Last spring I had an epiphanie. I decided I was going to turn something I love, writing, into something that could sustain my family. I was going to find away. I felt like I’d discovered some kind of secret key to the Universe. Except, I was coming at it all wrong.
Essentially, I set a goal to use my writing, a skill and passion I’ve had my whole life, to make money. It’s not a bad goal. It’s not even terribly lofty if you’re willing to do a lot of leg work. The problem was, I still couldn’t say “I am a writer”.
When people asked what I was ‘doing’ with my time (you know, aside from maintaining a household and caring for an infant, 6 year old and 11 year old), I got brave enough to say something like “oh, I’m doing some freelance writing” in an offhanded, almost flippant way that seemed to satisfy most people. But it still felt like a lie because deep down, I didn’t really believe I could be successful because I didn’t really believe I was “a writer”.
There were a couple pretty big barriers to me owning the title of ‘writer’. The first was/is my self-esteem and gaggle of inner critics who grew strong through my adolescence under my father’s careful tending. I have long been letting them ‘rule the roost’, if you will. I’ve held this subconcious belief that if I could get my father to understand me and to be proud of me, the inner critics would simple whither away and die, like magic. The problems with this solution were: it’s not going to happen and, even if it did happen, my inner critics would not just vaporize. Nice try.
For the last few months, I’ve been working hard at disconnecting from the need for his approval. I’ve been striving to get to a place where I don’t need anyone’s approval to be who I am. I don’t need permission to breath, why do I believe I need permission to BE?
The other barrier to me owning that title is that I don’t write. Well, I do, write, here and there. I throw up a blog post once in a while; I started another blog about food allergies that I regularly post on. But the practice isn’t there. I don’t make the time and space for writing. I keep waiting for permission. I keep waiting for someone to make the time for me.
It’s time for me to take the time. Even before I was a mother, I was always giving of myself. There is nothing inherently wrong with giving, and I like being seen as generous and kind, but when giving comes at the expense of the self or with an attachment to the outcome (again, a need for approval) then it is essentially disingenuous and ultimately draining.
I owe it to myself to take the time to write. Writing has always been so deeply important to me. I have at times felt myself grieving over the loss of such an important part of who I am when I wasn’t writing at all. I don’t ever want to feel that again.
I have decided I will not heeding Jeff’s request to declare that I am a writer to anyone else. I am completely eschewing the need for outside validation. If I were to declare to an other that “I am a writer”, regardless of who it was, I would still be too attached to the outcome. It doesn’t matter if the other person believes in me. I need to believe in myself. Isn’t that the secret key to the Universe?
So here you have it, I am a writer. I believe it. And now, I’m going to start acting like it.