When I got married, I went from being called Kari Kubiszyn to being called Kari Kampakis. Transitioning from one odd name to another was easy. Figuring out who this new person was, however, launched an identity crisis that I didn’t expect.
I was thrilled to finally live in the same city as Harry, but moving to Huntsville from Birmingham meant leaving my friends, my family, and a job I adored. In Birmingham everything clicked for me, but in Huntsville I couldn’t catch a groove, much less find work. Everyone I knew was working, and being home alone, with no one to talk to except the postal carrier, allowed me too much time to think.
For 26 years I’d been known for something – good grades, credentials, a promising career – but with all those things in my past, they were no longer relevant. My new identity, Kari Kampakis, had no interesting tagline, nothing to make me stand out from a million other folks in this world.
It was then that I realized a painful truth: My self-esteem was tied to my achievements. And when I wasn’t achieving, my self-esteem suffered.