Yesterday, I signed the name Beth Ranee Dembitz for the last time. And I had this crazy thought that the person with that name is a stranger to me. I am no longer her. She is no longer me.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year thinking about the fact that the person I married is not at all who I thought, but it didn’t occur to me until today that I may be different than who I thought. And I recalled this gem from Iain Thomas: “Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I have ever been.”
I read it a few months ago, couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time, and dismissed it. I recalled it yesterday and realized that it does speak to me.
My experiences in the last 12 months have changed how I think about some things, but they haven’t changed who I actually am. I think we all often think of ourselves in relation to other people – as the wife or husband of someone, as the mom or dad of someone, as the child of someone. For 20+ years I’ve thought of myself, in part, as in connection with someone. Recently, I’ve been purposely thinking of myself more and more as just me. I’m a Mom, and that role is the most important one in my life – but it’s still only a part of who I am. What’s actually true is that I am the kind of Mom I am, and the kind of friend and daughter and sister I am, because of me and who I am. Because of who I am on my own.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life I have always relied on faith.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life my immediate response to challenge is to circle the wagons and prepare for a fight.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life I have always project-managed whatever is happening.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life I have always been able to find the funny.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life that’s been filled with adversity I have always had to figure out the why and be angry as I overthought all the possible reasons.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life I have always made my way back to hope. Hope in something bigger than this seemingly broken world. Hope that most people are fundamentally good. Hope that things will all work out OK in the end. Hope that everything can somehow work out for our good.
Everything has changed and yet, in every period of my life I have always been a difficult child who demanded that God show me signs that He’s really there and that I’m on the right path and that I’m doing the right things.
Everything has changed and yet, I always end up light-hearted and hopeful and happy again. That’s not entirely happened for me yet in this period of my life, but I am on my way.
Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I have ever been.
Yesterday I signed papers that will, in just a couple of weeks, formally change my name back to Beth Fite. And you know what? She’s me. Beth Dembitz is also Beth Fite, and she always has been. Beth at 3 and Beth at 10 and Beth at 20 and Beth at 30 and Beth at 45 all have the same core characteristics – prank-playing, over-sharing, organized, somewhat superstitious while faith-filled, demanding, impatient, controlled chaotic. The only difference is that the Beth of other ages always got back to hope, and the Beth at 45 is not quite there yet.
Hope requires bravery. Hope means I trust that my daughters will grow up to be strong women who believe in love and marriage despite how their parents’ marriage worked out. Hope is expectation that my daughters will persist and have happy lives filled with people who only want the best for them. Hope is belief beyond a shadow of a doubt that those things will absolutely happen. So I guess you’d say my hope is still a work in progress.
And yet there’s absolutely no reason for my hope to still be at the work-in-progress stage. The proof that God has a sense of humor and He wants me to find the funny in all things and He is still willing to entertain my constant petulant demand for signs that I’m on the right path, is that my papers arrived for signature this week on the day of Halloween. On a day I was dressed in a costume chosen by Ella many, many weeks ago.
I signed the papers to restore my name and to formally and legally change my life while dressed as Merida, from the movie Brave.