A few times recently I have been asked the question, "What do you do for a living?". I find myself grasping for a conventional short answer, Artist, Designer, Writer, Teacher, a simple one-liner that can be easily understood. But this inevitably leaves me feeling exactly the opposite, not really understood at all, fragmented, uncertain of how to explain myself and not really knowing which title to commit to in that moment.
I don't usually put too much stock in labels, but they do serve a certain purpose and convey certain truths. Especially where my kids are concerned, they want to know what I do - what I call myself, or more specifically what they can tell their friends I do. My oldest tells people I am an Alchemist, which feels pretty genuine and more all encompassing that any other title, I suppose. I can imagine the questions that follow that definition, and I wonder if his friends envision me in a black pointy hat and cackling over bubbling green potion. My youngest wanted me to come to his class to talk about my job as part of a Community Helpers unit. He asked me what my job was, and for simplicity sake I told him I'm an artist. His response was that I am NOT an artist because I have no paintings hanging in a museum. Even to my 5 year old I have to explain.
I guess for some things there are just no simple answers, and I'm okay with that. My work is outside convention and I just have to embrace that truth and all its messy layers, which are not bound to any specific medium or product... it's more about who I am in this world: a professional Inspirer, Love Practitioner, Gatheress, Wish Alchemist, Truth Ninja and Fire Tender.
And so much more.