It’s funny the things people will say when you enter a difficult situation. My family was uprooted from the upper-middle-class subburbs of a major metropolitan city with 300 days of sun at the end of Jr. High. We settled in a mill town in a small rural area of a state that sees 30 days of sun a year. The entire time my parents sang chorusses of “But you can remake yourself! You can be anything you want! You get to start fresh!”
Dude, I was 13. I was fresh. I had no idea who I was in the first place. Also, these people don’t peg their pants like we do and why aren’t they wearing neon?
Did I mention it was 1989?
Similar in a way only I could make the metaphorical leap, learning Java in grad school brought me to tears. I remember telling people I’d rather have sharp pins stuck under the bed of my toe nail for fun. “But you’ll refresh yourself! You’ll learn something so useful! You’ll be renewed!”
Did I mention it was 2004 and Java was the de facto language for All Things Ever? And oh, memorize this chart and create a program like pong. Thank you.
I feel the same queasy, uncomfortable awful when I’m asked to write a bio about myself. “You can be anything! Put your strengths out there! Say who you are but, you know, better!”
Oh god, so don’t write a professional bio that says I sweat more than most women when I’m nervous, forget about calling it the “glow” and oh, can you hand me a towel because I need to dab my armpits.
There is no cussing in a professional bio. This greatly limits the number of words I can think of to exclaim my powers.
I enjoy writing. Writing is, in my case, the way my brain organizes thought. I do it daily. I write to remember dates, bills, commitments. I write to create flow charts of thought from jumbled masses of uncertainty. I write because it is the one expression I have which freely flows above second guessing and doubt.
So why do I clam up in a sweaty gassy mess when I have to write a bio?
I’ve been meditating on my bio for the past two weeks. Literally. I’ll sit in yoga in child’s pose and try to picture what it should say. This is not as morbid, maybe, as trying to write your obituary. Only I have to be accountable for the words I write and I don’t get to say glowing things like, “The greatest accomplishment of Leslie’s life was catching the Rainbow fart of a Unicorn. For this, she won a nobel prize.” Instead, I have to live with the consequences of this one pass intro to who I am. I have an entire blog full of WHO I AM but here I sit, dumfounded, trying to tap out a 3 line bio.
Who knew asking such a small, normal task would lead to so much self inflicted doubt and struggle?
I’ll just be sitting here…