Yesterday I began thinking about anonymity and the value of it. After talking to some people about how it seems like everyone here is connected in some way, it occurred to me that I'm not. I remain anonymous...at the grocery store, riding down the street in my car, walking my dog. And there are benefits to that.
When I lived in Doylestown, I was not anonymous - I was KNOWN. From the time I was born I was a part of a family, a community, a church and the notoriety grew. When you are "known" there are always EXPECTATIONS which one must live up to. There are labels with which you are tagged...labels like smart, logical, has a good head on her shoulders, good, bad, pretty, funny, etc. You know the list. I'm sure you have one of your own. And so we strive to squeeze ourselves into one box or another to live up to these EXPECTATIONS.
At Bowling Green I was anonymous and could be just who I was. I didn't join any clubs, afraid there might be another box into which I should fit. And Houston was the same, at first anyway. But over the years - all 22 of them - the anonymity faded and I became KNOWN. I was mother, writer, graphic artist, wife. I was dependable, smart, funny and a good friend. But eventually, the boxes became too small, and I was tired of working so hard to fit.
It was time to move. Perhaps that's the best way to rid yourself of the boxes and move forward - rediscover oneself. And South Dakota is proving a good place for this.
I love the anonymity. No one calls to say "can you...?" No one expects anything. I simply do what I like when I like - aside from a few deadlines. And this is very freeing. What I am discovering is a whole new side of myself. I remain strong, but love not proving it, and allowing myself to need another. I remain smart, but don't have to solve problems for anyone but myself. There are lots of things I don't know about life here, and I'm having fun getting lost once in awhile, and learning the things I don't know. I can be flighty without consequences. I don't have to be a good wife, or a good mother, or a good friend. I don't have to give advice, be there, or live on the clock another has created. I choose my day, my night, and my life. And it doesn't fit into the old boxes. This is good. They were tight and I was always dancing for someone else. Now I dance my own dance at my own pace and make mistakes and laugh at myself when I burn the pork chops - they weren't so bad. If the dishes are not washed, it's okay...and yesterday, I waited until 4 to make the bed.
And so I choose to remain anonymous for a time anyway. Only those from my past life have big expectations. The new people in my life don't know what to EXPECT. And neither do I.