Jen, over at Denton Sanatorium, issued a challenge to her readers last week that intrigued me. Borrowing a concept from Eat, Pray, Love (a book which I have not read), she proposed that we all find the one word that defines us best. Today, she has done a rather impressive job of doing just that. I, on the other hand, am still struggling with the assignment.
Sometimes, when my mind is not clear on a subject, I can write myself into the answer. Historically, this has been a good way for me to cut through my layers and find what's most true. Sort of like peeling the onion, I guess, but using the keyboard and not the cutting board. You may consider this meandering post a final attempt to look beneath my outer edges and figure this one out. I'll begin by tracing my process to date.
The first word that came to my mind was mother, because that is the part of myself (and my experience) that I value most. Close on the heels of that thought came this one: writer. Because each of these represents only one component of who I am, however, I elected to look for words that could be applied more broadly. Almost immediately, creator and nurturer popped up for consideration. Nurturer went by the wayside pretty quickly, because it probably covers only about 3/4 of my nature (the "nice" part!), but I decided to hang on to creator, which is a quality that plays itself out in every aspect of my life. Having said that, it didn't seem quite specific enough to me as an individual. After all, we are all creators, if we allow ourselves to be.
So...I was still seeking. All of a sudden my mind turned to thinking about my mind (an exercise in self-absorption?) and how it works. Two words immediately leapt into my brain. Romantic realist. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, right? But it suits me to a T. I am both romantic as they come and a diehard realist. However, that's two words, isn't it?
Hmmmm. This was not going to be an easy task. Maybe I needed to try another angle. What was most important to me of all? Family, I answered. God. Okay. So how about believer? Or unifier? After all, I have built my life around what I believe, and everyone in my family insists that I am the "glue that holds us together." I do seem to find particular satisfaction in bringing people together and creating something unique and beautiful. (Oops, there's that other word again.) Am I still liking creator better?
Let's see. Perhaps I should spend more time with things others have said about me. I've been told I'm a good counselor, but that isn't a role I can necessarily embrace because I have to work so hard at keeping myself out of the way. (I'm a little too agenda-driven.) People have said I'm a catalyst in making things happen, but that's less true as I get older and my energy for combustion (heehee) wanes. I really love to evoke people's feelings...Is there such a thing as an evoker? (Feels like a bit of a stretch, doesn't it?) How about an anchor? I think members of my family might see me that way, but the Lord is my anchor, so I'm not sure I can claim that distinction independently. How about curious, then? Or impatient? I'm about as curious and impatient as they come. Except for when I'm not...
I think the layer is peeled, and I'm back almost to square one. Ironically, my word isn't as creative as I'd like it to be, seeing as how it's such a common characteristic. But it's the only one I can apply to every facet of myself, so I'll just go with it...
Creator. My word has to be creator. And I bring that creativity to every area of my life, as we all do. Every time I mother, nurture, read, write, think, work, speak, believe, learn, love, explore, counsel, unite, evoke, imagine, wonder, ponder or even sleep (hey, dreams count, right?), I am creating. I am even creative about the ways I misbehave, and there are more than a few, I'm afraid. (Arguing, interfering, grandstanding, over-functioning, avoiding...)
Yep, I own that word.
(and so do you)