Who is Brenda Boitson? Is she a widow? Well, yes. Was she a wife? Yes. Is she a recovering Mary Kay consultant who know would rather wear hiking boots than heels? Definitely.
I question who I am in my name, my self and my being aside from the titles that I have gained over the years. I was once Brenda Boitson, Independent Beauty Consultant, Queen of Sales one year for my unit, Pink Gal to the core, never left the house without makeup.
Two weekends ago I went camping in the woods and didn’t even pack makeup. My muddied hiking boots are in the back of my car along with my camelback. Not one pink shirt came along with me and yes, I now wear outfits that I refer to as “Appalachian Chic”.
How could I transform this much in just a few years? I posed this question to my therapist because I’m afraid that I’m too far past my loss to use my “widow card” anymore. I am worried that all the sympathy for what I have gone through is used up. I worry that people won’t believe that who I am today is not who I’ll continue to be, that the changes that I have gone through in 5 years are not ones of authenticity. I worry that they’ll believe I am a fakey, using my crappy circumstance to gain popularity, wealth (ha!), acknowledgement, sympathy.
My therapist told me about her life last week, about the pain she has endured and how every one of those situations brought her into a more authentic relationship with God, and a deeper connection to who she was intellectually and spiritually. Tragedy changes us, molds us to do one of two things: run from the pain or have it transform us.
My life is evidence that a transformation has occurred and if my writing is any reflection of my journey you all know that I have thoroughly embraced my circumstance of widowhood possibly even to a fault. I am a slew of terms: widow, friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend – some of those terms have been skewed by relationships that have diminished because of one of the other terms. But me, me is just me, defined by where my heart and faith stand and not by the terms that surround me.
I feel more authentic than ever. While I still chase the next thing trying to find solid footing in my path I have a heart and a desire for several things that has only deepened because of my loss of Kevin and my freedom from feeling that I no longer need to fit into a type of societal mold.
This heart is authentic. It wants my friendships to be repaired that have died off. It wants to be in nature surrounded by something greater than itself. It wants to heal those who ache and seek out the paths that will fall away. I can only hope that not just me, but you, can find authenticity in your own losses.