Identity Theft: What to Do When Your Identity Isn’t Yours Anymore

identity-crisis

And I’m not talking about when some hacker in a moldy basement swipes your credit card information, assumes your name, and purchases a deluxe spa treatment aboard a cruise to the Bahamas. I’m talking about a different kind of stomach-drops-to-your-knees moment: when what you’ve identified as for so long, what once made your heart tingle with the thrill of passion, abandons you.

When I was a child, I didn’t want to be a writer; instead, I wanted to be a teacher. So it comes as no surprise that my identity as a writer didn’t form until sixth or seventh grade. For whatever reason, I read about Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight (mortifying, I know), and her quite literally dream-inspired, best-selling series. Some small part of what I read must have spoken to an untapped part of me, because my first major foray into writing began shortly thereafter with a 50-page story. What’s important about this singular experience is not that it is still unfinished to this day, but that creativity moved me so deeply that I actually wrote that much, or even wrote at all.

I was known throughout high school as The Girl Who Can Write. I was Editor in Chief of both my yearbook and school paper; I scored well above average on the writing portion of the SAT; I was the point person to look over essays and suggest edits. I was The Girl Who Can Write.

Until I wasn’t.

If you’ve read about my freshman year experience, you know that the first year of college swiped away the one thing about myself that mattered to me: my writing. What I identified as for so long was stripped away with my confidence in my ability. I didn’t know what to do, and I won’t pretend that I knew what to do when it was happening.

But I do know now that probably the only thing to do, the only thing I could do, is to keep moving forward. Keep going in whatever way you can. Keep going, even if that means finally disconnecting from what once served you and no longer does. By no means am I saying that this is a simple process, and by no means will I accept anyone’s criticism that this is the easy way out. Maybe it’s childish denial, or maybe it’s fear, but I refuse to believe that I’m just copping out of doing something I felt so passionate about for years.

Despite my identity just disappearing, writing is still my thing. I fall in love with words every day: how they’re basic multi- or monosyllabic sounds that, when strung together to form a cohesive thought, can incite a love story or a war. I am not abandoning writing, and because I believe it’s not fair to say that it’s abandoned me entirely, I’m not giving up on it. Rather, I’m giving up on feeling the self-inflicted pressure to commit to writing simply because it’s something I used to be good at and something I thought would be my lifelong career.

Because sometimes what’s best for you is moving on from what used to be best for you, and sometimes what’s best for you is maintaining the love but letting yourself just be in your moments of doubt and fear. It’s in this space that you’ll find yourself and a brand new (or refurbished) passion.


Tell me in the comments below if you’ve ever felt like this. How did you “keep going?”

I apologize for all the confusion around this week’s post. I made a mistake in the scheduling and it all spiraled from there.

Join me next week for a post about my photo shoot with J. Rosa Photography!

 

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