So here goes… I’m taking a leap and making what, for me, is
a pretty bold statement—I am a writer.
“What” you may ask yourself, “is she talking about?” For those of you who know me, you probably
thought I was a writer all along. I write
for magazines, I teach writing, I’ve been working on a “book”, I, from time to
time, am known to post something silly on this blog; however, this does not
mean that I have really accepted myself as a writer up until this point. When people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a
teacher,” and I am, but I’m also a writer.
It’s just that I’m under contract for teaching, and I get a regular
paycheck at the end of each month. Writing
has been hit or miss and, honestly, it sounds like one of those fake jobs, like
“I’m an artist.” Yeah, sure you are,
To say I am a writer has always made me feel like a fraud,
like I’m delusional. So what has
changed? Well, for one thing, I’ve been
sort of down in the dumps for a while. I
haven’t really been able to put my finger on it, but I’ve known that something
just hasn’t been quite right. It’s
probably what Crystal refers to as “depression with a little d”. It’s a funk but not something soul-crushing
that I can’t get out of. I just knew
that I felt anxious about things that really shouldn’t be making me feel
Then I signed up to teach more classes than I had intended to
this semester. (I sometimes have a
problem with telling people “No”.) I had
planned to spend some of my time working on my book, but when the offer for a
“real job” came along, I abandoned that plan and took more classes. I mean, why turn down sure money for a job
that I do really well in order to take a make-believe job that is highly likely
to be for naught? It just didn’t make
logical sense so I didn’t.
Now it’s mid-semester, and I have realized that I didn’t
want to teach this many classes, that perhaps I don’t ever want to teach this
many classes again. This realization was
like the old needle scratching across a vinyl record. If I don’t want to teach all the time, what
the hell have I been doing? And if I
don’t, what the crap am I supposed to do?
So I thought about it, and I wrote in my journal, and I
prayed, and here’s the answer. I want to
be a mommy, a writer and artist, and a part-time teacher. It’s what I’ve always wanted, even from
childhood. When I think back to my
younger days, I can see that it’s been laid out for me from the beginning. What were my favorite toys? Paper, crayons, water colors, freshly
sharpened pencils. What were my favorite
games? Pretend, making up stories and
acting them out, becoming my favorite book characters (I spent one entire
summer living as Caddie Woodlawn.), and working in the garden with my
grandmother. How did I spend my
free-time? Walking in the woods and
building treehouses, feeding chickens, painting, writing poetry and songs about
gourds and birds and little cabins in the woods, playing dress-up and acting
out dramatic scenes in front of a mirror.
And all along the way, I had my own personal creative guru, Merdie. We collected acorns and pinecones and creek
rocks, we baked biscuits and watched birds and drew pictures of the different
trees and flowers in the yard, and we told stories, long, elaborate stories
with wild characters and beautiful settings.
Basically, the beginning of my life was a direct path to my current life
and to my life beyond this. The problem
is that I thought this path was wrong, something for children and people more
creative than me.
At the risk of sounding like the flaky hippie chick that
many assume me to be anyway, I have to say that I am beginning to believe that
we all have a path that we are made to be on.
We are made by God for a reason, and sometimes, we miss out on what that
reason is. Maybe we get sucked into
believing our reason is not as good as our neighbor’s or maybe we think we are
not good enough to fulfill whatever purpose we might imagine we were made
for. I really think this is a
fundamental reason that many people are unhappy, depressed with a little
d. We get on a different path, the one
we think we are supposed to be on but not necessarily the one we should be on.
I have let this blog go for many reasons, not the least of
which is the fact that people actually read it.
I’ve been afraid that I might come off as a flake, that people might
misunderstand what I’m trying to say, that someone will read this and decide
that I am on the verge of suicide and begin questioning my mental health. But I’ve recognized the fact that in order
to be happy, I have to do what I am meant to do and let go of all the fears and
excuses I’ve used these past several years to keep myself from writing and
being the creative person I was made to be.
I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is a really brilliant book, and I love the
way she looks at creativity and spirituality.
This book along with the classes I took both this summer and at the Folk
Art School and some of my amazing friends have made me take a closer look at
where I’m going in my life. It’s
something I’ve been working on for a while, and last night, when I told Rob
about my vision for this blog and my writing career, he said, (and I swear this
is true though you may not believe it) “Follow your path, man.” This is what Julia Cameron would categorize
as “synchronicity”, where everything in the universe just sort of lines up with
you and God’s purpose for you. For Rob
Libbert to say something like that is a sign from God; there’s just no two ways
So I’m following my path.
I’m allowing myself the freedom to be the creative, free-spirited, happy
person God made me to be. I don’t know
if I’ll get any paychecks in the mail, but I suspect the rewards will be many.
path are you on? Is it the one you think
you should be on or the one you were made to be on?