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Irene's Entropy: Letter 001

Updated: Apr 6



identity.

written by Charisse (The Existential Ginger)

Identity

noun: the fact of being or what a person or thing is.


I know that’s the textbook definition, but how in the hell do you actually define what you are?


When I was Mormon, from the time I was born, my identity was “preordained.” I was a daughter

of God, an heiress to the kingdom of heaven*. (*Terms and conditions apply.) My divine destiny

was to be someone’s wife and someone’s mom. I was to “give myself” to my husband fully, while

he was to “receive” me (nothing in the temple ceremony about him giving himself to me or me

receiving him…). I proudly accepted this role - this identity - and did all I possibly could to be

worthy of it, knowing that if I was “worthy,” I’d have all I ever dreamed of….someday. (God’s

really good at making “someday” promises, isn’t he?)


I wasn’t happy. But I was worthy. And worthiness mattered most (or so I was taught). Happiness

would come eventually. That was the plan, after all: The Plan of Happiness. And I was following

all the steps in the plan, just like I’d been taught. Then, one day, it all came crashing down with

the words: “I want a divorce.”


Divorce?! This word was not part of the identity I consented to. (Then again, when did I consent

to any of this, really?) The identities of wife and future mother were ripped from me. More

terrifying, though, was the palpable fear: I had no idea who I was without the comfort and

complacency of my preordained roles.


It will all work out in the end.

This is God’s will, trust in him.

We don’t have all the answers, but God does. Don’t stress over answers.

Heavenly Father is refining you, like a diamond under pressure.

There is a lesson to be learned here.


And other annoying, unhelpful platitudes filled my head - both from my own mouth and from

others’, almost as if we’d all been given the same script of canned responses to regurgitate in

times of grief.


And then, rock bottom.


No, that’s too cliche.


The place I reached was darker and danker than rock bottom - I was existing in the most

undesirable, fungi-infested space beneath rock’s bottom. No hope. No identity to cling to. No

response from my creator. No comfort. No relief. No purpose.

Feeling like an overwhelming burden to everyone around me, I made a conscious choice to

remove the burden from them; to remove me.


Lying in an obnoxiously-bright, fluorescent-lit, square room in Lakeview Hospital, where the only

contents were me and the bed I was on, I contemplated my failure: I couldn’t even successfully

end my own life. I literally can’t do anything the right way, I thought. But then, a morbid thought:

what if I actually had ended my life, in a way? What if my old life was truly gone, and all my

previous identities, former aspirations, and patriarchal narratives with it? What if - for the first

time - I consciously chose what was next?


Identity

noun: the fact of being or what a person or thing is.


Maybe this word is so hard to define because it’s not meant to be described by words. Maybe,

instead, it’s meant to be felt and lived.


My identity - who or what I am - is fluid. It’s ever-evolving and reshaping. With every experience,

every choice, every opportunity, it shifts and re-molds. I’m no longer confined to a preordained

identity box. Outside the box is where I live, love, and thrive (worthily….because spoiler alert: I

was worthy all along).


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2 Comments


I just found this page today. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. All of your expressions were accepted by my heart and I could see your free and open heart, without any constraints. Beautiful words for my heart to read. Thank you!

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dstn chll
dstn chll
Sep 04, 2022

This series is super powerful. I feel like your description of beneath rock bottom is beautiful on its own, but it also reminded me of Radiohead's Weird Fishes. I feel I understand that song even better now, thank you.

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