I've always felt a sense of unease when I've heard people, particularly adults, talk about "finding themselves."  It seems a rather self-indulgent and stupid thing to do.  If you don't know who you are who the hell else does? 

Through the ups and downs of a rocky marriage blessed with four children I have never said, "Gee, I just don't know who I am anymore."  I feel no different now that I am getting a divorce.  You won't find me signing up for martial arts classes or taking up sky diving.  I'm not going to move across the country, take up ballroom dancing (no partner), or learn Chinese.  I won't catch religion, get a belly-button ring or jump into an affair with a man half my age (or twice my age for that matter).  I KNOW who I am.  I always have.

I am Gail Devenney Ryan, fucking fierce and loving mother of four extraordinary sons.  (You can ask anyone, they are amazing.)  My sons adore me.  Good luck to the next girl. 

I have taught tens of children how to read, which I think is the next best thing to giving birth or breast feeding them.   

I am an outstanding cook who finds cooking after work relaxing.  I am a bad housekeeper but don't mind cleaning.

I gossip too much, drink moderately and smoke from time to time. 

I hate exercise but love the way I feel when I do it. 

I am a devoted daughter who is the best and worst of my mother and father.  My sister is my best friend, loudest cheerleader and most honest critic. 

I am independent.  I can do shit all by myself.  My dad did not raise a wimp.  I can drive a 30 foot motorhome and take four sons camping on my own.  I will learn how to change lightbulbs in high places and unclog toilets.  In fact, I'm looking forward to it.  And if I can't do it I'm completely comfortable batting my eyelashes and asking a friend to do it.

I worry, but not too much.  I prefer to solve problems (see above).

I love freely and deeply many, many people.  But if you mess with me too many times you are toast, never to return to my good graces.  I don't hold grudges, but when I'm done with someone I'm just....done.

I hate conflict.  Hate.  It.  I like a peaceful home.

I am deeply flawed, but I kind of like my flaws too. 

I don't consider myself modest, but I have a hard time taking a compliment.  I know what I am and what I am not.  I trust my opinion more than yours.

No tiger blood here.  No #winning.  Just me.  I'm okay.  I will be okay.  I can do this.  I can do this.

Now.  Do you know who you are?