

For the first time in 23 years, I'm alone. It took some getting used to, but I'm enjoying this new life. Take it from me -- maintaining your identity is crucial for survival after all the kids leave home.

July 30, 2010 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger Simoney said...

Hey Shell, I loved your post. All so true. I like the ways you described yourself too. She sounds like a person I would love to meet for coffee! I've linked up a post I wrote on Wednesday for my daughters sixth birthday, a letter to her, if you like.

July 30, 2010 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I felt like I was reading a post about myself. You are a beautiful writer and that was very well put. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

July 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger cornflakegirl74 said...

Awww, this is a wonderful post, Shell. Far too often, I think we focus on who we are to others and we lose sight of who we are on the inside. I've been reading a bit of Rainer Maria Rilke lately, and the themes throughout are really on finding your inner self, because when it boils down to it: we spend most of our time alone. If we don't like to be in our own company, then how will this translate when we are around others?

Maybe I'm taking this post in a different direction entirely, but getting back to what you said, I think we'll always be labeled. And that's okay. We just have to be happy with how we perceive ourselves.

Congrats on being featured at LBS today, girl :) I'm glad to see such a wonderful blog get the recognition it deserves!

July 30, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Isn't it true? It's hard to maintain an identity in the midst of everything we are and do for everyone else. That's why this blogging thing is so amazing. I feel like I'm more me here than anywhere, and I get to know the real you without the distractions of the hubs and kids and what not...Whatever they may call you, I'll just call you friend...and a good one.

Happy Friday!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma, What's for Dinner

July 30, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I loved this post! I can't imagine how you must feel like you almost lose a bit of yourself while giving so much to your family. But the fact that you can write it down and pour it onto paper (er- computer screen) means you still know who you are. Have a wonderful day!

July 31, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Kristina Churchill said...

You hit the nail on the head! I moved back to my husbands home town and am treatedlike that put in that same box. People know him everywhere,I am, Scotts wife,Katy and Kita's mom, never just Kristina! Who is she by the way? Well it's about time to find out. I am happy with my life, but it's time for me!

Love your post, it's going to be a liitle more about me, just wait and see!

Stop on by@

August 1, 2010 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Krystyn said...

It's odd and strange when you first have that role of being identified by other people in your life. Even though my sister was younger, she was more popular, so I was always associated with her.

I think it's great that you know who you are! We have to remember that we need to take time to be ourselves, too!

August 1, 2010 at 1:38 PM  

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