A few days ago I met a very lovely family at the 3 Oaks Farm Mother’s Day Festival.
I talked with their children about writing and gave them a pep talk of confidence and their son was VERY engaged for quite a while.
But something was said, in complete earnest and good intention, that is still scratching at the back of my brain.
“Look, kids! She’s an aspiring writer!”
All of a sudden the world kind of shrank and I felt a little put off, and still do. I kept thinking:
“What about the table of my work that you see in front of you makes you call me an “aspiring” writer? What about the children’s book series of four books and coloring pages and business cards, of four poetry chapbooks, of folders with services I offer, of the stand with the wedding services I offer, of the banner behind my head stating I am a writer, tutor, artist, tells you I am ASPIRING to do anything? I AM a writer!”
Of course, I smiled and kept talking with the kids and didn’t say any of this. She meant well. She was trying to be uplifting and encouraging. She was trying to show her kids you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it…and in that instance she is right!!
But I am not ASPIRING to be anything. I AM. And if you find yourself in this position, you are too!
Something about society tells us that someone who is part of the arts, the foundation and very threads of our society, we are somehow less than. We are somehow reaching for a goal that we never can grasp. Unless we get our work into stores, museums, or on the “big screen”, somehow we are not “there”…wherever THERE is.
I am a professional. This is my career. I am a writer. I am a tutor. I am a graphic designer. I am a poet. I am an author. I am an editor. I am all of these things and I am professional at all of these things. I am not aspiring. I am a writer.
Let’s stop this narrative that someone needs to be a big name to be successful or to be professional. If you create art and give them as gifts, you are NO LESS of an artist. If you write books and self-publish them but they never get on the shelves of big bookstores, you are NO LESS of a writer. If you tutor but do not have a teaching certificate, you are NO LESS of a teacher.
Stop putting capitalism at the forefront of how we judge people. Stop trying to shove everything you see into a clean box of “professionalism” and if it doesn’t fit, then someone is not.
Are they doing the thing? Then they are. I am not aspiring. I AM.
Keep creating my friends ❤