Losing my job has brought on wave upon wave of emotions and realizations. As much as I try to ride these out the best I can, a few thoughts are popping up repeatedly that are making me understand a few things about myself. The biggest of these is this:
I am a fraud and a liar.
I am, it is true. I always talk about positivity, embracing your creativity and passion, dedicating yourself to your soul, to you happiness. And I truly believe all of these things, from the deepest part of my heart. But I wasn’t walking my talk. I wasn’t listening to my words. I heard myself, and I would take a moment to say “Oh, good job, self. You wrote a blog post with your big secret! And now you can explore your passion with freedom” Or “You wrote 500 words today. You are on your way to being a writer” Or “You worked out today, you’ll be feeling better in no time.” But each time was temporary, a bubble in time I blew up to make myself feel like I was feeding my soul.
Actually, all I was doing was lying to myself. I wasn’t following anything, I wasn’t fulfilling any creative drive or passion-purpose. I was so entwined by life, by my job, by what I thought I needed to create a happy home. I let myself become defined by these, by my place in society, and the pressures of local culture. I was a design engineer with 10 years of experience. I was a support admin that had been working on a single program roll-out for 3 years. I was a provider for my children while my husband stayed at home to care for them. I was a headstrong working mother who had built a career – a damn good one – and was going to do whatever possible to maintain the self-imposed pretense of work/life balance.
That was the image I told myself was proper. I put the blinders on to anything the challenged this view, created another pocket of effort for creativity, patted myself on the back, then put on my working-mom-engineering hat on and went back to the grind. I didn’t dread going into work, after all. I enjoyed what I did, the people I worked with. That was so much more than what so many other hard workers have.
There is one question, however, that keeps forcing its way in, and I keep pushing it back out, too scared to know the truth. Who is Brittnie? Is she really an engineer with a two hour commute? Suddenly this image seems so distant, so … sour.
No, that is not who I am.
I’ve been lying to myself all these years. I am not those things. I am someone who can do those things. I am a creative being with the capability of doing those things.
I am not an engineer that writes.
I am a writer that can do engineering.
I am a writer.
I tremble with that statement. It is terrifying to let go of something so stable financially and respected culturally and socially to grab hold of something so loose and questionable.
But being a Design Engineer hasn’t been so stable, has it?
Time to let go.