Most people who follow my blog have known me for years, but they don’t know my struggle with personal identity. It’s important for me to share and be open with you guys and I need to be honest.
For two years I’ve been on a journey to figure out my identity. The struggle started with me not being happy and not knowing why. I knew there had to be more to life and I wanted to find it! The first obstacle in my way was figuring out where to start.
In the process of trying to find who I was, I thought it would help to reject everything I grew up believing. It wasn’t working anyways! For the second time in my life, I put on an image of who I wanted to be and not who I was. No more going to church because I had to, no more wearing “Sunday best” because it was appropriate. I excluded myself from friends and ignored my past. Instead, I filled my schedule with work to keep myself busy and wore clothing that made me feel like a new person.
I don’t believe these things in themselves were wrong, in fact, it’s what I needed to do, but my motives behind them were dangerous.
The turning point in my journey was when I accepted my past. The girl in Bible College training for the ministry was Melina. When she decided to “quit” that ambition Melina had never left. Her journey may have taken her on a solo trip around the US, but her identity wasn’t in being a traveler. It is what she needed to do in that season. ALL of these adventures had their part in defining who Melina was. They are ALL Melina.
Life is full of seasons; winter, spring, summer, and fall. Personally, we can go through childhood, adolescence, marriage, parenthood, and eventually death. On top of that, my belief is we go through seasons of personality.
Once I could accept Melina from her past seasons, I found her again. She was never really lost, just confused. She wasn’t wrong, just rejecting who she was. The most dangerous place is a rejection of the season because it takes you away from living to the fullest.
The acting game made me feel like the biggest hypocrite! I knew it wasn’t helping anybody and only wounding myself. When I thought I was running away from past authorities and expectations, I was running from personal identity. It took time to see who Melina was and is, but I got to know her again. She’s a believer, sister, daughter, traveler, builder, and leader. She is strong, confident, helpful, literal, and personable. She’s me.
She’s all of me, and I wouldn’t alter her one bit.
Now, I fight for Melina wherever she is. I stopped drawing my acceptance from expectations and began doing what was best for Melina in the season she found herself. I find comfort knowing that seasons end and change occurs. When I’m fighting depression or struggling to find a job, looking ahead to the future season gives me the motivation I need to fight. And fighting for Melina will be a regular part of life because she’s worth it.
The struggle with personal identity creates a real opportunity for personal growth. It means it’s time to examine your motives and dreams. When I took care of myself first, I could begin to help people. Dishonesty and confusion will only lead to the blind leading the blind. My job continues to be honesty and openness in order to make a difference.