Okay…so who am I?

The last time I called myself a writer was in junior high.

Okay, maybe once or twice in college when I chaired the Poetry Circle and bore the label “Spoken Word Artist.”

But since then I’ve mostly worn other titles like “athlete,” “teacher,” “academic.”  And these were strong titles.  They were stable, and easily defined.  They were based on what I did rather than who I am.  Which begs the question:  Who am I?

Well, if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t have bothered asking the question.

There’s something scary about calling yourself a writer by definition.  It’s like saying that you’re a singer-songwriter if you haven’t actually sold any music, or an actor if you can’t name anything you’ve appeared in.  For a long time I’ve operated under that fear.  I’ve written bits and pieces of a dozen different things, squirreled away in my house like Emily friggin’ Dickinson.  Well, I’m no Dickinson.  I’m not nearly that reclusive…Or that talented, for that matter.

I’ve recently “come out of the writing closet,” so to speak.  I’d always thought of myself as a writer, and now I have the guts to actually use that title.  I’ve found a community of people in this amazing city who embrace the role, and who support each other in their writing endeavors.  Some are published, many are not, but they’ve helped me be more fearless.  It’s so easy for others to roll their eyes when they hear that someone is working on a novel–I mean, isn’t everyone and their mother “working on a novel”?–but I’ve found the strength to ignore the nay-sayers.  I’ll listen to the critics and the constructive feedback of my peers, but I’m not afraid to proudly wear the label of “Writer” anymore.  Because even if I’m still figuring out who I am, I know that one thing is for sure:  I am a writer.  

I mean, published or not, I always have been.

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