Saturday, March 22, 2008

To be Defined.

The definition of the word 'Define', according to The Free Dictionary, gave me this:

Define: (v)
1. describe the nature or basic qualities of; explain.
It also offered this:
3. To give form or meaning to.

I've been pondering lately, what defines us. Or, perhaps more accurately, how do we define ourselves. How do I define myself? Describe myself? Sometimes it's hard to forget that who we were yesterday, is perhaps, not who we are today. At what point do you let go of previous job titles, career choices, life decisions and embrace the new ones? Nature abhors a vacuum (anyone for a Far Side Cartoon?) and so it is impossible to stop being one thing without becoming something else. The actual moment of switching can be faster than a blink of an eye I suppose, but the actual accepting of, believing in, claiming... well, that can take much longer.

I've defined myself as many things over the years. I find looking back, that I have enjoyed being able to define myself slightly outside the expected norms of the times. Veteran (Air Force - drove a forklift). Phone-Jockey (pc/computer helpdesk). Network Administrator (had an office and everything). Place Holder (they gave my office to someone else). Wife. Mother (best job ever). Shepherdess (midwife,vet, slayer of bugs). Some of these job titles overlapped. I was a network admin and a shepherd at the same time, but when did I stop telling folks I 'worked in computers' and start telling them I was a shepherd? Not for several years. It is understood that when someone asks what you 'do', they are asking how you make a living, not about your hobbies. This is because according to society's accepted definitions for and of ourselves, it is our ability to make money that defines us. (Ask a starving artist who is flipping burgers so he can buy more paint if he's an artist or a short-order cook to see how wrong this notion is.) So, why don't we define ourselves by what we enjoy? Why can't we define ourselves by what makes us feel complete?

A few months ago, I was introduced to someone somewhere, in a locale slightly out of my element. Whoever had the pleasure of meeting me asked me what I 'did'. They were asking for my definition - my 'label' in society. A way to neatly categorize me into their understanding of the world. In a flash, without thinking, I answered "I'm a dyer." You could see the poor man's brain processing this, and being unable to produce a suitable place to put this in his mental filing cabinet, he repeated "A dyer?" I explained what I did, he nodded knowingly and understandingly, and a little condescendingly, asked me politely if there was anything else I did (obviously I had not understood his original question). I answered him with yet another puzzle: "I'm a shepherd." He gave up, nodded as if this explained everything and I think we probably talked about the weather for a few minutes. I suppose I could have said something fancy like "I manage custom pigment-bonding with protein and cellulose-based materials for a niche segment of the art industry."

It's just easier and more fun to say "I'm a dyer." (And a wife, a mother, a veteran, and a shepherd.)

For those of you looking for help with your computers, I'm thrilled to say I've been 'out of it' for longer than moses, and am just as lost as you are with that new Vista laptop. (I'm sure there is a support group for us somewhere.)

For those of you looking for help with your forklift/flightline cargo handling needs, I frankly never want to strap down another pallet of cargo again - though driving onto a C-5 cargo plane IS pretty cool. I am however, proud of the military service I did, and am proud to be an American Veteran. (They work hard, no matter what branch or who's sitting in the Oval Office - never forget what the commitment they've made really means.)

For those of you who want to discuss office politics.... that's why I don't have the office anymore. If that office career is what's important to you, then I suggest you try sucking up to your boss. I did NOT and look where it got me. (though I'd love to wear my muck boots into the office again, just once.)

For those of you who want to discuss motherhood, I am all there. And by the way, please breastfeed your kids, it's good for them. (I mean REALLY people - what do you think is better: chemically re-constituted soy proteins simulating foodstuffs for the child you spent 9 months creating, or milk that your body is continuing to create, that is based on the needs of that child that only your body can know that your child needs? Read that sentence again.)

For those of you who are in need of an animal midwife etc, I've got some mad lambing skills and animal husbandry trivia here to pass on, just give me a shout.

For those of you in need of custom pigment-bonded protein and/or cellulose-based materials (a.k.a. hand-dyed yarns), I'm your gal. And oh look! Here's the 500lbs of yarn to prove it:

This was the 'small' box of just over 100lbs (that's 2 layers of cones there and yes, some are missing cause they've already been skeined for dyeing).
Each of these boxes are 200lbs. Please note they made a stencil to label the box just for us :-)


Rabbitch said...

Nom nom nom.

I think I already said that. I also think I already said I'm happy it's not ~me~ dyeing 500 lbs of yarn but I have no idea where I said it ...

Angie said...

Great post. I've been asking myself a similar question and I haven't quite found a satisfactory answer yet. (What do I want to be next? is my question.)

Thanks for your service to our country! Wow, now that is a whole lot of yarn. :D

Anonymous said...

Strangely - I'm feeling a little deflated. It's not nearly as much as I was expecting! :) (I had images of it stacked to the roof all around you.) Oh well! VERY cool!!! and yay you - already started on it!

Happy Easter! (take some time today and celebrate!)

Astrid said...

I used to say I was an Early Childhood Development Specialist, AKA Mom. Now that my kids are are legally adults, that doesn't quite sound right. But since I'm actually making a little money from this yarn thing, I'm starting to say I'm a Fiber Artist, which is kinda thrilling.

Nancy said...

You know you're special when they make a stencil just for you!

Happy Easter from the Speech Therapist, Retail Specialist, Pre-School Teacher, Homeschool Teacher, Tutu-Maker, Mom

Anonymous said...

You are incredible. Everbody expects yarn mojo and jokes, and there you go, philosopher of life. I can't belief it.

Colleen said...

Not only is breastfeeding good for your kids...a woman who breastfed her kids has lower rates of breast cancer. If you add them up (there are many studies, and different types of cancer), it appears that breastfeeding lowers a woman's risk MORE than the diet and exercise put together!

Arianne said...

Ooooooh, I'm so excited! :)

I'm very patient when it comes to yarn. Yours especially. I'd wait an age for your yarn! It's worth it!

(But not TOO too long, ok? ;) Just kidding. Take your time!)

Caroline M said...

I run an after school and holiday activity scheme. Admittedly I have only the one child enrolled and instead of making money at it, it costs me a fair bit.

If I could just charge his father the $15 a day that after school care actually costs then I'd be up to my ears in yarn money. I do a bit of housecleaning work on the side but that doesn't pay either.