tonight i was watching "Confession of a Shopaholic" and something that Rebecca Bloomwood's dad said in the movie hit me, it actually is resonating in my head as I type. He said "the only thing that defines me is your mom and you" to his daughter as she tried to tell him that the RV that he bought was the definition of him.
The real reason this speaks to me is that I've been grappling with what defines me for about 3 years now. Since I left radio I have fought with the definition of "me." I always defined myself as a girl who worked "in the media." I prided myself on the fact that I have always known what musicians were the next big thing. I remember telling my dad, in the very room that I am typing this now, how Sarah MacLachlan would be huge. I have always had an ear for music that is uncanny. I have always felt connected to music. In college I thought I would be an architect, but truthfully my talent and passion drew me to communications. I ended up spending 8 years employed in the radio industry and I left nearly 3 years ago to go into education.
I went into education with the intention of becoming a teacher so that I could become a Communications Professor. I never intended to be at a HS or to be a Transition Coordinator in Special Education. I thoguht I was going to teach Radio to College kids. I hoped that I could help people find their way the same way that Estill, Bush and Batra did for me. I am so pleased with how well I did in the industry that I wanted to give back. I had no idea that I would find another path, and in turn struggle with that path. In fairness, I am a good, not great, but good Transition Coordinator. I truly love that I am helping people with disabilities find their way in the world. I feel gratified knowing that I am really impacting people who need me.
Hearing the line in the movie that John Goodman so eloquently delivered reminded me of the most important fact in my life...Olivia and Dave define me. In the end, when I die, it's not going to matter as much what I did for work, but it is going to matter how I loved my husband and daughter. I have struggled my entire life with thoughts of "who" I am. I've thought about my gravestone. I've thought about that fact that I do not want it to say that I am a good "Promotions Director" or good "Marketing Director". I want to be remembered as a mom and a sister, a wife, a woman.
I have always wanted to be more than what I do for work. Ironically, I am easily drawn into my profession, regardless of what it is. I strive to be a model employee, a hard working person. It's hard for me to not do my best and excel. I almost feel guilty for being good at my job now. I have no real training and spent 8 years working to be the best I could in radio...it messes me up to be so good at Transition. I feel awful even talking to other professionals about it...I feel like I should just keep my mouth shut...like I am not qualified to speak. I always find myself qualifing statments I make about students with "I've only been in education for 3 years," or "I don't have my Master's Degree yet, but...." It's just not right. I am either in or out. I have to be either about it or not about it...I know that I care for the students I oversee. I want them to have a great experience in the work world. I want them to feel like their internships are worthwhile. I am overwhelmed sometimes, even when I do my best.
I guess in the end definition is an individual thing. It's about what we take seriously, what we take personally, and what we internalize. It's what we believe we are. What we want to be. it's more than today or next week, it's about tomorrow and the day after that...and it's about the future.
I will never regret my definition as long as O takes the positive from it. I want her to be a good person, an honest person. I want her to keep her heart open, her mind open and to live her life to the fullest. I want her to put her head down each night knowing that she did the best she coudl each day. I will always worry about her, but will keep my heart open for her if she needs me.
Definition is fluid. beyond today but before tomorrow. i will always keep my heart open to O's definition of her life so that I can guide her as she wants me too. The truth in my heart reminds me to keep my definition loose and fluid...I believe in reinvention and change. I believe in today.