Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Identity

So, basically, I can't stand meeting new people anymore. "Hi, how are you?"... easy enough. Exchange a few pleasantries...Fine. But then, invariably, tensions begin to rise. Oh, nothing discernible to the naked eye. However, inside, I start to feel sick. And annoyed. And unsure. All of my insecurities come rushing forth, until I am having to will myself not to just bolt. As the innocuous words are spoken by my new "friend", my mind races to formulate an answer to the question that has plagued (and mocked, and ridiculed and tortured) me for the last 15 years.

"What do you do?" 

What do I DO? What kind of asinine question is THAT? You mean, what is my job? Do I have one? How do I spend my waking hours? What is my chosen destiny? How many lives have I saved? 

The "real" answer, I guess, is quite simple. I'm a mom. Some days, not a very good one. A wife. One who can hold a grudge for years. A caretaker to the pets that seem to be running my life with increasing demand. But how do I say all of that with a straight face? It's just so... unglamorous. So ordinary. So not good to say someone you are meeting for the first time.

But it's not that I feel undervalued or that I would rather be doing something else. Or maybe I do and I would. I guess the reality of being a cutting-edge fashion designer or the lead singer in a girl band is slim. Did I set those dreams aside to have a family, or was I too scared to pursue them in the first place? And what on EARTH am I to do about it NOW? So much to think about, yet so few people that actually care. 

Lesson here? If you meet me on the street, stick to the weather.



21 comments:

Beadiful Things said...

My God, woman, this is the story of my LIFE! I absolutely HATE going to my husband's firm Christmas parties (and summer clerk shindigs) because of that very question. The worst part is that when I tell them, sheepishly (and why am I sheepish?), that I'm a homemaker or a mom or a domestic engineer (we need to come up with a new vernacular here), they immediately get a panicked look in their eyes and start looking for the nearest out. Ugh. I'm interesting. Really, I am.

Young Momma said...

You know I actually remember reading this when you posted it!! Have I been following you for that long?! LOL I'm off to look for my first... uhm,... "first" entry. lol I may post a few... let people pick and choose. I'm bored. ;)

Honey Mommy said...

Why is meeting people so awkward? Maybe it's the "script" that we seem to think we have to follow... talk about the weather, jobs, etc. We should come up with something more interesting to ask/talk about when we first meet people!

Beth said...

I used to be incredible shy. Or maybe I wasn't - but still I didn't like talking with people I didn't know because I was afraid they'd realize there was something wrong with my ears. There were many answers I gave to questions not asked.

Funny how we rely on a JOB to identify us when really it speaks so little to who we are.

Debbie said...

You just jumped right in with your writing voice! Good for you. This is so fun - thanks for thinking of it.

Under the Influence said...

I am the same way. I kind of feel like "what's the point?" for a variety of reasons that are too numerous to go into. I am getting better though, and have found many new and dear friends over the last few years.

Straight to Your Hart said...

I love it when I get asked that question ONLY because the look on their face is priceless when I tell them I am a SAHM.

Imagine if I said I worked on the Poop deck for the Waste management company?!

CaJoh said...

I used to pride myself on the fact that "I could talk to anybody" the only problem with this is that I can't go beyond small talk— nor can I impress them enough to want to talk to me again.

I think you have grown since this post was first written.

Bee and Rose said...

You speak for alot of people, lady! Look how far you've come since this post! We seek you out for your small talk and wisdom!

Hugs to you on the First Post Friday!

jori-o said...

So let's start a girl band. I can totally rock chopsticks on the piano.

Lee of MWOB said...

Oh Deb - that's a good first post. So you. I agree with Debbie who said you jumped right in with your writing voice - it sounds like YOU. The YOU I know - or kinda know - or will know better I'm certain of it.

Little did you know when you hit publish you were about to add a little something to your answer to "What do you DO?"

You're a blogger/writer. Not quite as glamorous as a chick in a rock band but...close. :-}

stefanie said...

Wow. You really did jump in. My first one was so boring, well not just the first.

I think you can say you're a writer. Yes, you are.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

You can always say you are a secret agent! They'll never know any different because it's secret!

Eudea-Mamia said...

So good!! You're a: cheerleader, a caretaker, a glass breaker, a hot chica, a good soul, a fashionista, a dollar-bill wearing wife, a kick ass mom...

But why put yourself in a box? You're Deb!!

THAT's what you do! And you do it well, my friend. Em

Brenda Jean said...

Oh my sister of the kindred spirit...we are so alike:)

Jenners said...

And now your poor little first post has some love! I love what you said in your intro about how you just started right in ... like you were in the middle of a conversation! So funny!

And I totally understand where you are coming from here. Sometimes I wonder "Who are you? Is this what you really are going to be in life?"

jill jill bo bill said...

Madeline Khan said it best in Young Frankenstein to Terri Garr, "So just what is it that you do do?" That phrase alone is why that is one of my favorite movies. You must rent that this weekend. And I don't care what you do or don't do. I just love ya!

Lindsay said...

How interesting that your first post is pretty much the same as my "first" post? OK, probably not THAT interesting, but I feel we are kindred spirits here. I know that as a SAHM I do more jobs than people imagine, but I HATE the "you sit around all day watching soaps, eating bon bons and taking naps" look that I feel I get when I tell them. Great first post :)

dana wyzard said...

I loved reading your first post and I want to thank you for coming up with the idea. After a year or two (8 in my case) our blogs become less about who we ARE and more of who people WANT us to be.

When I worked, and people asked me what I did, I was SO PROUD that I was WORTHY. I had an ANSWER! I was a useful person. Now? I can't say "I blog" because people either DO, or think that only idiots DO.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY!!!!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

this is so funny - I once posted a small statement about why do we have to become friends with the gals sitting around picking up the kids from school . . . waiting at ballet or soccer . . . I just don't get it - AND then today at my son's VDay party - 2 other moms - right off - "Hi, I'm so and so - What do you do?" me: hugh?? nothing - I don't work!

Tabitha Blue/Fresh Mommy said...

Love that lesson.. I think EVERYONE should stick to that, no matter what they do! Great post, and well-written, in my opinion. I like writing that's real like this!

:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com