i’m a writer…?

In my new job, I’m surrounded by young visual artists, many of whom are working on their writing. At a staff meeting last week, we were asked to consider the concept of ’the writer’. What does a writer look like? Where are they, and who is around them? Next, we were asked to recall the last time we wrote, and visualize that scene – where we were, who we were with, the sounds around us, etc.

The exercise was telling; for most of us, the scenes of ‘a writer’ and ‘ourselves writing’ were quite different. One woman pictured a Stephen King-type character, drafting a bestseller on a typewriter in an old study filled with mahogany furniture and leather-bound books.

My concept of the writer was more bohemian; philosophers in Parisian cafes recording their observations on human nature, art, and politics. Though this image morphed into a modern-day version of me, it still didn’t match where I actually last wrote: my previous job, a place I was unhappy in, drafting a blog post on my work email between meetings and daily duties.

Writing got me through the day.

a collage

As I shared in my last post, I left that job a few weeks ago, largely because I had little creative juice left at the end of the day to pursue my other loves – those endeavours known and unknown, longing to be explored.

My new position doesn’t require much writing, but I’m surrounded by creative colleagues who are eager to learn more about my personal practice. And every time they express interest in my writing, I hesitate. I’m fascinated by this continual reluctance to see myself as one of these talented, artistic people!

Our meeting activity really illuminated how pervasive and insidious certain labels can be. But it also helped me realize that, when I’m composing a blog post, I am a writer. I’m choosing to write because I love to write. It doesn’t matter where I am, who I’m with, what I’m wearing. It doesn’t matter if I do it daily or how many words I type or who’s writing more or less. In that moment, I am a writer.

I could go further, but I discovered a post from my early blogging days that totally captures what I want to say. It’s a timeless reminder from 5-years-ago me to my present self (I love it when that happens!):

We are all creative.

No labels required.

embracing the discomfort zone

Something very unexpected happened at work a few days ago.  I was asked to co-host our department’s upcoming annual Arts Gala.

I think the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m way too shy to do something like that.”  But before I even finished the sentence, I knew it wasn’t true.

I’m not shy.  I may have been shy when I was six years old, but that was a long time ago.  Continuing to impose that label on myself, as an adult, keeps me stuck in a limited world where I don’t grow and stretch beyond my comfort zone.

For the past few days I’ve been mulling this proposal over.  But there’s nothing to mull.  I know I have to do this.

Oh shit…I have to do this.

risky business

risky business

I’ve never even hosted a dinner party, let alone a gala.  All the horrible scenarios have flashed through my mind: what if my voice is shaky, what if I flub up my words, what if I freeze, what if I sweat profusely?  What if I can’t hack it, what if people laugh at me?  What if I make a complete fool of myself and am embarrassed forever and can’t ever show my face at work again?


What if I love it?  What if I get really excited, and come alive speaking in front of a crowd?  What if I discover a talent I never knew existed?   What if it allows me to envision a whole new set of possibilities for myself?  What if it’s fun?

I’ve been asking for change and expansion, and here I’ve been delivered a (seemingly) out of the blue opportunity to do something completely different from the norm.  Perhaps the universe is in fact listening, and bringing to me exactly what I seek – albeit not in the way I would have pictured. (But then, isn’t that often the way?)

The invitation to co-host also makes me see how our self-perceptions can be so skewed in relation to how others see us. I often feel a bit awkward and uneasy in a crowd.  My colleagues perceive something else; I was approached because they agreed I would be “amazing” for the gig.

Others really do see in us what we can’t see in ourselves.  The beauty, potential, and possibilities.  I am very appreciative and grateful for this chance to see it for myself.

I haven’t officially said yes, but I’m going to.  I want to rise to the challenge of doing something that scares me.  I need to know – for myself – that when I’m asking for change and growth, I really mean it.  That I’m not going to deny the opportunity for metamorphosis when it presents itself.  If I wait till I’m actually comfortable with this, I’ll be waiting forever.

‘No’ is just not an option at this point.  I’m far too intrigued by what’s on the other side of that fear.