Kristine: A Question of Identity
A few months ago, I found an old high school friend online, someone I haven’t seen or talked to since the summer after we graduated. To be honest, I never thought I’d connect with this person again, but the power of the Internet proved me wrong. It was a weird encounter and one that sort of sparked an identity crisis within me.
My friend had endured physical hardships but came through those hardships with amazing strength, accomplishing things that literally took my breath away. When I was asked what I’d done since high school, everything I said paled in comparison.
Not that I haven’t accomplished a lot. I have a college degree. I’ve done well in my field and professional life. I have a great husband and beautiful daughter. I live in a comfortable home. On most days, I’m extremely happy with my life.
So why did I freeze when the subject of my writing came up?
To say that I was “still working” on becoming a novelist after almost 17 years sounded…well, amateurish. When I thought about reconnecting with my high school friends, especially this one in particular, I dreamed about being able to proclaim that I’d achieved my goal and was a published novelist. But I couldn’t say that, and it made me feel like I’d failed in the one thing I was so passionate about all during high school.
Talking to my old friend was motivating in a strange way. The conversation pushed me to work even harder to finish my novel and jumpstart my career. If my friend could overcome enormous odds and accomplish so much, there were no more excuses for me.
Turns out my “kick in the pants” came from a “blast from the past.”