I am also a friend, and a community member, whose 'community' brings together the things that interest me. If the question was changed to this one - 'What do you do?' I would have to say, I write and I try to enjoy my life. They may have been expecting me to say what my profession was, as in, I'm a public servant, or I'm a stablehand, or some such thing. I've been both of those things and others, and both earned me money, the public servant earned me the most. (as a teenage stablehand, I wasn't paid much, but I was working for my dad, and didn't expect much money from it anyway - I was still at school).
This question of being labelled by how much money I earn is obviously not terribly important to me. If it was, I would write fiction of the kind that sold thousands of copies (or try to, anyway), instead of writing the blogs I write, poetry, and self-published bits of fluff, or things of interest to me and some others perhaps, but not well marketed. If I was a crack self-promoter, I may be able to make lots of money with the kinds of writing I do. I'm not sure that's the way I wish to go though. I have a chronic illness that slows me down somewhat at times, and that means I don't go well if I'm feeling stressed. (This is a proven thing, not just me having a whinge ...)
Living a stress-free life means I can live well, and that is certainly a good thing. I'm happy to be a good-enough whatever it is I'm going. Surely being Good Enough should be all I need to do? And sometimes other people tell me they find my actions inspirational, or say a poem I've written speaks to them in good ways. To those people I always say 'Thank you', and try to continue to act in ways that seem good to me. Good Enough is the starting point, and I hope Good Enough becomes Good, the more I do it.
So, thinking about who I am, I suspect the main thing about who I am, is that I am a person who tries to be a good person. Good in word and good in action too, for if I say I am doing good things, but don't look like I am, if my actions don't match my words, then I may not be a good person at all. Some good actions are unseen, a smile at a stranger that is given back to me by that person, that is a good thing to do, but I certainly wouldn't hang a sign around my neck proclaiming that good action to the world. I feel doing good things is its own reward, and when I look at my day and think on my own actions, I'm happy that I can almost always say inside that I have been a good person today.
The writing group I'm president of has a theme of Identity for the Festival we're holding this year, and that thing is why I began writing this blog post. I identify as a writer, and poet professionally, I suppose, I will never be a mega rich one of those, I am only know as these things in a small way, but they are important to me, and they add meaning to my life. I certainly don't in my heart, identify as being a 'disabled person' although I am that too. My disease is a part of me, yes, but it certainly isn't who I am. Who I am, goes well beyond multiple sclerosis, and is a limiting kind of label for me, although I'm aware some people are able to use their illness in an uplifting way, but for me, it is a minor part only of who I am.
That's it for this post, but I may go on pondering these thoughts for a while yet. Identity certainly was part of my first poetry collection - I am a survivor of child sexual abuse, and that is where some of my labelling of being an inspiration to others has come from. Being inspirational to other people who have also been abuse is one of the things I am most proud of. The journey from victim to survivor, and then thriver is a difficult journey and I wish my fellow travellers well.
So who are you, which labels are you happy to wear? After all, many people may try to label you, but we all have our own story, and only we, are the ones who should have the permission to apply our labels in life. What do you think? I'd love to know your thoughts about this ...