10/26/2012

On being a writer.

 via

Oh really, I don't claim to be a "writer". Although, if someone offered me the status I would gladly accept! I have dreams of being a real writer someday. But I'm not quite sure, what does that mean anyway? Do you have to be paid for your writing? Publish a real live book? I mean, I write. I love to write, and I blog avidly. Am I not a real writer? Okay, howsabout I say this instead: I have dreams of expanding my writing career one day. There, that's better.

But anyway, the reason I'm here is share with you the story of how I came to realize this is what I wanted to do most. Because it just isn't the typical story. You know, the story of a girl who was born with Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad, who knew from her 5th birthday that she would be a doctor when she grew up, and who pursued her career and became a real doctor at the ripe old age of 27 years old. Doing the one thing she knew her whole life that she wanted to do. 

Nope, that's not me.

My five year old self thought she was going to be a police officer. You know, because daddy was a police officer. But then I turned eight, and instead decided I would be a flight attendent. Oh but then ten years old came, and I just knew I wanted to be a teacher! Then at twelve I thought I should really be a veterinary physician, and I made it apparent to everyone as I taped animal posters until they all-but covered the 4 walls in my bedroom.

Okay, you get the jist. I was the girl who never knew what she wanted to be. I stumbled through high school as a C student, barely making it in time to graduate (thank you restitution!). I started college the fall after I graduated HS, but I found the real reason I was there was to meet cute boys and sneak into the football stadium to play capture the flag.

So after a year or so of pre-reqs, I moved to Jackson Hole with my bestie and played another summer away. I "took a break from school". And that break turned into a few years. I worked hard, mind you. I was a waitress for 4 years at a quaint little cabin resteraunt that I loved. I worked as a receptionist at a lumber yard. I was always good at working. I just didn't know what I wanted to do.

And then, just as I turned 23 years old, and maybe in a feeble attempt at forcing myself to be something respectable, I decided to get my Medical Assistant at the local technology college. So that I did.

Really, I loved it. And in retrospect, that is a part of my life that God intended for me. It got me a job for a local podiatrist, which started me as a medical assistant and has now landed me as the office manager. With more promising promotions in my future. A fabulous, flexible job that I really needed in my life.

But I remember the day very well when I was really trying to figure out what made me happy, as for pursuing a career. Being a stay at home mama, well that was something...but even when my kids are in school, what then? What are my hobbies? What am I good at? What are my passions?

I was taking out the trash at work one afternoon. I made sure to take the long way, because it had been quite a day and I needed a walk. This is when I started pondering what I wanted to do with my life. So, I sat myself down and had a talk with myself. I mean really, I was walking...but in my head (I have quite the imagination) I was sitting myself down on my thinking couch. Do you have one of those? No, just me? My thinking couch, the one in my imagination, is beautiful. It's a bergundy colored, long, velvet vintage couch. It's perfect for talks, you see.

So as I sat on my imaginary retro couch, I asked myself, "Self, what are you good at?"

This is when the negative side of my personality came out in full force. She does that sometimes, and oh how I hate her! She immediatly started listing the things I'm not good at. All of the talents that everyone else has, but that I do not remotely possess. After this negative side of me rambles on for a while, it causes me to think I'm not good at anything at all! It makes me think that everyone else was made to have talents, hobbies, and to pursue their passions...but me, nosirree. Not me!

Luckily I got to slap the negative me in the face (oh, just in my imagination of course) and tell her to shoosh. "I didn't ask what you aren't good at, I said what are you good at!" I scolded. She quieted.

And in the quiet, on walks along windy sidewalks, next to little apartments and underneath leafy trees...this is when I find my clarity. These are the times that the most real, the most important thoughts are allowed to enter my mind. Real quiet like, those sneaky little things. Not like the negative thoughts, the ones that scream and yell and take up all the room inside of me. The good thoughts, the important ones...they're the quiet ones. The ones I need to really listen up to hear.

That's when this happy thought entered my mind. It told me, as if I should have known it all these years that I've been trying to figure my life out,
 "You are a great writer."

And for a moment, I believed it. "I am a good writer, aren't I?"

And then I remembered. I remembered my first day of kindergarten. I don't remember who my teacher was or what I was wearing. But I remember one small moment, when at the end of class, the teacher asked "Are there any questions?" I remember raising my timid little hand. I remember her calling on me.

"Yes, Meghan?"

Without any hesitation, any worry about what anyone would think of me, I remember asking, "When are we going to learn to write?"

And I still remember the class giggling. I remember, because it shocked me. Why were they laughing? That was a totally legit question! (Although, at 6 years old I probably didn't use the words "totally legit" yet.)

The teacher smiled warmly and replied, "We started learning that today, dear!"

I remembered sitting at our old, laminate wood computer desk when I was growing up. While all the other kids were building forts and playing soccer and jumping on trampolines, I was sitting for hours in front of an old apple computer and writing stories. Stories about magical racoons that could talk. Stories about a girl that entered a land of dreams with her pet monkey. Stories about people falling in love. Stories that conjured up from my inner most imagination, begging to be put in words on paper.

Of course! I love to write! I've always loved to write!

Why, I wonder, did I forget that? Why, when I was sluffing class in high school, when I was socializing in college, when I was crying in my apartment at night by myself, wondering what was to become of me...why did I not remember what I really loved to do??

I don't know why. I don't know why that thought didn't strike me until I was 27 years old. Part of me thinks it's because that important fact was just sitting still in the back of mind, and waiting. It was waiting for me to quiet down. Figure myself out. Give myself a moment of space in my mind, a space where it finally could wriggle free from behind it's restraining bars and be the thought that it needed to be. The thought that I needed to hear. The reminder that would allow me to pursue passions that felt real. A hobby that made me feel happy. A past time that put a real sparkle in my eyes.

Because for so many reasons, I love writing. I love putting stories into words. Whether they're real stories, stories about my life with my sweet little family, or whether they are pretend stories about a magical world out there somewhere... I just love them all. The enchantment, the romance, the eloquence, the beauty that comes from putting words carefully together until they tell a perfect story.

That's what I love.

So there you go, an all-too-long story of how I came to be. How my adult self learned later in life what she really loved, and the happiness it has brought me. And really, if you're still reading this I commend you! What a long story that was!

But now. Now I feel that I have a pursuit worthy of pursuing. Whether that means continuing to document my stories day by day on this humble little blog, or maybe it means finding an inspirational story to write and becoming a published author. Or maybe one day it will take me even farther, to places I never dreamed.

Either way, I sure have found the truth in this:
Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.

And I don't know about you, but I sure love being happy.

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