An exercise from a long ago desktop publishing class.
“Make yourself a business card in QuarkXpress. Your occupation can be anything you want. Make a statement, graphically. Make it you.”
— So and So, Journalist
— Such and Such, Designer
— Blah Blah Blah, Photographer
One word descriptors for a career identity.
The possibilities sent my brain into overload. Over analyzing a simple exercise into prophecy has always been one of my neurotic fortes. I can take any simple assignment and somehow turned into a life plan, like I was carving my fate into the granite of my tombstone.
Jumbled phrases in my mind’s eye appeared like endless words on reams of paper from a teletype. It kind of looked like this except it went on and on and on:
I could not see my identity clearly. I frantically typed. I sweat over the details.
My finished card ended up looking like my mom sat down and wrote a letter of recommendation for me in crayon.
Mismatched fonts of Times New Roman italic and Garamond bold. A hand drawn stick figure version of myself, you know, to give it that professional yet personal touch.
I named myself a company. PICTURE THIS. I thought this was sooooooo clever. Photography (one of my many listed attributes) = Picture. I bet no one had ever though of such thing.
The almost 40 year me is eye rolling as we speak.
Kimberly McCarty, Graphically Designing Public Relations Journalist Photographer Artist
My professor told me that I had to narrow it down.
“You will never get good at any one thing until you narrow yourself down.”
But what if I want to do everything?
I guess I am still asking myself that same question.
I want to be this sandwich. I want to be every version of this sandwich. The one before it is bitten into, masticated and ground into something else. The sandwich of every flavor and condiment. The Schrödinger’s cat of sandwiches. The sandwich of the possible. One that can be both roast beef and braunschweiger, harmoniously.
Sigh, how do people know who they are? How do they narrow it down? I read the obits of all the greats and they find a way to make ONE thing uniquely their own.
You become great when you narrow things down. Not everyone can be Da Vinci.
• • •
Dinner time in our house is our daily catch up time. A few weeks ago, we allowed Jack the floor. We promised no interruptions. For the next 30 minutes, an Andy Kaufman-esque type dialogue combining television commercial dialogue and his own blend of witty humor and facial expressions came at us in a fast and furious delight.
We nodded and laughed and listened and asked questions.
I have been trying to be more open to giving him an outlet for his expressiveness. I am still too protective. I still don’t trust adults. I remember many of the adults around me not being very open about expressing myself when I was a kid. One time, when I was about 9 or 10, I attempted to sing the entire Annie soundtrack on my gram’s back porch, my gram begged me to stop singing.
“People are gonna think you are crazy.”
I worry about myself being a dream stifler as well. I worry about harping on him for the things that make me uncomfortable. I worry that I won’t be able to discern when I need to correct him and when to let him be a kid.
My boy is high-strung. He acts out every thought that enters his head. It is both overwhelming and delightful. I worry other people won’t get him. I get too protective. I quell his enthusiasm more than I should.
I wish I worried less. I worry that I worry. I worry that my worry is going to crush his spirit.
“What goes on in that brain of yours?” We asked this at the end of his dinner dialogue.
He laughed as he spoke. “My thoughts are crazy! They make me think so many things and want to do so many things. Like, what if I grow up and want to dress up like a marshmallow and walk down the street and give other people on the street hugs?”
Jackie Rullo, Marshmallow
I have to figure out a way to allow him to be a marshmallow or a sandwich more often. Maybe I need to heed his vision, dress up like a marshmallow, and stretch out my arms and hug someone.
Or maybe in the most organic and healthiest of ways we should just try to be everything.