Today I am presenting at my youngest child’s elementary school for career day.
My husband has been presenting at Career Days since our oldest child hit kindergarten. He is a dentist. His career, what he does, and how he might identify himself lends itself to career day. Pictures of nasty teeth made pretty. Impressions of teeth. Scrubs. Loupes (those cool and yet goofy looking magnifying glasses). Non-latex gloves. Dental lasers. Who doesn’t think using a laser would be a cool career?!
But I am not a dentist. I am….
A mother of three. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A sister-in-law. An aunt. A friend. A neighbor.
A part-time cosmetics salesperson.
A full-time multicultural trainer and diversity officer for a religious non-profit organization.
Year after year I would watch Peter fill out the Career Day volunteer application, and I would wonder what I would do as a presenter. Is a career something you get paid to do? Is it something you have achieved a level of expertise? Is it a job? Is it a passion?
Well, I finally decided I am a writer. I have had and continue to work in a variety of jobs, but at the heart of it all, I continue to write. Sometimes I get paid. Sometimes I don’t get paid, but what I write leads to an opportunity to speak in front of groups of people, for which I get paid.
I blog. I edit and write comments. I read other authors’ books, and I write reviews. I tweet. I journal.
I am a writer.
What are you?
Next week at my son’s middle school I am going to be a writer.
It’s career day, and for years I’ve signed up my husband, a dentist, for career day presentation duties. I help out lost children in the halls.
But this year I’m trying on the “writer” label out for size. It’s not completely new. I fell in love with writing after getting my first attempt at a high school sports story returned to me decorated with red marker. My favorite color is red, and I must confess there is a competitive streak in me. I am my own biggest competition.
For years I was a bonafide newspaper reporter. My business card proved it. The bylines are saved on yellowing newsprint. A few digital copies still remain out in the inter webs. I was a newspaper reporter.
And then there was this “writing project” that I had the honor of participating in. At one point I had to come to grips with the fact that even if our ideas could become a manuscript it had “a snowball’s chance in hell” of making it to print. And then hell froze over, and someone started calling me and four other amazing women “authors”.
Even then it felt a little phony to call myself a “writer”, but it was the start of a journey back and forward to discover, identify, clarify, and claim that elusive thing many of us refer to as our “voice”. It’s the way we sound when we speak, write, laugh, argue, persuade, listen, dance and simply “are” – and it’s all the same. It’s a hint of the woman I know deep down inside God has created me and “my inmost being” and for those of you who know what I’m talking about know that it is simultaneously exhilarating and frightening. It can point you to God’s faithfulness and goodness just as your false-self with all our insecurities and just plain ickiness.
It’s figuring out the gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses that you have to share, do and express because that is what God meant for you to share, do and express. And then you have to own that.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to “own” it, as silly as it seems since I am writing all of this down.
As a woman, wife, mother, writer/blogger, speaker, aspiring crafter, amateur baker/gardener, laundress, chauffeur, seamstress, cleaning lady, personal shopper, diversity officer at a non-profit, middle manager and an evangelical Christian, I have several ways of answering the question, “What do you do?”
How do you answer the question?