Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reinvention Anyone?

The writer Baharati Mukherjee said in her novel Jasmine that" we murder past selves and reinvent new ones in the images of dreams. " I am a completely different person now that I live in Portland. Even my closest new friends do not really know me. They know only the self that is trying to be born. This reinvntion stuff is heady business.I find that somedays I try desperately to abandon who I was, but then on others, I think about becoming the same person, or re-creating the same life. It probably wouldn't be that difficult to teach full-time again. To enjoy what brought me a sense of accomplishment and pride; to fight similar battles and work toward equity and inspiration in education. We are so identified by our professions or our careers or our lack of them that self-reinvention is only for the strong. Try it, you'll see what I mean. It is at once terrifying and exhilarating.
With reinvention comes freedom- a word I seldom use because it means so much and nothing all at the same time. Self-perception can easily lead to self-deception and that's where the liberation comes in. How particularly American is the chance to begin again. Like the first hint of Spring, or the turning of a page it is the the way we shed the skin of complacency and mediocrity and embrace the mystery of who we will become next.
I'm wondering now who we bring with us? What if we can't murder the past selves? Such a strong word, murder, but I see why it works. Who can I become if I am constantly not becoming? I prefer to bring along some of those past selves. They become a talisman for me. (Talis-men) My future begins with my past. I prefer to be re-minded of that.

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