Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who Am I?

Last night in dance class, the teacher referred to us as dancers. And that immediately set off the little voice in my head. "I'm taking dance classes, but I'm not a dancer," it said.

This is my second year of classes. We are not limited to beginner moves at all. I have performed on stage at the Pike's Peak Center. The same stage that "real" dancers grace all the time. So why don't I think of myself as a dancer?

Most of the writers I know have gone through a similar experience. "I'm working on a book, but I wouldn't exactly call myself a writer." It's a big deal the first time one of says, aloud to another person, "I'm a writer."

Why is it so hard? Where is the line that makes us self-identify as something--writer, dancer, artist, musician, athlete?

Time? Do we feel we have to practice for years before we magically become that which we so obviously already are? I can say I'm a writer without flinching. Not so with dancer or musician. But I've played music most of my life. So it's not just time.

Payment? I've received a sum total of $55.00 for my writing over the last ten years. Not money.

Recognition? I took a couple bows, as part of a group, at the Pikes Peak Center, and a few other students have told me how fast I'm progressing. I had a couple solos on the clarinet back in school, and quite a few atta-girls in banjo class. So it's not the approval of others.

Self-perceived skill level? I think this may be the one for me. Not that I feel I'm all that as a writer, but I have built a certain confidence in my writing. Although I've played music a long time, I'm relatively new to my current instrument, the banjo. I struggle with a couple chords and still do not play fast. I seem to be a pretty quick study in dance, but I'm not confident as a dancer. Again, I struggle with some of the moves, especially the faster ones.

What is the trigger for you? When is it okay for you to identify yourself as [fill in your own blank]? Is it one of these things or something else?

1 comment:

D.B. deClerq said...

I'll let you know when I can say, "I'm a writer" without flinching.