The question hung in the air for a moment. Bear sat next to me, drawing, creating another five year old masterpiece. I looked at her, then back at the employee, "I am..." Again, I hesitated, so she inquired "Are you a stay at home mom?"
"Y-es." I said, clearly unsure, then quickly added, "And, I am a writer."
Saying this outloud has been a gift I haven't given myself this year. The facts all point to it:
- I spend most of my days on the computer
- I spend most of those same days with pajama bottoms passing as clothes.
- Coffee is always close.
- I'm mentally deprived if a day goes by without some kind of creative writing exercise.
- I think in opening sentences, segways and smooth retoric
- I'm not getting paid for any of it
- Oh, and yes, there is that column I write for Exhale Magazine and that manuscript my agent is selling.
Certainly sounds like the life of a writer, doesn't it? So why can't I just open my mouth and smile as I say, with pride, with affection for what I do, "I am a writer"?
It could be because I have been, because I am so many things. I am a Teacher of the Deaf. I am an Interpreter for the Deaf. I am starting a Share Southern Vermont group. I am an advocate for grieving families. I am a certified Reading Recovery teacher.
But, this year I am not teaching. I am not interpreting. I am home.
I think my inner struggle for labels is because I am home. Inanimate objects call to me. The laundry yells, "I'm still sitting here in the pile. How long would it take you to throw me in the washer?" The dishes squeak, "We are getting dried out. It will take you twice as long if you wait until later." The dust bunnies? I'm not even going to tell you what they say, it's not blogworthy. So, even as my hand hit the keys in a, click - clack - clickity-clack pattern, my guilt for not attending to the other pieces of my life builds.
Last year I taught full time. I wasn't here. The fact that my body wasn't present in my house all day as laundry, dishes and dust mocked me somehow made it easier to walk back into the house and find it in the same state. Now, I close my eyes and envision clean, crisp rooms that are clutter free and smell fresh every second of the day. But (and here is the good part) I do nothing to maintain the blissful status of our home. I mearly walk through each welcoming room to reach, my brand new ergonomic office chair (on my xmas wish list), crack my knuckles (yup - I really do) and breath deep as I look at the Angel Wall.
And then, I work. I write. Hence, I am a writer. But, I am also a mother. A driver of carpools, a packer of lunches. A rescue van when a child is sick at school, a scheduler and executer of doctors appointments. A cooker of dinner and, yes, a cleaner of the house.
Truth time? I often fantasize a world where I function very much like Carrie from Sex and the City. The world is my oyster, although I have no great love for shoes. Regardless, I would write when the perfect mood struck over a cocktail at an unmentionable hour. I would explore new ideas while walking the streets in a contemplative and introspective state. And, of course, the answer would always come, the last line - with just the right witty pun to leave the reader thinking, chewing for hours on my most recent ideas.
Reality time? That's not going to happen.
I am all the things I said and more. And, I am not balanced. I do not strive for balance for I know it only makes me feel more lopsided when I don't achieve it. I am, however, blessed for all my responsibility, for it allows me to grow into who I am becoming, after the loss of my Emma Grace.
It really bit me, this writing bug. It is part of my being now and I know it is the piece I was missing as I set and achieved every goal, then moved on.
This feels good. It feels right, flooding me with motivation, passion and desire to make a difference.
So, just in case you were about to ask...I AM A WRITER.