I once made a list of all the I ams I was and all the I ams that I want to be. It was a two-column list in smallish writing. I’ve lost the list, but I remember writing, “I am a sheep owner.” Let me explain. I am a knitter. I started out with that icky acrylic yarn, but then I discovered specialty yarn.
When I moved to the East Coast, I felt the need to pick up a pair of needles and yarn. Little did I know there was a world of yarn just a click away on Etsy. I could get the kind that is hand-dyed, and hand spun. Oooh wheeeee… it was irregular in some places, but it added a certain je ne sais quoi to my knitting experience. It sounded magical in my head (i.e., shearing the sheep, picking through the wool, and using a spinning wheel), which brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to be a part of the wool to yarn process.
Anyways, in my brief search, I learned that it makes more cents (pun intended) to own goats than sheep because people like goat meat, but then I thought I couldn’t possibly raise goats to send them to the slaughterhouse and then I thought what about running a place that did yoga with goats? Can I get a namaste? Phew! And there’s a little sneak peek at Des’s thought process.
Yeah, I am NOT a sheep owner. I’m not too keen on the idea right now. The actual process sounds overwhelming. Give me the looped yarn that’s twisted all pretty because I’d rather get to the knitting.
I like the end process, please and thank you, but that’s not how processes work as we develop and grow as people, is it? It takes a lot of time and energy sometimes, it’s more than we like to exert.
The I Ams That Define Us
I had to give myself a pep talk the other morning because I DID NOT want to get out of bed. So you know what I did? I went through a short mental list of some good moments in my past. I am what I am because of the actions I have taken. It made my morning for some reason. I didn’t need to hear it from someone else. It was just me talking to me. It is easy to forget that we are our own greatest cheerleaders and our own biggest roadblocks. We don’t give ourselves enough props, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing great…even if the only thing that got you out of bed was that first sip of coffee.
I started calling myself a writer when I began my first class in my master’s program. I didn’t want to call myself one publicly, but I had to say it a couple of times to myself out loud and to my family members so that I believed that I was, if that makes sense. What made it real for me was seeing my name in the table of contents of a literary journal. Knowing that other people might read my essays besides my family and friends brings a smile to my face.
I have no idea what I hoped to look or feel like when I claimed those words in the I am form. Nothing really changed except for the fact that I put myself out there. My thoughts are no longer private. Writing for me is like putting a part of my soul out there.
As writers, we torture ourselves with our endless banter within that maybe what we have to say isn’t all that important or that no one will read it. We write because there’s this unknown force compelling us to write out loud.
I’m in the middle of sending query letters and receiving the dreaded rejections. I keep putting myself out there because I have things I must say. If I don’t, I feel incomplete.
In between the things that get in the middle of me and my laptop, I might not get 1000 words a day, but I keep on keepin’ on.
I’m trusting in the process.
Your I Ams Await
If you haven’t already felt inspired by my thoughts on proclaiming my right to say, “I am a sheep owner,” go ahead and make an I am list of your own. Write out the things you already are and the things that you want to be. You’ll be surprised at what you might tell yourself.
Underline, circle, highlight, or * any you’re interested in turning to a present-day I am. And then buckle down and get to it. Look at that. You just made yourself a goal. Don’t I ams sound so much better?
I’d love to hear what made the cut on your list, and please share it in the comments if you’re feeling up to it. Thanks for dropping by.