Whenever people ask me what I do, I find myself hesitating and mumbling in the general direction of my feet. Granted this is how I answer most questions if approached by a stranger/friend/close relative, but this is a different shoe-gazing mumble. It’s not a ‘oh my god, someone is talking to me, activate panic mode’ kind of situation, it’s more of a ‘fuck, I hate my life, I’m not grown up enough to answer this question’ kind of deal.
How the hell am I supposed to answer that question? Structural Technician? Writer? Daydreamer? ‘What do you do?’ is such an arbitrary question. You may as well ask what shoe size a person is, or how frequently they visit the loo for numbers two’s. My job defines me about as much as my size nine feet or healthy daily bowel movements. To be honest I don’t even like my job – but I don’t think I’m alone there.
So should I tell people I’m a writer? I feel like a fraud before the words have even passed my lips. I write, but does that make me a writer? *jumps at the resounding shout of YES* But in that case I’m also an artist, a chef, a games tester, and a professional pooper. Just because I do something on a daily basis does not mean it defines me.
Ask someone what they do for a living and they’ll probably glaze over and search their memory banks for an automated response.
***work query initialised--protocol fuckfuckfuck activated--listing available responses***
*Well it pays the bills, doesn't it?*
*We're not so busy at the moment, what about you?*
*Another day, another dollar*
*I wish I'd gone into lap dancing*
***Selecting response most likely to terminate conversation***
I think a better question is “What excites you?”. Ask me that and I’ll most likely talk their ear off. The anxiety force field lifts and allows me to spread my wings and fly around the room like an excited budgerigar someone forgot to lock back in its cage. Of course that comparison also works with me depositing useless bits of crap along the way and annoying the hell out of my captive audience with high-pitched shrieks and squawks.
But look at me soar!
Look at that grin!
Look at my mood lift when I don’t have to talk about the 9-5 grind, work loads, waiting for the weekend, pay day dream nonsense.
You want to know what defines me and you ask me what I do for a living?
Bitch please, I’m a writer!