One of the first questions people ask when they first meet someone is invariably, ‘What do you do?’ Is this question really ‘Who are you?’ or even, ‘Are you important/interesting enough for me to want to continue this conversation?’ It is undoubtedly a loaded question and we attach a plethora of meanings and judgements to the reply we receive.
It’s been said many times that what we do is not who we are but, I beg to differ. Ok, so we know we’re not defined by what we do as a job, we are more than a vocation etc. etc. raa, raa, raa…. but is it so bad to have our identity wrapped up in what we do? In fact I’m beginning to think it’s near impossible for it not to be so. What we do does say a lot about who we are and that is not always a bad thing – especailly as I’m not exclusively talking about ‘careers’, I’m talking about what we do.
I mother, therefore I am a mother. I write, therefore I am a writer. I sing, therefore I am a singer. It doesn’t matter whether I get paid, praised or recognised for any of these roles. I do them, therefore I am them. I actually find it very empowering. Don’t wait until someone buys your first record before you call yourself a singer. Don’t wait before your first book is published before you call yourself a writer and you can even be a ‘mother’ without having children of your own – If you mother, you are a mother.
Don’t wait for someone to validate you. You can be what you want to be if you’re already doing it. The key is to just do it. Then start saying it. Then start believing it. The rest, as they say, is history.