Necessity: The Mother of All Reinvention <br> by Rachel DeVault | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Friday, August 28, 2009

Necessity: The Mother of All Reinvention
by Rachel DeVault

I’m shaking in my shoes a little, stepping onto the hallowed ground that is Lara’s blog. She is at once funny, forthright, informative, intelligent and inspiring—five things that tend to make a great blogger. But I also have the pleasure of knowing her firsthand, and let me tell you, that is a distinct privilege.

However….I can hear Lara blushing from my effusive compliments. She may even want to run and hide somewhere. So perhaps I should get on with my guest-post!

For as long as I can remember, our family has relocated every two to three years. My Dad, now a retired Army colonel, would get this look on his face, and we just knew. The Look was something between a smile and an annoyed scowl. As in, “Oh, I hate to tell my family we’re moving again….but what can I do?!”

At the age of 12, I vowed that I would not marry a military man. My dad sweetly asked, “But what if you fall in love with a military man?” My confident answer: “I just won’t.” For almost 8 years now, I have had the immense joy of being married to a handsome soldier, with whom I have moved a total of 8 times.

Let me tell you—I would not consider myself a person who embraces change. I use the same route on the way to the store; I watch the same five TV shows; I load my dishwasher the same way every time, with accompanying anxiety if I decide on the fly to change it up.

But let’s consider for a moment Nature vs. Nurture. It is my nature to be resistant to change. If I can help it, I will not beckon upheaval. But I have been nurtured to accept change, to make the best of what must come, and sometimes—to be brave and bring on some change myself.

On a Thursday night a short while ago, Lara stopped by my house to pick up a CD. We chatted for a moment at the door, and she said something that really set my mental wheels turning. “The one thing about moving is that you can sort of re-invent yourself.”

Immediately, my mind was reeling with flashbacks of the countless times I have had to move. There was the time we moved from Belgium to Georgia, and my little sister took the opportunity of re-invention to new heights. We sat in church, very aware that we were very new.

One sweet, unsuspecting girl asked my little sister, “What’s your name?”


I flinched and slowly turned to her, my eyes full of big-sister scolding.

But she was brazenly brave, and continued. “Yes. Lucy—short for Lucille.”

I couldn’t stand it; my moral compass was going haywire.

“Actually, her name is Kate. Short for Kathryn. She just wishes her name was Lucy.”

“Rae! Don’t be rude….”

“Kate! Don’t be a liar!”

Oh, the complex nature of sisterly relationships….

Anyway—each time we moved, in some small way, I did re-invent myself. Little by little, I was reformed, but with this re-invention, each new place brought out my most authentic shape. I was astounded to find just how much I had become myself through all the revolving locations around me.

“I am going to be an exerciser,” Lara said that night. I wondered silently which aspect of my life I would want to refine, were I to re-locate again. My temper. My writing. Quality time with my children. Selfless service to others. I tallied countless options for improvement, given my oh-so human state.

It doesn’t really matter, though, does it? As long as we are consistent in our quest for self-improvement, and brave about who we can become, the sky is the limit. After all, the greatest secret to embracing change is to view it as an opportunity: a new route, a new destination, a new beginning.

Good luck, Lara! Enjoy the opportunity!

Rachel (also known as Rae) is always hungry. Always. And that's all the biography she has on her own blog for me to steal, so I get to make the rest up all by myself.

Rae is one of those amazing people that you hope will be your friend from the moment you meet her. She is good and kind and thoughtful and beautiful and fun to be with. We have a lot of common interests in our photography and music (she plays the cello), not to mention other things like reading, writing, mothering and crying when the alarm goes off in the morning. She is the wonderful mother of three and wife to Phill, an army man who has been deployed more than once, and who I secretly hope gets transferred to some army base in Michigan (is there one?). She is currently training for the St. George marathon and that is where our commonalities rather drastically end, unfortunately--until I make good on my word and become an exerciser, that is.

Rachel blogs at Creative Catharsis and also keeps a photography blog at Rachel DeVault Photography.


  1. Yeah, change really can be tough, but what a character builder when allowed to be! Thanks!

  2. Now I want to move. I need to make some changes and reinvent myself. I'll just have to figure out how to do it from here.

  3. LAra's gonna be an exerciser huh?
    how's that workin' out for you LAra?

  4. Hey, I followed Rachel's link on her blog over to your blog. You're right about her! She is an amazing girl! She's a fun person to keep up on, such a good writer, photographer, humor-filled mom, and friend!

    I read your profile. I'm a musician too, but not as accomplished as you or your husband. I like that you listen to opera and teach it. My mom does just that and most of my siblings and I were music majors. I might be back once in a while, if you don't mind, to see what one musician/mom mind has to say to another,or just to the world of bloggers out there. Have a great day!

  5. Lovely post. so much to think about with it. I like the reinventing part...and the empowerment that comes behind a physical move. It can reinvent your whole universe if you let it.

    A friend of mine has moved twice in the past 2 yrs w/her family of 7, both times reluctantly. She told me the other week that she's felt like she's stuffed 10 yrs of growth into the last 2 yrs because of moving.

    And although I'm not the jealous type, I found myself envious...just a little.

  6. Anyone who knows Rae really IS lucky! I dated her husband in high school. So, what had the potential to be an awkward, pretend-to-like-this-person relationship turned in to a wonderful, treasured, and hopefully life-long friendship! And her blog hits true to home as I have just relocated with my family. Thank you for the inspiration, the laughs, and the memories!

  7. What a neat girl, you are!! Lucky Lara!

  8. What a neat post. Nice to meet you, Rae!

  9. I agree with this great post. Change is scary for me, but I was telling my hubs last Tuesday how looking back, I've recently just counted myself brave enough to embrace change for myself like baking, taking more self portraits, taking more pictures and feeling more confident about my body according to how my husband sees me while being motivated with the thoughts of how I used to look to eat healthier and be more active.

    Though moving, I still have to battle with. ;-)

  10. This certainly brightened my day! I'm also a huge Rachel fan. Loved this, Rae!!

  11. Hey--just hopping over here to say thank you for all your sweet comments!

  12. I think every army wife I have met (we use to live by a base in El Paso) has said that she will never marry an army man.

    So funny.
    Great post Rae.