Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Am Not What I Do



I've lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade. It's a city of jaded optimists, of waiters so run down by failed auditions they almost don't care about the script in their back pocket. Almost. It's a city of broken dreams, overnight successes and an ever-present feeling of if I just tried a little harder, a little longer.

It's exhausting. 

In ten years, my husband rose from lowly errand boy to editor in a career path he never really wanted. He got married, earned a degree, bought a home, had kids. Always, through everything else, he's pursued his real passions on weekends and after long days at his job. Almost everyone I know in Los Angeles is the same way - day shift, night shift. Pursue your dreams amid real life.

Last week, after a 14 hour day on set, he came home from his first big break. He'd left the house before the kids woke up and come home after they'd finally fell asleep. After pursuing this dream for so long, he questioned if the cost was worth it. Then he said:

I am not what I do

My husband is a lot wiser than me. I don't know why I'm shocked by his ability to stop me in my tracks with a single sentence. But that simple phrase rocked me. 

I am not what I do

A query rejection is not a rejection of me.

I am not what I do

Shelving a manuscript does not make me a failure.

I am not what I do

When I'm covered in spit up and toddler crafts, I still more than Mom.

I am not what I do

Who I am is comprised of so much more than the activities that fill my day and the passions I pursue by night. I am more  than my job and my relationships. What I do to pay bills or to relieve stress or to entertain my kids are not all there is to me. 

It's so hard to separate the things I do, especially creatively, from the person I know I am. It's so easy to lose my identity in the struggle for success. In a place where stars are made and destroyed overnight, it's almost impossible to know get caught up in the race for recognition.

But at the end of the day, what I do is just that. I am still me.

3 comments:

  1. I was just talking about this today when someone I knew criticized someone else for being "just a baker." Sadly, our culture teaches us that the more money we make the more we are valued. This idea is shallow, closed-minded, and just plain wrong.

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  2. I should take that and put it on my wall when I start sending out queries. I love this, probably more than anything I've read all week. I always look forward to the things you post. :-)

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