Who Are You?

I met someone new yesterday, she was new to the Middle East but not to the blog. She’d been reading since she’d first heard she was coming to Doha.

“You need to have a better ‘about‘ page. It doesn’t tell us enough about you.”

I just about spat my coffee out through my giggles.

“Oh god, I already write a personal blog. Isn’t that enough? Aren’t you sick of me already? Plus, what would I say? How do you suggest I describe myself?”

Have you ever thought about how you describe yourself? Which words you use? Have you ever thought about who you really are and tried to throw it all in a paragraph? Sure, career wise it’s easy – an employment history, a list of skills.

I often hear women describe themselves as mothers, wives, girlfriends and sisters. If you read the ‘about’ page of a personal blog many women will have explained their marital status, number of children, and current work situation within the first paragraph. 

I’m a SAHM with a  gorgeous husband and three beautiful children living in a handmade mud brick home in the hills

Food blogs, style blogs, adoption blogs, fertility blogs – they all come with explanations.  

Who am I?  I have no set philosophies, no rules. The more I’ve travelled the more confusing it has become. I boxed this morning, gloves up around my ears, with a woman in a headscarf. I thought of my neighbour in Australia, a doctor, standing in her blue bikini having a conversation on the beach. So much skin. And then yesterday, a text from a girlfriend “Do you think I should have my shoulders completely covered for the dinner next week”  I had no idea.

Career wise I’m a writer who still dreams of returning to the corporate world but doesn’t want to give up the school run just yet. I’d love to continue doing freelance work, to get better at it so I can sit on the softball/soccer/basketball bleachers at 4 in the afternoon, and make time for a conference call at 8 that evening. Like many parents I dream of flexible working hours. I love watching my children play sport, seeing them interact with their friends, it truly is one of my greatest joys. But that’s not who I am, that’s just something I enjoy.

Who are you when you’re sitting in the car alone at the traffic lights? Who are you when you’re flicking absently through a magazine waiting to see the doctor? Who are you when you’re talking to someone you have absolutely nothing to gain from? Who are you then?

Expat couples travel in a collective ‘we’.

We moved here with…

We’ve been here for…

We arrived here from…

I have to concentrate to change my we to an I.

Who am I?

I’m a woman who enjoys a chat, and feels the best life lessons arrive over a coffee or a glass of wine with someone new. I’m a woman who is going back to University at age 45 (!) I am an unrealistic optimist who cries most days over something touching she’s heard in a podcast. I am a woman with unfinished business in Asia. A woman who wonders about the clock that she accidentally left behind on a wall in a house in Tripoli. A woman who smiles fondly when she thinks of a girlfriend wearing a dress she gave to her when she left Canada.

Maybe that’s who I am. Do you know who you are?


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