how do you define yourself?

So often I see Insagram bios and social media headers wherein people define themselves by their careers, or the number of children they have, or what they do for fun. It got me to thinking about how I ought to define myself.

"Girl Before A Mirror" by Pablo Picasso

I used to be Singer

My mother used to say that I could sing before I could talk, and I believed her. In middle school, I was that choir kid who sang everywhere: during class, in the hall, even the bathroom. People would make sarcastic comments, and even as insecure of a kid as I was, I never worried about my singing. In high school, I competed with it and I was kind of a big deal. ;) I discovered my niche for opera, and started taking voice lessons to train that classical side. And in college, I studied it!

I remember a lecture in my method class where the professor suggested we develop a list of defining characteristics, from least defining to most. Mine consisted of something along the lines of "I am an auntie, I am a sister, I am a daughter, I am a baker, I am a singer, I am a child of God." I forgot about it until just this moment, but the professor cautioned me for putting "singer" so high on the list. For the life of me I could't understand why. But now I do.

Sometimes things happen in life that we do not plan. I don't call myself singer anymore.

I used to be Missionary.

I was about 15 years old when I decided I was going to serve a mission. I had my heart set upon it, and nothing would get in my way. I spent time with my local missionaries several times a week, I studied from Preach My Gospel daily, and more than once, I challenged myself to live a missionary life down to the little white handbook. I studied scriptures for hours a day, I went "tracting" with the Sisters, I invited friends to receive lessons in my home, I gave copies of the Book of Mormon to everyone I could because I was a missionary in my heart.

It was always my plan. Go to college for a year, serve a mission, finish a degree in MUSIC, and then settle down to marriage and start a family. And everyone knew about it.

And then my mission never came. The Lord told me that my service wasn't needed and I was downright offended. It took me months--years, if I'm honest--to come to terms with the fact that I didn't serve a mission, and I never would. Because I defined myself as Missionary, but that wasn't always the case.

I want to be Mother. 

I don't talk about this on my blog because it's almost too sacred and personal for me, but even greater than my desire to wear a name-tag and preach the gospel, even more than my passion for music ever was, I have always wanted to be a mother. And I didn't realize it, but I have always defined myself by my potential for parenthood. I love babies. I love toddlers. I even love teenagers, in the right setting, and I want a million of my own. 

Out of my greatest desire stems also my greatest fear, which is the possibility that I may never have children of my own. 

And I know, believe me, I KNOW how young I am, but I feel such an urgency to have a family right-effing-now. And it scares me. I'm terrified that something within me will be not-quite-right and I will never be a mom. And I won't know who I am. 

I used to define myself as a singer, I used to define myself as a missionary, and both of those things were fleeting. Imposing the entirety of my self worth into things I have no control over is a dangerous game.

So how do I define myself? Surely not by my job, because that would mean the unemployed are no one. And I can't define myself by hobbies or desires, because things in my life may change, and once again I would be no one. I like to think of myself as wife, but let's be honest, I'm bollocks at that. I don't deserve the title.

The only definition I can put my eternal confidence in is this: I am a child of God. 


  1. Emilee: Rebellious, Big-hearted, independent, easy-going, talented.


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