My Changing Identity

Before I bought my house, I rented a room in a house. There were three of us — the owner, another tenant, and me. Sounds so Judge Judyish, doesn’t it? Though truly, my only problem was the owner’s careworker who used up one of my favorite spice mixes. But that was minor. And none of this introduction has anything to do with what I plan to write about except to explain why I watched certain movies.

A television and basic programming came with the room rent, but I didn’t watch until the last few months when it occurred to me that I might never have television programming again. (I actually have two televisions, one hooked up to a DVD player and one hooked up to a VCR, but I don’t have programming and I don’t watch any of the movies I’ve stockpiled.) Anyway, that Christmas, I watched Hallmark movies galore. In fact, I watched so many, I was able to tell when the next twist would come. (For example, twenty minutes before the finish, the couple had a huge misunderstanding, and then, five minutes before the end, they finally found out the truth and made up.)

One of the big drivers of such movies is that because of the main character’s problems or her parent’s problems, she has to leave her power job and adopted big city behind and move back to her hometown.

It always seemed such a contrived plot, especially since once she was there, her values suddenly changed, going from a power player to a more laid-back lifestyle. I didn’t have that experience moving here because I’ve always been something of a small-town person even though I grew up in Denver. Back then, though, there wasn’t so much driving every which way — we all more or less lived in our parishes and congregations in our own discrete neighborhoods. Each move I made as an adult took me to smaller towns, except, of course, when I went to look after my father in California, and even that conglomerate of three linked towns had a small-town feel, mostly, I think, because again, I mostly lived in one particular neighborhood, the only one close to the desert.

What I am discovering, however, that despite my feeling at home in this small town, the movie scenario, while trite, it isn’t all that contrived. I noticed that when I moved into a place of my own — a very nice place, probably nicer than I had any right to expect — my sense of self began to change. I was no longer one step away from being homeless but instead was fully homed. My habits changed and I became more of a neatnik than I ever imagined. (Well, except for my office. I still have piles of paper on my desk, heaped blanket and pillows on my daybed, and an empty cup on the bedside table.) I also became houseproud — proud that this house belongs to me as well as being proud of the way it looks and the way I keep it up.

I’ve settled into that version of me — the houseproud one — and now it looks as if I will have to rethink who I am based on the looks of the grounds the house sits on. I’m more of a dirt and weeds with a few scraggly flowers kind of person. And now . . . well, now I’m not. I’m the proud owner of an — almost — landscaped property with reddish paths meandering through brilliant green grass and skirting around bushes that are still too small to be noticeable. But one day those bushes will grow up, the wildflower sections will bloom, and I will live in a showplace.

This all seems so . . . not me. And yet, obviously, it is.

I just need to get my head around that.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

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