If I asked you to finish the sentence, I am ________, what would you say?
I posted that challenge on Facebook, emailed a few friends, and got a landslide of responses.
The funny peeps hopped on board first…
So bloated right now that my breasts feel like saddlebags and i might actually MOOOOOO. Shocked Disney wasn’t selling ants-on-a-stick at Chimpanzee theaters’ concession stands nationwide. #missedopportunity. In a different time zone, and goin’ to lunch!
Next were the literal folks…
Busy. A drama queen. Exhilarated by the spin class I just took. Exhausted. Walking. Hungover? French. Recommitting to yoga. Alive.
Then there were those in touch with their feelings…
Grateful. Thankful. Loving. Resilient. Content. Fabulous. Fucking amazing. Hopeful. Stronger than my torn ACL! Confused, heartbroken, terrified, on the edge.
Miss Money Bags… apparently to a handful of my son’s friends who consistently ask for him to pay for a drink here, a sub sandwich there. Sick of rude, crazy and moronic people.
And of course, philosophers:
I am me, and you are you. I am who I am and you are who you are. The center of my universe. Woman, hear me roar. On a trapeze. Wondering what comes next. What I yam. The eggman… the walrus (koo koo ka choo).
Like a social media Rorschach test, the I AM game was fascinating. 98% were abstract responses, and only two were concrete, albeit multi-hyphenatesque, self-perceptions:
Wife, mother, friend, runner, skater, hiker, dog owner, oh yeah and I have a job where they call me a shopper. Writer, mother, wife (in that order).
What would it take to boil it all down to one single word that summed up everything you do, think, and feel? What if your work was your life, was the core of your being?
This lofty thought made my head spin, and so I did the logical thing: I grabbed a container of Cool Whip and a couple of Trader Joe’s 100 calorie dark chocolate bars, and plopped down in front of the telly to catch up on this season’s Nurse Jackie. If you’ve never seen the show, let me fill you in: Edie Falco plays Nurse Jackie, a benevolent fuck up who tends to people with tough love and herself with pharmaceuticals. After three seasons of lies, she is now coming clean, in rehab. When asked to say something about herself, Nurse Jackie replies, “I am a nurse.” Of course she is chastised for labeling herself, but that was the moment that made me drop my Cool Whip and take note. It was stunning to see even a fictional character say who she is, clearly, strongly, and so very simply.
Now I don’t think you need a boatload of OxyContin or a fistful of Percocet to go to the place where you can express exactly who you are. But I can tell you I have been working on this thing for years now, gobbling up everything I could to find the courage to say out loud one simple thing about me.
I am a writer.
The guy who inspired me to go there, Jeff Goins, knows the journey well — hell, he even says it in the name of his website, GoinsWriter (http://www.goinswriter). And I just enjoyed reading an advance copy of his new ebook, You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One). In it, there’s lots of great advice for aspiring writers, so if you are one, I strongly recommend you grab a copy.
But even if writing isn’t your gig, there are some fantastic nuggets for you to suck on. Goins says that you have to “turn pro” in your mind before you actually do whatever you want to do for reals. You have to make “public proclamations of identity” as he calls them, and then start believing. Make the pledge, and come to the simple understanding. Heap on determination, practice, early mornings and late nights pursuing your passion, and before you know it, you are the walrus.
Or whatever it is you are, koo koo ka choo.*
* This is the Facebook spelling of that classic Beatles lyric. No Autocorrect to damn and/or validate, but it is what it sounds like, right?!