After almost half a century, I've finally figured out my identity. It came after a lot of finding out what my identity isn't.
I'm not the customer that strolls into a highbrow boutique to have all the salespeople cluster around her cooing, "I've been waiting for you to come in. I have a clever little cocktail dress in a size 6 that would be just perfect for you after we take it in."
I'm the customer who wanders into the store, fumbling through her purse for her bifocals and casting about nearsightedly for the chubbies department while Twiggy the sales girl adjusts her shoulder pads to give the illusion of a three dimensional shape and mutters through her nose, "I'll be with you in a minute." Meanwhile, I can hitch up my stretchy pants and find the perfect dress to wear to the class play on the clearance rack.
I'm not the employee who writes a clever computer program that allows the CEO to un-send an e-mail that distributes company secrets to everyone in his address book, including the Soviet spy that moonlights as a janitor.
But I am the employee who can unjam the copy machine with a raised eyebrow, a push of a button, and a hip check in less time than it takes the culprit to take the elevator to the third floor to jam their copy machine.
I'm not the wife who can pull together a catered luncheon for 150 when my husband offhandedly invites the rained-out IT Teambuilder Weekend group home. But I know the way to a man's heart is paved with meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and I have a secret ingredient that gets his attention faster than an advertisement for a car that runs on beer.
I'm not the health-chick who can order a three-leaf salad for lunch and be too full to pack in another bite. I'm the one who reaches for the dessert menu as soon as her stretch jeans hit the cushioned seat of the booth and orders her entrée by saying, "Whatever goes with the 'Death by Chocolate.'"
I'm not the mom who can whip up a fairy princess costume out of two doilies and a handful of glitter that consumes the under-five crowd with envy. But I can juggle two soccer practices and a baseball banquet on a single Saturday without losing shin guards or sanity.
I'm not the daughter who can buy her parents a mansion on fifty acres of Kentucky bluegrass or a nice retirement villa in the South of France. But I can make sure they get to every doctor's appointment, including that awful dentist who makes dentures that stick to a candy apple like the Sword in the Stone.
I'm not the sister who picks out birthday cards (with enough flowers on front to kick your hay fever into high gear), and has them delivered to your office in a pot of seasonal blossoms that I'll drop by your house to plant in the garden for you later.
The bouquet I send you will be made of assorted chocolate bars; at least one will have a bite missing and another will be an empty wrapper. But I am the sister who goes shopping in the petite section with you even though the only thing petite about either one of us is our patience with all the clothes made for small, slender women.
So if you're looking for the one who will stick by you through bad manicures, haircuts gone wrong, and spray-on tans that look like a summer sunset off the coast of Florida, I'm your gal. But try and pull on a pair of skinny jeans after a post-romance feeding frenzy and you're on your own.
Or save a gallon of cookie dough ice cream for me.
Because there's one important thing I've learned from stretchy pants.