I’m fascinated by all the different avenues from which we can find our identity. Both my husband and I had radically different lives before we met and we refer to it as ‘snow globe syndrome’, in which our existences were shaken up and completely changed, as though a giant hand tipped our worlds upside down and then put all the pieces together in a different order. Twelve years ago I had a different husband, residence, state, job, two cats and a different car. Every single aspect of my life has changed completely and the same is true for my husband. In the past, I have found my identity through my job, or my weight, or my relationship at the time. Needless to say, it is impossible to weather the storm when you’re navigating by something that is on the ship with you! It took a shakeup of snow-globe like proportions to finally realize that my identity cannot be tied to any other person, place or thing. This has been a continual learning and remembering process, but has brought me a lasting and sustainable peace.
Because this has been such a powerful lesson in my life, I have found that most of my protagonists need to learn the same thing. In Grief Inc., Holly has defined herself almost exclusively through her career, and finds herself isolated when she receives a fatal diagnosis. In Broken Warriors, Melayna needs to rethink her identity and let go of her perfectionism in order to survive and in Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes, Joely redefines herself as a woman of substance and integrity (un-ricecake-like, might I say). In my own experience and through observation, it usually does take a snow globe like catastrophe to initiate major change and that has certainly been the case for my characters. I’m curious as to whether anyone out there has undergone massive positive change without significant pain prompting it?