An entry on my affirmation calendar read, I enjoy reinventing myself. It’s like giving my identity a makeover!
When I moved back to Michigan almost nine years ago, I had planned to use my Polish name instead of the English translation—Magdalena instead of Madeline, or Magda for short. I had recently been to Poland and everyone there called me either Magdalena or Magda, and I liked it.
My grandfather used to call me Magdusha—a twist on my Polish name and a term of endearment. I liked that, too.
But I was deep in grief when I moved here, and I forgot to introduce myself as Magdalena or Magda, and before I knew it, everyone called me by my English name.
A few years later, though, I started taking Polish classes at a nearby Polish church, and there I was known by my Polish name. Happy day!
This calendar affirmation took me back to that desire to reinvent myself more in line with my Polish heritage. As I reflected on that identity, though, another reinvention occurred to me—to be reinvented in the image God holds for me.
Isaiah 62:3 came to mind: You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
I remember the first time I read these words as a young adult and felt they were being spoken to me and about me. The image of myself in the hand of God, something bejeweled and beautiful, sparkling diamonds and deep green emeralds. That was how God saw me—as something to behold, someone who took one’s breath away.
Living as if I see myself as a crown or diadem is a stretch. I have usually seen myself more as a dull pewter, so adapting a shinier persona calls for a shift in my thinking.
Perhaps being connected to my Polish heritage is part of that new image because when I am connected to my ancestors, I have a wider and deeper understanding of who I am and where I came from—and a different way of knowing myself.
Perhaps leaning into the image of myself as being held in God’s hand is also key, because that image leads me to live in trust rather than fear. God has me, I tell myself.
Not having a job has reinvented me into a woman with time and freedom to structure my days as I please, to do the things I want and not do those I don’t.
The passing years are reinventing me into an elder, and aging has its own reinvention process.
Speaking publicly about my abuse history has shown me a courage I did not know I possessed—add that to the mix.
These past six months, I have been on sabbatical, resting, reading, writing—and pondering who I will be and how I will live this next chapter of my life.
Reinvented, sparkly as diamonds on a tiara—I want to be brilliant.