For 2012, I had three new year’s resolutions: to do more crosswords, to breathe, and to focus more on integrity than on goal-setting. I only succeeded insofar as I’m still breathing.
Because I tend to fail wildly at at these annual vows, you’d think I’d consider setting a lower bar, but that’s not how I roll. Case in point: for 2013, I resolved to become a different person.
But unlike with crosswords, in this I have some experience. Back in the summer of 2009, when it became clear that I wasn’t easily going to become a mother, I decided to become the opposite of a mother. I decided to become a whore.
It started with an anonymous twitter profile where I wrote clever little quips with sexual twists, and it developed into a WordPress blog for erotic short stories. By the end of 9 months, I had 1500 followers and made regular appearances on Favstar’s Tweets of the Day – the Twitterverse’s gold medals. I was an e-slutty sensation.
The accolades didn’t stop there. I also got several sexual propositions, a marriage proposal, and about a dozen nude photos of men who wanted me to know just how much they cared. Eventually I got tired of pretending to be a single 20-something who was always searching for the next big thing between my legs, so just as quickly as she was born, I tweeted one final RIP tweet and shut her down.
For that short time, however, I’d transformed myself into a different archetype of womanhood — well, as much as was possible for someone who was married, monogamous, and nearing middle age. Through her, I was a sexually-liberated model of femininity, and even though the character was virtual, her personality influenced several aspects of my real life: my wardrobe choices were edgier, I lost those last 10 pounds, and my sex life became more lively. She was good for me.
The best part of the character, though, was that she allowed me to escape from living the life of a woman who only wanted to be a mom. I’ve seen it over and over again with infertile women, and it’s a story I know too well: we put our lives on hold while making choices that revolve around what we think will be the quickest route to motherhood. In the meantime, all the rest of ourselves – all the other parts of our identity with potential to be fulfilled – just whither away within us. When the struggle takes years, it gets ugly.
So this year I resolve to be a different person once again, only now I’m choosing a whole new archetype: the female warrior. Or, in modern parlance, I plan to become a professionally successful woman.
Until recently, my career has been in non-profit program management, which is really just a professionalization of motherhood, and thus one of the reasons why I don’t want to do it anymore — the other reason being the non-profit part. Beginning last summer, though, I started working with a career counselor with whom I discovered what seems like a great new career direction for me: public relations.
So that’s what I’m on my way to doing. I’m taking two PR courses at the local university, and this week I begin a volunteer job that will give me experience in government administration, communications, and public relations. I’ve also joined a local PR group through which I make it a point to meet with at least one person every week to explore ideas of what I want to do and what it’ll take to get me there.
This isn’t to say that I’m giving up on becoming a mother; I’m just giving up on needing motherhood to define me while the reality is that it just plain doesn’t. I’m done putting my life on hold while I ride the pendulous swing that takes me back and forth between my doctors’ optimism and confoundedness. That person no longer gets the lion-share of me.
It’s 2013. I am Athena. Hear me roar.