Do you ever look around at your life and think "What the heck happened? How did I get HERE?!" Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I love my husband, and as a general rule, I love my life, but this is so not where I thought I'd be at nearly 37 years old. This is what I have been thinking about today instead of doing laundry and between refereeing fights and taking all 4 kids to the doctor.
When I was in Elementary School, I wanted to be a writer (I also wanted to be a mechanic and a race car driver and a movie star). By the time I was a Junior in high school, I wanted to be a photographer. But after I graduated my parents squelched that idea, I decided that I wanted to be a journalist. I toyed with photojournalism. But that required art classes to teach depth and perspective. I took an art class. It did not go well. I wanted to scream at the teacher as she was pointing out to the class everything NOT to do on my sketch "Look I KNOW I cannot draw -- that is WHY I take pictures you moron!" But I ended up just quietly dropping the class, and refocused on journalism. I quickly discovered that my style was more creative than was allowed in journalism. I was told "If you can cut it and it doesn't bleed, cut it." And my thought was "Why would I want it to bleed?? Or even come close?? If I can get my point across better with 14 adjectives why would I only use 2? Quit trying to cut my freaking story!!" That's when I knew that I wasn't cut out for the "who, what, where, when, and why" of journalism, and switched to English and Marketing with a minor in Creative Writing. So, in Marketing and English, I excelled -- and in Creative Writing I fought with my primary instructor. She said that I "wrote like a Hallmark card." Yeah, Hallmark should be so lucky.
After college, I got really good at the whole Marketing thing and I got into outside sales. Then I ran into a moral dilemma -- Marketing operates on a singular principle: sell whatever you are selling to whomever has money regardless of who actually needs it. When I was making $5,800 commissions on sales to companies that didn't really "need" what I had just sold to them, I had a problem. So when I got pregnant with my first kid, I took off for maternity leave and never went back. I did get to be a sort of photographer for awhile -- I worked at The Picture People. I quit that job when they tried to make me wear a hat with a propeller on it. Yes, I am completely serious. My district manager asked me "Are you really going to quit over a hat?" To which I replied "Are you really going to fire me if I don't wear it?" Unfortunately, the answer was yes. I tried to explain that I was 32 years old and working at the mall and had a hard enough time getting the respect that I deserved without wearing a stupid hat that served absolutely no purpose except to freak out the kids and make their eyes all go up to the top of my head instead of looking at the camera. Nope, the hat stayed....I didn't.
So now here I sit amidst the chaos that is my everyday life with my laptop trying to write. Writing for you guys, but mostly for myself. A lot of you have told me how I make you all feel normal, but the truth is, its the other way around. I will recount some completely outrageous event that happened in my life and while I am typing and proofing it, I'll think to myself "Someone is going to call Child Protective Services on me for this" or "They are all going to think I'm a horrible mom" or "They are all going to think my kids are psychologically disturbed" but then the comments and emails come in. Both here and on my FB page, I am reassured that I am NOT a completely inadequate parent, my kids are not THAT abnormal, and I have yet to get so much as a phone call from CPS.
My point is, I wanted to be a photographer but instead I settled for a short-lived career in outside sales. I got to be a photographer (sort of) for a little while, and while I enjoyed (most of it) I realized that my parents were kind of right -- I enjoy photography but I don't want to do it for a living. But the ONE thing that has been a constant in my life since I was a little kid is writing. It may have been poetry, or songs, or a journal, or stories, but I was ALWAYS writing. If I had listened to my 3rd grade self who told me to be a writer after I won 2nd place in the State Poetry contest, I might have been a writer years ago. A real one. That gets paid and stuff. I'll be 37 in a couple of weeks and I have finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.
I'll be sure to let you all know if I ever grow up, since I saw on the Weather Channel today that they have a new show hosted by some guy named "Peter Lik" and I giggled for about 5 minutes which is a pretty good indication that I am not there yet.