just…

Yesterday was a day for running into old friends. Old friends generally mean awkward conversation and a lot of looking down for me, but really, I think I did a pretty good job at making conversation without sounding too ridiculous. Small talk and catching up makes me uncomfortable, and I think I realized why yesterday: I am really bad at taking ownership over my life.

I had a professor once that gave a class I was in some pretty sound advice. He said, “Never say you are just an English major. You are an English major, you should never qualify yourself with the word just.” Brilliance! It made such an impact on me I wrote it down. It’s really too bad I have almost no ability to live by it. I am just a stay at home mom. I am just a wife. I am just a writer of a web comic. I am just trying my hand at a novel. I am just thinking about getting my degree finally. I use that stupid little four letter word a lot. I think that, for the most part, it is because I expect people to look down on my life.

I don’t want to hurt any feelings by saying what I am going to say next, your life decisions are your own, and mine belong to me. We all have different goals and dreams. The next few paragraphs are simply me observing my own life and the way I think.

I qualify being a wife and mother with a just because I don’t see it as anything special. It’s an inevitability to me. It’s the same to me as saying, “I just breathe, the sun just came up, and I just keep getting older every day.” It’s just the progression of life. It was never my intention to grow up and be either of those things. I figured they would both happen, but at the same time, they were never goals for me. I was not the little girl that wanted to be a mom someday. Being a mom is something that happens. You have children, you become a mom, and you hope that they survive you. To me, it seems like more of an evolution than anything else. Now, there are some women that aren’t just moms, they are supermoms. They were born to be what they are… but that is not me.

Qualifying being a web comic writer with just, well, it makes a lot of sense to me. I just write it. Rhett does all the real work. What I do could be done by a monkey. How do I know? I’ve been told. I deserve less because I’m just the writer. Who makes the comic recognizable? The artist.

I’m just trying to write a book. It doesn’t make me any money. I don’t have an office. I may never get published. It isn’t a real job. These are the things that run through my head when people ask me what I’m doing. It’s really hard to say, “Well, I’m writing a book and I consider that to be my job.” Why is it hard? Because the regular response is, “Oh! Are you making money at that?” That is when I say no, they look at me like I’m insane, and I start to backpedal, “Well, I do other things too. I work at a nursery a couple of times a week, so, you know, I do make some money at something. Writing is really more of a hobby. Oh, did I say job? No, no, I didn’t mean it. I don’t really think I’m a real writer. I’m just working on something little. I’m really just dabbling.”

What a perfect word to make life easy. It makes it seem like I don’t think I’m better, stronger, faster, or more anything than anyone. I’m just this or that, nothing special. I don’t have to own anything I do, because nothing I do is that important. I need to start living my life outside of the word just.

So, what do I do? I write. A lot. I write this blog; I write a web comic; I am writing a book; I even write a little blog about the writing I do. I’m a mom. It may not be a life goal, but it’s still what I am and it’s hard! Kids are tough. No more just… now I just need to actually believe that.

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