Two simple words. One strong declaration. I am many things but above all I am a writer, I am an observer, and I am a woman.
I Am a Writer
We all go through that identity crisis phase in high school, that point in life where you transition from dependent to autonomous. The adults formerly known as the center of your universe become these annoying nags who struggle and scramble to see you as an individual and adult. At the same time you try to figure out who you are and where you fit in with a world you’re just beginning to open your eyes to. Never knew there was a round two of that “delightfully” lost feeling. And this time you’re looking for guidance from anyone who has a brain, parents too.
It’s been challenging to keep a grip on the fact that I’m a writer. Thankfully I have supportive friends and family because wherever I go, there are people who think it’s neat that I write but at the same time ask me what my day job is. There’s a stigma that writing isn’t a career, unless you’re the lucky few. Sure, I get told to go into journalism and the likes but these people don’t understand that not only does it take writing skills, it takes a certain personality as well, one I learned during grad school that I don’t have. I constantly remind myself that such advice given is only from their intention to help, not from the intention to annoy me. They don’t know what I know, nor what there is to know in the writing field. Heck, I’m far from well into the know, in a way, as I’ve discovered while job hunting on LinkedIn. There are so many fascinating jobs I never knew existed, like cruise critic (yep, I’d go on cruises for my job if I got that one).
My degrees didn’t help my morale either. Theatre for a Bachelor’s? Unless you go to NYC or Hollywood and audition your heart out, yada yada, forget it. What was I thinking? Then writing for my Master’s? Grad school isn’t the magic solution to getting published. Do I possess one iota of economical sense?
During my darker phase over the last two years, I mentally kicked myself for my decisions. Nowadays I’m thankful and honestly believe they were worth my time, especially my second degree. I could ramble on and on why they were great choices that have contributed to my life’s journey, but that would not only be boring, it would also veer away from the subject at hand: defining who I am.
Both degrees are a testament to my desire/need to follow my heart, my passion. Such a decision is hard for so many people to understand. The majority of the people I’ve encountered don’t. I’m told to just find what I can to pay the bills and to pursue my “hobbies” during my spare time. I think I just need to accept that not everyone is going to understand, that no amount of persuading or stand up for my position will help anyone see things my way. This stress and frustration has made me wonder 1) what am I doing wrong? And 2) Am I wrong to prioritize my writing; are all these people telling/asking the same thing right? This quandary has put me through quite the identity crisis. There’s nothing like not knowing where you fit in with the rest of world when how you want to fit in is constantly discouraged.
1) I’m actually doing nothing wrong now that I’m giving writing my all, and now that I comfortably and happily identify myself as a writer. 2) It’s been all about attitude. The identity crisis has subconsciously made other question what/who I am, so they question my decision to pursue writing. Their attitude towards me reflects my attitude towards myself. The only exceptions are the people who don’t care how they make money so long as they make as much of it as they can. Such people have my respect because they fill in the jobs that need to get done that not everyone is equipped to sustain.
I’m a writer. Just because everyone is taught to read and write, it doesn’t mean everyone can do my job. I devote all my energies to writing like Michael Jordan to basketball. I’m not a prodigy, but my prowess reflects the amount of effort I put into it.
I Am an Observer
I’m your quiet intellectual type that loves to sit in the back of a room and watch everything. My mother told me many a time that, when I was a baby, I always wanted to be in the same room as everyone else just to see what was going on. I’m still like that. I’ve no desire to be the center of attention, nor do I care to talk unless I have something intelligent that’s worth saying. I like to listen. However, there are exceptional moments where I wish you luck at getting a word in. I can talk your ears off when the subject is something I’m passionate about. Other than that, I’m constantly observing the “what” and trying to figure out the “why.” And after long stretches of observation mode, I need quiet time to digest everything I’ve taken in, or simply no-think time like gaming or practicing martial arts.
I Am a Woman
This is actually difficult and so full of blank spots. I’ve been single most of my life-mostly by choice, and partly because I’m boyfriend-challenged, I swear.
I don’t follow the stereotypical trends of what society defines as decisively female. I’m an athlete. I can’t stand the idea of sitting there and looking pretty while all the guys run around having all the fun. I don’t watch football, but I think I’d have an absolute blast if I were the one playing. I don’t wear makeup , jewelry, or heels. I consider myself too tall for heels, and since I grew up playing so much soccer, I never got into the habit of wearing makeup or jewelry since I’d just sweat off the former and have to remove the latter for every practice and game. I don’t read girly magazines. I have no interest in trying to squeeze into other people’s impossible standards of beauty. It’s so disgusting to look at these emaciated women (and men, to my dismay) with beautifully photoshopped skin tones staring at me with vacant or seductive expressions. And I don’t freak out over getting covered in dirt and sweat and such. Sure, I freak out when I see a spider but I’ll leave it alone if it doesn’t look it it’s gonna creepy crawl closer, but place one slender leg in the no-crawl zone, like my room, it gets the splat treatment.
I grew up with people making all sorts of “kind” assumptions and judgements about me, but who hasn’t? I’ve learned to let these people not matter, but I definitely have my days where I wish the whole world would just accept and like me for me. Then reality sets in, I relocate my center, and stop wasting energy and move on.
I’ve had one boyfriend my entire life of 27 years so far. We aren’t together simply because he wasn’t what I was looking for in a life partner, but he was the first person to treat me that well, make me feel beautiful and like a woman. I want to try dating again. I just have to get out of my own way. I purposely chose not to date during undergrad because I didn’t want to be distracted while trying to get good grades. I didn’t discover boys until high school, but at that point I wasn’t ready for anything beyond hugging. And now, at present, I’m so used to being single that I talk myself out of trying dating every time I feel lonely. I come up with excuses, like time and money, and that my life doesn’t condone a stable relationship, that I’m not good girlfriend material yet, and all sorts of yada yada crap. What made me stop and question all my poor excuses is the people around me. All these people going through rough times and dealing with personal problems all have a spouse to lean on for support and get through the rough times. And here I am with… two cats, family, and friends. They’re wonderful and all, but they don’t fill that boyfriend role. No matter how hard I pretend I’m fine going the “crazy old cat lady route”, I’ve yet to convince myself of it.
My guild leader from WoW suckered me into creating a profile on match.com. *forehead on desk* Open mind, open heart. Open mind, open heart. Don’t defeat it before you try!