Finding Your Place, Motherhood
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Finding Who I Am

woman walking along beach, finding who I am

Surrounded by people, my soul opens. I love the laughter of good friendships echoing around me. I love the gentleness of a hand on my back—comfort, security—in this I remember I am not alone.

There is so much beauty in company, in voices and their individual rhythms and refrains. When they all fall silent, I rest, knowing there are bodies around me who love me.

In this, I have purpose. I am soul in the mix. I am a caretaker, a lover. I am both needed and cared for.

But there are two sides of me, and I discover both in different ways and places. In company, I adapt. I shift so naturally to share my heart, to open, to give. I fall into an unconscious rhythm of service—making dinners, rubbing backs, kissing foreheads. “Mama,” my friend smiles, her brown eyes mirroring my own, “Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been so maternal.”

My heart swells with pride. Where this comment used to draw my eyes to the floor in shame, I now embrace it as a part of myself. Yes, I have always been a caretaker. I have always been the one to bandage the cuts, hold the hands, to love with a selflessness I no longer apologize for.

But when everyone is away and I’m left with my thoughts, the other part of my spirit sparks.

In the solitude, I awaken the writer in me. I awaken the part of me that waits for no one, that embarks on a constant search for more, and without asking for anything in return.

Alone, I am another version of myself—both fierce and gentle—but driven by a desire not of service, but to succeed.

I write without stopping, without rest. This is a new sense of quietness, of peace in solitude that makes my heart beat wildly for the stories that haven’t yet left my fingertips.

There are no voices around me, no needs, no questions asked. There are no people looking for love, for answers. Only me, my computer and notebook, my spilling heart.

And this is equally as satisfying—to not be anyone or anything other than a writer, than a woman with a pen.

In either form of myself, I am powerful. I walk with boldness, with fearlessness. I give love, exhale words. I find peace in my different roles—both equally to whom and to where I belong.

Both equally pieces of my heart I no longer feel shame for.

I do not sacrifice one for the other. I simply find where I fit in the places I wander, and give equal time to both sides in my rhythm of daily, natural life.

There are no more apologies. There is no longer a searching for what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the eyes of people who don’t truly know me. I simply trust that what feels right is.

And I no longer shift for the demands of perspectives of people who don’t understand.

Who I am needs no explanation—I am a giver, a lover, a feeler, a writer.

I am. And that is, and always will be enough.

Featured Image Credit: Zack Minor

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Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

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