I can remember many times in my life where I’ve sat and wondered who I am. What do I want to be? Where do I want to go?
I’ve always struggled to define myself–to put into some kind of language who I believe myself to be. I was a student for a long time, but is that truly a way to identify? Most people are students at one point or another, whether in a formal school or not.
Am I defined by what I studied? I do identify as a historian, even though I don’t currently have a job where I practice history, it has always been something that has fascinated me, and I have a MA in the subject. History works itself into anything I do.
Am I defined by the jobs that I’ve had? I’ve had several and according to my day job title, I’m still an intern. I’m also a wife. I’m a ferret mother. Sister, daughter… all of the roles I serve, yet none exist to identify who I am as a unique person.
I’m a combination of all of these things, and yet, most of my life, I have searched for something more, the missing piece of the puzzle. I’m also the kind of person who can’t let something rest until I’ve assembled the entire picture, and so it has always bothered me to not be able to somehow put into words who I believe myself to be.
Now, I am a writer. Well, I’ve always been a writer, for as long as I can remember. It’s the thing that gives me my sanity–even though most of my creative processes along the way seem anything but sane. I talk to my characters and live through their existence, even if in my own head for a while.
To those who don’t immerse themselves in reading or writing, this may seem like a childish or wasteful way to spend days–living vicariously through imagined characters. But to me, it’s a gift. Something to be nurtured and cared for. As George RR Martin writes, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” And so it is for writers as well.
Since I have taken up writing again, I’ve stopped searching for that illusive definition of identity to give myself. Today, I walk the footsteps of a paranormal investigator and tomorrow, I could be anyone.
I’m a writer. I’m whoever I want to be, and sometimes who I don’t want to be. Always fluid and changing. And that’s a freeing way to live.