May 6, 2013

What I Do, Who I Am

Day 6: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, "What do you do?"


Confession: I always feel a little startled when people define themselves solely by their jobs because I think it's important to be multifaceted and not be defined by a single aspect of your life. Even so, when I read today's prompt and thought about what I do outside of my job, it seemed so clear to me that while I don't define myself as being "just a grad student" or "just a counselor," they do represent higher values and goals that make up who I am. For me, the "doing" is very much tied to "being." I try to honor my values and identity by putting them into action. 

So what do I do? I think I can't answer that without also answering who I am. 

I love my family. I try to be a good daughter(in-law), sister(in-law), wife, granddaughter, aunt, niece, and cousin by showing my family I love them. I talk to my mom on the phone multiple times per week, I keep an eye out in bookstores for things my dad might like, and I remind the hubs to send his mom a birthday card. What do I do? I love and nurture.

I like to laugh. Humor is a big part of being in my family, and it's just not a normal family dinner if someone's not making goofy faces or speaking in an accent at some point during the meal. This has definitely translated into my friendships, as well, and I enjoy having fun and being totally silly with my friends, no matter how stressful things can get sometimes. What do I do? I bring light-heartedness to my relationships.

I'm a good listener. I adore my job as a therapist/counselor/whatever-term-you-prefer because I enjoy helping others and giving them a space to be whoever they are, no matter how dark and terrible they think they are. It can be extremely difficult at times, but ultimately I derive so much meaning in my life from serving in this role. Each glimmer of hope that we uncover together is worth a thousand times 
more than the rough patches. What do I do? I accept and value.

I'm a bookworm. One of my uncles used to tease me each time he came over our house because, as he said, I would be in the same exact position every single time he saw me: tucked into the corner of the living room couch, voraciously reading a book. This wonderful habit started to wane when I started graduate school, but I've recently launched myself back into it and have loved rediscovering the joy of reading truly good literature. What do I do? I float away into the worlds created by great writers.

I like to learn. No, I love to learn. My first day of kindergarten, I was wearing a bright pink Benetton shirt and penny-loafers, a stuffed animal in my arms, and a wide grin on my face. My dad snapped a picture of me beaming outside of the school, and then I realized that the other kids around me were crying and gripping their parents' legs, refusing to take another step into the building. This baffled me, as I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't be thrilled about starting school! That mentality stuck with me throughout school and made it possible for me to progress on to graduate school. I'm hugely nerdy, and I say that with pride. Education rocks. What do I do? I learn, read, study, and write. 

What do you do?

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