The Thrill of a Name Tag

Ecstatic, overjoyed, elated, thrilled, tickled pink, giddy with excitement – these words somewhat describe how I felt for at least five minutes of my day.

My friend (and often partner in crime) and I were invited to be guests at a Women Executives (WE) Author’s Luncheon in Downtown Charlotte today. Though this was an incredible experience, and it truly was, my tickled pink moment actually happened before the event was even underway.

We walked through the doors and were greeted by two nicely dressed women, obviously executives volunteering as greeters, and they gave us our name tags. I have worn many a name tag in my lifetime, but this one, well, it absolutely thrilled me.

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Do you see it? Can you see why it made me so excited? Yes, it included my name, and also identified me as a guest of one of the authors (a big thank you to Judith Sutton), but it also had something I had never seen before by my name – writer.  IT ACTUALLY SAID WRITER!

My friend, who also happens to be a writer and so many other wonderful things, was equally excited by her title, so we did what any self respecting guest to an executive event would do – we ran like middle school girls to the bathroom to take pictures. Yes, we actually did and just thinking about it makes me smile.

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I’ve been writing recreationally for over two years. It started as a request someone made of me, grew into a blog because my sister believed in me, moved to a writing class to see if I believed in myself, and has grown into a love and a regular part of my life. And now, writer was on my name tag for a roomful of women to see, for me to see. What an incredible moment.

The funny thing is, last night I was rehearsing what I would say if an executive asked me what I did for a living. Starting with I’m a writer seemed like a good idea since that’s what I’ve been doing lately, and then I would continue by telling her I have spent the last twenty-five years working with several non-profits. You know the kind of non-profit I’m talking about – mothering, homeschooling, tutoring, teaching, Bible study, Women’s ministry, Praise Team, caring for aging grandparents, volunteering, proofing and editing papers for my husband while he was working on his Masters and PhD, and on and on. I actually got to use my rehearsed line once, and it was received well.

You know, I’ve spent half of my years living this non-profit kind of life, at least a life not profitable in a financial sense of the word. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel towards my husband for making it possible. I have treasured these years and all the experiences. It hasn’t always been easy but it has been rewarding, fulfilling, life changing, emotional, and life giving.

I rarely give my non-profit life a second thought, that is, until I’m with people who have careers, the work-for-profit kind. Then I suddenly find my value begins to leak and my confidence starts to shrink.

Why do people deflate themselves through comparison? Why is it so hard to embrace and celebrate ourselves in the company of others?

Today, I was recognized as a writer, and believe me, that was a high point. But a nametag doesn’t make me a writer. A paycheck doesn’t make me one either. What makes me a writer is this, I WRITE. And it just so happens that I love doing it.

Whatever it is that you do, for-profit or not-for-profit, do it. It’s a gift. You don’t need a name tag for it to be true. And you don’t need a title or a big paycheck for it to be valuable. It’s worth comes from you, because you’re doing it. No two people do anything the same. Everything you touch is a one of a kind original.

Tomorrow morning when I pry my eyes open, I will remember I am a writer even if I don’t have the name tag to prove it.

31 dAYS

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