I’ve been wondering lately what label to give myself. Not because I lack a term to identify or introduce myself at social gatherings or anything. I usually tell people that I am a stay at home mom for the time being but that I’m trained as a pastry chef and that that is what I still consider myself. But beyond that, I’ve been wondering how I really see myself. I do intend to continue baking when I return to the “workforce” but my hope is that I will not have to be limited to just one way of bringing in an income throughout my lifetime.
I’ve called myself…
a camp counselor,
a shop girl,
a pastry chef…
The list goes on and on.
We are not, usually, what we do for a living. So what AM I?
I am most undoubtedly and happily the wife to my wonderful husband and I am blissfully honored to be the mother of my son but still…who else am I. Do I need a label? For some reason I want to give myself one and I want it to be neat and fitting.
Perhaps I am an artist.
Now for some reason when I say this, the hairs go up on the back of my neck and not in a good way. I’ve been getting all weird and judgmental with myself.
Why am I avoiding calling myself something so simple and creative? On one hand I feel like a fraud. I decided to just look up the definition. One definition I found states, “A person who creates art; A person who creates art as an occupation; A person who is skilled at some activity; Artistic”
Heck! That’s me! I don’t even need to find another version of it’s meaning. I create art, whether “good” or “bad” in anyone else’s eyes and I can try to let that be enough to sustain my internal dialogue.
Perhaps some of the judgment comes from how I perceived my fathers view of artists. ?… I have a memory of my mother and father having a knock down drag out argument about what constitutes a valuable member of society. And I remember my dad arguing the point that unless a person was “producing something of value” then they were a drag on society and therefor a blight. I remember my mom asking, “So because I and the kids (we were around 12 and 14 at the time) don’t produce anything, we are a drain?!!!” and his response was, “Yes!” And then I have another memory of my dad asking me what I was going to “do” with my life after college. The tone in his voice was not kind. He knew I was going to school to study opera and nothing else and I think he was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to “fall back on”. It’s not that I think my dad didn’t value art or artistic creations, it just wasn’t as important as making money. The way that he spoke so severely to me about art during my formative years contributed to my deep beliefs about my own self worth as an artist. He attended some of my performances, and spoke favorably about a few of my artistic goals but overall he was always concerned with what my “job” was and how I was paying my bills. I understand I guess. I was a flighty young girl and very unfocused most of the time. My grades in school were usually low (except in music and art classes) and I think he worried about me as most fathers do. But it’s rather sad for me sometimes to look back at all of the conversations I might have had with him about all of the creative things we were working on.
I don’t agree with my fathers statement that a person is only worth what they can produce. I think a person’s value and worth come from inside themselves, how much they love and share of themselves. How true they are to their heart and how open they are to allowing others to live their joy as well. When we strive to live while allowing bliss and passion for life to flow out, then we are living a worthy life.
To me being an artist is not some grand thing. It is simply the way I choose to live my life. To me being an artist is enjoying the creative process, trying new things and sharing what I create. I think everyone can be an artist in any field. It’s a way of seeing and valuing the beauty in every detail, perfect and imperfect, and enjoying those details. “Life is in the details” after all. And it really is the journey not the destination that interests me.