I always wanted to be a teacher. Always. It was my favorite thing to imagine as a child, my career path was linear and measurable, and I knew when I became one. I graduated from college, I acquired my degree, and I landed a job teaching third grade. Done.
I became a teacher.
I've also always wanted to a be a writer. I've been drawn to words, I've collected them obsessively, and I have forever loved the joy of learning, using, and piecing them together with careful precision.
But that career path is not quite so linear, measurable, or tangibly acquired.
Still, it recently occurred to me: maybe I'm a writer.
When I voiced my discovery to a close friend, she gave me that girlfriend look that says, "You must be joking. What a ridiculous thing to say. Of course you are."
(And as I recall, her facial expression was accompanied by, "What?! Are you freaking kidding me?!")
But it's less of an 'of course' than you might think. There isn't a clear-cut mantle of acquisition. And I've read, from those who truly are, that the acquisition of such a title can be a bit of a let down, if it's what you've been waiting forever for.
"Here. Congratulations. You are a Writer." Voila.
What I have discovered is this: A writer must claim her role and her identity. Because the truth is, if you want someone to ever hire you for what you believe you are capable of doing, you must have already invested much time, energy, belief, and persona into the craft.
Being a writer is akin to being a philosopher or a theologian; the work of it is intangible, unless you truly claim the time, effort, energy, and being. Once you do, it's yours.
And so, I think I have become what I hereby choose to be.
I'm a writer.