23 April, 2007

What's the Word?

I am currently reading a book by Elizabeth Gilbert. In one chapter of the book she talks about an Italian man's thoughts on each city/person having a "word" that is specific to that person/city. If the person's word and the word of the city don't work together, then the person will not fill that they fit into the city. Okay, it is definitely simple, but interesting all the same. I thought it was something fun and different to consider.

Have you ever loved a city and yet... it just didn't fit in all the ways you would want it to fit to "live" there? And then there are cities that feel like home the moment you walk out the door; they just "fit!"

The examples given in the book are New York, Naples, and Rome. The word in Rome is "sex." (I love Rome and now... well, maybe I know why!) This is the word that is on the mind's of those living in Rome. It is what forms their way of dress and general attitude. It is singular to Rome. Thus, if "sex" is not your word, then living in Rome might be fun and interesting but it might not feel like "home" to you.

I live in the DC area, so... I have spent the weekend thinking about this concept in terms of my own area and my life. I would guess that DC (metro) is "politics." Good guess, right. I mean, DC and the metro area are all about the US government and international business and diplomacy. Life is about politics.

There is a bit more to it than that. Yes, the government and the international community practice politics in this city, but politics is a way of life here. It is within the air we breathe and the water we drink. One can sit in a group of parents and hear politics at work... getting into the best camps, schools, programs, etc. You want to try this program... let me give you this name or see what I can do. It is understood that you will, at some point, return the favor.

From our personal lives to our professional lives... and everywhere in between, it is about politics; who you know, where you live, how well you play with others, and what you bring to the table. I love the DC metro area; I hate politics at every level.

Then, what is my word? This one was much more difficult for me as I had to truly consider what word best fits the center of my being where decisions are made. What is my motivation?

Before I had my daughter, my word was "student." I was a student of life in every sense of the word. I was driven to learn, to study, to continue learning. Meeting people allowed me greater opportunity to explore and learn. I moved every 9 months, lived in foreign countries, all for the sake of learning. But a student isn't only about learning. A student is also about applying what is learned. That was me... "student."

And now... my word is "mom." Just because one is a parent does not mean that their word would be that parent. I was a bit surprised to realize that "mom" truly is the word that fits right now. I rebel against this from time to time creating turbulence in the lives of those closest to me and my daughter... but in the end, I am, whether I like it or not... "mom."

This does not mean that I am not a "student" or any of a number of words that could and are used to describe me and my motivations etc, it simply means that, at this point in my life, being mom is the strongest of them. I remain a student, avid reader, unconventional analyst, creative thinker, friend, lover, fabulous kisser, one of those annoying people who generates solutions and options whenever a challenging question is brought to the table... that is me. I am all of those people and... a mom. And, to be frank, it is the way I want to be... for now. (However, I have a trip to Rome planned in the near future!)


Miss B said...

I'm just about finished with that very same book right now and I'm loving it!

The Exception said...

I just finished the section in India. I am loving it as well. Highly recommended!