Who Am I? I Forgot ...

When we let important stuff slide, our true identity slips away.

My friend Grace recently got together with some gal pals for a bridal shower and had a great, girly time. This included applying makeup, watching chick flicks, and taking lots of photos of themselves. She's a seminary student, so this was a rare break from the books. The girl-time sparked something in Grace: While she used to think such things were a waste of time, these activities made her long for the soft, feminine part of herself. (And she liked the way she looked with a little makeup on.)

But Grace usually has little time to be a girly girl. Right now, she's mostly consumed by her role as a student. As she told me about her weekend adventure, I thought, Hmm, I think Grace has been so busy, she forgot for a minute that she's a girl! I know I've felt that way. I get so busy—consumed—that I often don't even feel human. I become either a robot stuck on autopilot, or a gray mass of mental mush. Often the first thing to go is my girly side, and it shows. I'll start wearing black sweatpants and T-shirts every day for weeks. (Black is easy to match, and it seems to mirror my mood during these periods!)

Since Grace had inspired me to think a real thought—which seemed like the first one I've had in some time—I seized the opportunity at sentience and pondered: What parts of myself have I forgotten? Are there important aspects of my life that I've let slide under the pressure of deadlines and expectations of other parts of me?

And I realized I'd forgotten a lot about myself. I'd forgotten I'm an artist … and realized I forgot because I haven't painted anything in more than a year. I'd forgotten I like to sing for fun … and realized I forgot because I stopped singing many years ago, out of fear that others would critique me. I'd forgotten my role as a daughter and a sister … and realized I forgot because I haven't kept in touch with my dear family members. Things that once were sources of great joy for me had slipped away. And sadly, I'd hardly noticed.

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Holly Vicente Robaina
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