Permission to Call Myself a Writer
I have this silly pesky thought about being a writer. Let me just spit it out:
I can’t call myself a writer because that’s not what I started doing in life. It was never a real consideration in college, it didn’t even breathe a breathe in high school, in fact I resisted it, hated it.
But I can call myself a nurse because, well that’s what I studied to be. I can call myself a musician because, well I began playing at a young age and still play today. I can even be into watercolor painting and calligraphy, a relatively new hobby, because well it’s not as serious. That’s just a pastime.
But I can’t call myself a writer because writing wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye when I was growing up. How dare I stray from the pursuits I always thought I would have...how dare I allow myself to become interested in different things, things that may be completely out of the blue or completely out of line of how I construct my self-image to be. How dare I throw my friends for a loop - how inconsiderate of me! I should sit down, get back in line, go back to being the same little person everyone knows and loves. There’s no changing here. There’s no growth here. Maybe for others, yes. Always for others. But for me, no. That’s too daring. That’s too bold. What will everyone think?
Ok, now that the words have come out, I can speak frankly about them. I know they’re silly and limiting. But the complex still exists. And it’s totally and completely biased. I’ve changed and developed and grown in other many areas of my life. I got married. I live around the country. I’ve bought and sold a car. I buy new clothes every now and then. Why is all this ok and acceptable, but calling myself a writer is not.
Then, when my wise old soul rises up to speak, she says in a calm soothing voice: but what about all those journals you used to keep as a kid? Daily ones, yearly ones, all kinds of ones. What about all those notes you found of yourself spilling your feelings down on paper? What about the fact that you don’t feel as though you can process things unless you write them down? And what about that one time in college when you put your heart into that freshman thesis that was picked to be published in the yearly English book for the school? Did you forget all this? Did you forget how freeing it is to spill words onto a page typing a million words a minute? Hmmm. Why don’t you write about it?