Hello poor, neglected blog.

The reasons for the neglect and the motivation for this post all come from the same place.

I'm having an identity crisis. A very deep, very personal, very destructive identity crisis.

Go me?

In all seriousness though, I finally reached an understanding of why this would be.

At the time of my last posting on this blog life seemed very different. Chris was about to undergo surgery and that was all that was on my mind.

I didn't yet know that I was pregnant. I didn't know Chris would be undergoing radioactive iodine treatment. I had no idea what was coming.

Now all of that is in the rearview mirror and I find myself trying desperately to deal. Crisis mode is *mostly* over and it's on to dealing with the future.

The fun thing about crisis mode is that while you're dealing with it you have no idea what you're doing to yourself. As you pare down life in order to deal with the shitstorm you don't realize what you're giving up and what you'll need to do once it's over.

Between being a wife, mother, expectant mother, housewife, dog owner and cat owner, I'd lost complete track of everything I am that is completely separate from all of the above.

There's an inherent danger in being _______'s _______. Chris's wife. The girls' mother. Baby's mother. Jayne's owner. Eva's foster mother/mistress (she is a dog after all). All of these roles are defined by some other living thing. And I'd lost sight of everything but those roles.

The problem with all of those roles? Success in them can only be gauged second-hand through the success of the primary subject.

Am I a good wife? Doesn't that depend on Chris, and isn't that best determined by him? Am I a good mother? How do I know without the kids? If one of the dogs won't stop barking, does that mean I'm failing, or is there something else involved?

Then there's the bigger picture. Who am I in the world? As far as 99% of the blogosphere is concerned my first identity is "Chris's wife". At the doctors I am "the cancer patient's wife". At the vet I am "Jayne's owner".

None of those are really who I am, or even scratch the surface. I've allowed myself to get to the point that I'm only known as _______'s _________.

Even in blogging and online I've kind of relegated myself to the same positions. I blog on Chris's blog, but it's still his. My involvement in the forum is secondary, not primary. Even on various social sites my involvement is only secondary. I go to club meetings where Chris is the far better known person and I'm still "the wife".

Granted this is at least partially because Chris has such a big personality and such a big presence, but still...

Where am I just "Mel"?

That's a big question, and the reality is that through a mixture of circumstances and personal choice I've made it this way. I've refused to spend the time and energy necessary to be "just Mel". When your life revolves around your family and your home and your job is your family and home, _______'s ______ is the default. Being known only for yourself is far more difficult. It's also impossible, honestly. There is no going back in many ways.

Just because I'll always be _______'s ______ doesn't mean I can't be Mel at the same time. I just need to carve out some room for myself. Focus on some things some of the time that don't revolve around or include the family. Focus on some things and some projects where the success of my efforts depends only on me and therefore can be measured in a way that is clear and makes sense. Make a name for myself in some circles where I'm known primarily for myself and not for my family.

I have tons of interests where I can do that. I have tons of things I want to get into but between circumstances and guilt I've avoided taking the plunge. I just need to take the plunge. Maybe then I'll feel like I exist as someone separate. Maybe.

It's worth a shot.


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