(23) Who do you think you are?

A writer friend sent me a list of writing prompts, fifty of them, that were all questions and titles of songs. I’ve been choosing one most every day to free write about, and today it was the Spice Girls “Who Do You Think You Are?”  This is a familiar question to me, so I had a lot to say.  Here is a version of what I wrote:

Who do you think you are to be happy? To go back to school? To get a degree? To get divorced? To be with the one you love? To start your own business? To write every day? To be a singer? To play mandolin? Who do you think you are to dress like that? Move to another state? Not go to the church you were raised in ? Wear your hair like that? Be who you are?

This is a question that comes at women some time in their lives. I don’t think anyone ever asks a man that question.  Men are expected to be bold, take risks, dream big. Women, on the other hand, can only dream big as long as it still includes husband and children. Anything else is just selfish and the question flies at you, verbally or not.  Who do you think you are to decide otherwise?

If we are daring to be human, it really has to be about bigger things than how we wear our hair. It takes a long time and a great deal of courage to become who we really are. Eventually, the question goes away because we no longer acknowledge it.

And that is truly the best part about growing older.


One thought on “(23) Who do you think you are?

  1. Helen, you raise a most provocative question, and I think most women finally DO come into their own later in life when (in my case) duties to family are complete and she has more disposable time. Certainly for me the process has been arduous and I’ve had to make decisions that require me setting MYself first, but in the end, I own what it took to got to the place that allows me to be who I want to be without self-recrimination, and were I a man making those choices, surely the road may have been easier and expected in the eyes of public perception.


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