Does your Job Define You?
Finding your identity through your disability
"Nice to meet you. What do you do?" That question is asked so many times in our society that it has caused us to identify ourselves by what we choose to do for employment. But what if you cannot work? How do you identify yourself? This is a question I have been struggling with for a while now. I have been in the professional world for over 10 years, and I have worked at least part time since I was 15 years old. With a master's degree, I planned to be a working professional until I retired. However, my disability appears to have other plans for me. Now I must come to terms with the fact that I may not be able to answer the question, "What do you do?" much longer. Who am I? What will I be then? Just another person with a disability? Is that what defines me now?
I've come to understand that our society has placed value in the wrong place. We need to focus on the person, not what they do or what they can do. I have bought into the idea that my job defines me for many years. I have pushed through pain and suffering because of the fear of losing my identity if I am not working. I would be a failure. I would be giving in to my disability. I would be nobody. These are all thoughts I had, and sometimes they still pop up every now and then. It took a lot of soul searching and support from my husband to finally come to terms with the fact that listening to my body and understanding my limitations is not giving up. I lose no part of myself bynot working because my job does not define me. I am not my job, I am Me. I am a loving wife, I am caring, I am an animal lover, I am adventurous, I am funny, I am family oriented, I am Me, and nothing can change that. My job and my disability are only parts of my life, they do not define me. Don't let any single part of your life define you, just be you!