This assignment could not have been at a more perfect time. Today at work, I was waiting in the lobby to shadow a case manager, and there was a woman who I have recognized at St. Mary’s Center events. I was finally able to talk to her, and she was so positive and open. Our conversation related a lot to the “Now I Become Myself” article by Parker Palmer. This article talked a lot about one’s vocation or calling and how it was destined/given to us. Personally, I’m still struggling with this idea. It is hard for me to believe that there is a predetermined outcome for everyone, and if we don’t reach it, it is because we are not accepting our true self.
When I saw the woman in the lobby, I engaged in some casual conversations about her life, what brought us to St. Mary’s Center, and what future plans one has. She opened up to me saying that she was referred to St. Mary’s Center by her younger sister. She expressed that she got into some trouble and said, “I just was not myself anymore.” This woman talked about how she made poor choices in her past which accumulated over time in order for her to do something more for herself. She said that “St. Mary’s helped her find (her name here).” We talked about how we need to get through the bad to truly recognize our worth. Pasts are never something we should regret, because they were vital for us becoming who we are today. Now, she is planning to write a book about her upbringing in the south up to her present day.
While reading the article, I had a few thoughts/questions for myself… The article said that families, schools, work, and religions are created to pull us away from our “true self,” but I feel like these institutions help us create our true self, which is why I have a hard time believing that we are born with a certain identity or even this template that we are constantly trying to fit throughout our lives. I feel like there is so many factors in our lives that have a huge impact in the different decisions and routes, and that one is not necessarily better than another, right or wrong. I like the quote on p.9 that says:
Now I become myself
It’s taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s face…
This quote acknowledges that it takes a lot of learning and reflection in order to truly become you. Each person’s path of life is not linear or perfect, but I struggle with this article because it says that our life journey is to find out who we are made to be rather than to find out who we are becoming.