I got married, had four children and divorced. Divorce was an event in my life, it does not change who I am inside and it does not define me. So why does society think divorce defines an individual?
I am a 41 year old successful business woman who loves live music. I am sarcastic and sassy, fun and a little crazy. I care about the environment and other people. I love stilettos and wear them every day. I live by the golden rule – always.
I am also a survivor. Nothing in my life has come easy. Each life event has contributed to the woman I am today and there is not a single event that I would say defines me. I live my life without regrets, I choose to learn and grow through every experience. Life is a beautiful, amazing gift.
Like all people, I have experienced both wonderful and challenging things. Good things like becoming a mother four times, watching my child’s cancer go into remission not once but three times, seeing the best in people that difficult things like cancer expose and becoming independent. I have also experienced negative things like molestation, rape, abuse, divorce, bankruptcy, watching my child go through years of cancer treatment and the loss of loved ones. Each one of these experiences has contributed to who I am as a person, yet none of it alone defines me.
When I meet new people and they are getting to know me, I don’t say, “Hello, my name is Jane Doe and I am the mother of a cancer survivor,” or “My name is Jane Doe, I was molested as a child,” or “I am Jane Doe, I survived an abusive childhood and marriage.” If I was in a support group for those various events it would be appropriate to include that information in my introduction. In everyday life, however, it just gives an incomplete picture of who I am. They are events that occurred, they contribute to my successes and failures, but I am NOT those things.
It frustrates me that society thinks I need to categorize myself as a divorced single parent. Is one’s relationship status is still deemed a badge of accomplishment in America? Single – Divorced – Married. We use these terms to fit people into our preconceived ideas of who they are.
I long for the day when I will be known for who I am, not what has happened in my life. I am Jane Doe and that is enough. No explanation required, no listing of my faults or my successes. Simply Jane Doe.
Does anyone else have this same reaction?