There are times when I worry I will disappear entirely under the weight of identities I carry about me as I weave through life. First and foremost I bear the badge of Motherhood, and although the toddler cries of ‘Mu-mmy!’ will in time give way to teenage grunts of ‘Mum!’, my identity will never change. There are faux-enthusiastic greetings from other women on the baby-circuit, who know me only as ‘the twins’ mother’. The midwives on the post-natal ward never bothered to check my chart; “How’s Mum today?”; “Come on Mum, let’s get those stitches checked”. Even my own mother has succombed to this sickly sweet trend, addressing me as ‘Mummy’ when my children are in the room. In second place I’m a wife, refered to as such by my husband’s colleagues, his family and the double-glazing salesman who hopefully calls every now and then. At varying times I’m a Treasurer, Secretary, Volunteer, Customer or Boss. Some of these roles carry respect, some derision.
My husband and I so rarely use our first names that it is a shock when, in the presence of visitors, he eschews ‘honey’, ‘darling’ and ‘trout-face’ in favour of ‘Emily’. It sounds clumsy on his lips; as though he’s talking about a stranger. And that’s who I have become – a stranger to myself. Floating somewhere beneath the Daughter, the Sister, the Mother, the Friend, the Wife and the Worker, is the girl who loved to dance, to act, to sing and to write. The girl who grew up with a passion for the theatre and a zest for life. The girl who fell in love, married and travelled though a lifetime of broken hearts to find her family. The girl who loves her job, still dances, and counts her blessings as she kisses her children good-night.
Who is she? It’s time to find her again.