The other day I found myself idly trying to recall when exactly a particular event in my youth occurred or how it turned out. I was wishing my mom were here to just ask, when I suddenly remembered that I possessed numerous journals spanning from the age of 15 to my late 30s and picking up again in recent years. The answer is no doubt in one of them, along with a million other moments.
In those journals I catalogued my thoughts and emotions (sooo many emotions!) for decades. Additionally, I wrote poetry in my tender years; penned and designed greeting cards; was hired to write a local newspaper column after submitting a quickly created essay; saw my byline on countless articles for the same paper; wrote relevant industry content for dozens of clients; AND completed an unpublished, novel-length vampire love story along with a diverse smattering of other fiction.
In short, I am a writer.
So why do I still experience that momentary pause when I’m asked what I do? Why does it feel less pretentious to answer I’m a graphic designer or content creator, than simply a writer – which actually generates most of my income? Although I admit to sometimes feeling like a fraud upon reading the sublime words of my favorite authors and poets, I know many of them also started out writing in journals, for newspapers, and even ad agencies. And I’m reminded that I was an artist before I landed the job that first put that title on a business card; I was an advocate for the arts before I opened a brick-and-mortar gallery; and I was a writer long before somebody paid me to be one.
I am not a pretender.
I am not a hack.
Hell, I’m not even an amateur.
I’m a journalist. I’m a poet. I’m an essayist. I’m an artist. I’m a creator. And even when I am so full of words that they spill on to the page in the shape of tears, I know I mustn’t staunch the flow.
Because I am a writer.
…What truths are you afraid to speak out loud?