A few years ago I received some of the best advice from a mentor. It was something along the lines of, "State what you are and then put a period after it." Make it a statement.
When I heard this way of explaining myself, it clicked with me. I grew up having one focus outside of school, dance, so it was easy for me to state who I was whenever asked. "I'm a dancer," could be the statement of my life from ages 2 to 19. Of course I had other interests throughout those seventeen years, but none were taken seriously.
When the dance phase of my life stopped, I felt miserably lost. I remember a late night on the carpet of my dimly lit bedroom crying over a journal entry explaining my passionless feeling. Up until this point, a passion for dance defined who I was, without it I felt desperate to fill this void. In 2010, Tumblr was the place to start.
My account was full of short entries: writing about the life of a freshman in college taking herself too seriously, early selfies taken with my then-brand-new MacBook Pro, and an array of "inspirational photos". It was not groundbreaking, but it rekindled my passion for writing and sharing. Next, I learned about blogging. I deleted the Tumblr, started a Wordpress blog, and kept sharing my content on it for the next four years. It was the creative outlet I had been missing. Between attending school full-time and working a part-time job, I immersed myself in becoming a better blogger.
In school I switched my major a total of five times, each time thinking 'This is what I should be doing...right?' I earned a degree in Journalism and Advertising, but I never intended to build a career in either of those fields. I didn't see myself covering local or national beats, but I did believe I could write about whatever I wanted to. I still believe that now.
My parents always encouraged me to be creative (for goodness' sake they named me Colore'). I learned to write at an early age and it stuck with me ever since. However, I am sometimes too shy to follow this passion through. Why? The same fears that keep everyone from doing the things they love to do — I don't think I'm good enough.
When I am being true to myself, writing brings me confidence, but my fear often keeps me from sharing it. "Do people care? Is this good writing? I don't want to be mediocre. Does what I'm writing contribute or create more noise?" If you've seen the Pixar movie, Inside Out (which if you haven't, you should, because it is brilliant), then you'll understand when I say, "Fear is driving," when I back away from calling myself a writer.
In the past 18 months I've gone from calling myself a 'blogger and beginning calligrapher' to 'blogger and calligrapher' to 'calligrapher and writer' to just a 'calligrapher'. Don't misunderstand, I love my work as a calligrapher, but one of my core passions dropped off from my title and I'm not okay with it. Saying the phrase, "I'm a blogger" or "I'm a writer" makes me feel like a fraud now because in the past several months I've published a sad, small number of posts. Blogging has turned from being something I did regularly into a thing I do on occasion. It feels like a part of me has been missing, not from the Internet but from my life.
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
— Mark Twain
I think I found out my "why" a long time ago, but until now, I've been too afraid to do anything about it. To push myself a little farther than my daydreams with writing, I am adding the statement of being a writer back into my self-proclaimed title. It is the most honest explanation of who I am.