There were two apparent levels to my "I'm a writer" anxiety. The first would happen at dinner parties or events where mingling is obligatory. My brain would wrinkle when the dreaded question "What do you do?" finally made its way into conversation. I would speak impressively about my 9 to 5 all the while knowing I got depressed every Sunday night dreading Monday morning. I had a great job working with great people, but being an Executive Assistant was light years away from anything I imagined for myself. During my 9 to 5 years, during my bedrest with my first, during my service to my local church, writing was calling me. I reasoned my life with two little ones and a daily 3 to 4 hour commute kept me from answering. Not to mention that at the time there was no evidence to validate my noble calling. Nowhere was my name in print. So I couldn't be a writer. I know that I am not the only one. Although we sweat and agonize over our words as fiercely as any New York Best Selling author, and we see our own creations come to life and take shape, we regulate ourselves to this writing no man's land where our only salvation is our name in print. For me, just being in print wasn't enough. Validation for me meant that someone had to choose me and pay for the privilege of using my words.
No matter how I felt about my self or my work, whenever I was asked about who I am or what I do the words "I am a writer" were always present. Resting on my tongue just waiting.
The second level of anxiety started creeping in when I was jolted into reality after we moved into our new house. Almost immediately our finally paid off car died, which meant saying goodbye to our monthly cushion. Weeks squeaked by with no vintage sales. I was stressed and a friend recommended I bite the bullet and go back to work. I completely rejected this perfectly reasonable explanation but really couldn't explain why. I seriously pray and think about why I had such a strong NO WAY response. I had just talked about getting a part-time job, but couldn't find one that would make much more than what my shop brought in. But that wasn't it.
I remember sitting at my desk in my studio staring at the glittery purple collage my daughter made in pre-school. I could feel the proverbial rubber meeting the road. The thought "It's now or never" descended on me. I leaned my head back, stretching my neck until I could feel my hair hit my shoulder blades. I resumed my original position and sighed.
Either I am a writer or I'm not.
Either I am capable of making a living doing what I love, or I'm not.
I skirted around this issue for years. As long as I was vague and hesitant about my being a writer, I allowed myself to be vague and hesitant about my goals. How could I get anything more than mediocre results when I was so luke-warm and skittish about my capabilities.
I am a writer. I have always been a writer and will always be a writer. Being a writer has nothing to do with seeing our name in print or money. I had to work this realization out for myself. I am a writer because I must write my stories. No matter if they are the stories from my imagination or the stories of my life, I have to write them. I believe that by time we hit this earth, God has already deposited in us gifts and talents. That each person is created to fill a certain space and by following the things we love most we reveal purpose and meaning. I am created to tell stories, one word at a time.
My name is CJ Poindexter and I am a writer.