When you see me on the street alone I am: woman, 30 something, brown-skinned, able-bodied, cis-gendered, middle-class. If I am with my husband and kids you may also see: mother, heterosexual, and married. Hear me speak you may think: American. These categories have meaning as I walk through the world, it’s true. But I have some secret identities too. The ones that tell you who the “I” inside is. Here they are in random order:
1. Singer of Songs: If there were still bards, I would be one. I spend one morning a month leading a Music Hour for one year olds. I can sing every word of every song in Mary Poppins, and will do so without provocation. I am the annoying person who sings along to every song on the radio, even the ones I don’t know. I learned to play guitar just well enough to accompany myself when I sing. Song is in every cell of my body. I am song and song is me.
2. Meddler Extraordinaire: My favorite character on How I Met Your Mother is Lily because she cannot stop meddling AND she’s awesome at it. Tell me your troubles and I will try to find a way to fix them. If I can’t fix them, I will find someone who can. If you don’t know what you’re troubles are, I will tell you in the sweetest, kindest, most condescending way possible. What can I say? I am just cool like that.
3. Accessory Navicular Survivor: Why do museums make me sleepy before I’ve even gotten in the door? Why does shopping make me want to throw a tantrum? Why do I always say, “Is there a rabid dog chasing me? Then I’m not running.” I always thought I was just too lazy to run, or too stupid for museums, or too unfashionable to care about shopping. Turns out, I have this extra bone in my foot that causes intermittent foot pain. I’ve had this recurring foot pain all my life. It sucked and still does, but at least now I know what it’s all about. True story.
My secret identities are much better predictors of what I will do in a given situation (i.e. sing “The Rose” in the middle of the playground, ask about your relationship with your mother, sit on a bench at the Van Gogh exhibit) than any of those other things. What are your secret identites?