This one word empowered me to live like a boss. electricity distribution map

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From the moment you emerge from the womb, it seems like evvvveryone wants to know what you want to “be when you grow up.” I decided early on that I was “supposed” to be a professional working woman, like my mom. An amorphous “business woman,” a la Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. gas works park events I was good at writing, but never really trusted myself enough to be a novelist. So, the world of business seemed like an excellent compromise.

Although I never quite figured out what a “professional working woman” was, exactly, I carried around certain stereotypes of what this chick was all about – she’s classy, makes smart, savvy decisions, rarely makes mistakes, thinks logically and conducts her business (and life) in an orderly fashion, according to a Master Plan she locks down by age 30. She most certainly does not turn down two perfectly good job offers, spurning a chance at stability and normalcy.

I’m just a fat, furry fraud, talking a big game, playing at being an actual adult. arkansas gas prices But when the heat is on and the stakes are high and there are actual decisions to be made, I’m as inept as two teenagers groping awkwardly at one another in a dark dorm room while watching The Notebook (omg, that was such a weirdly specific reference, did she actually do that in real life?)

And it doesn’t matter if it’s my mom, my best friend, or a random stranger I meet on the playground. Whenever the “what do you do?” question surfaces (which it allllllways does), it’s a cue for me to start fumbling awkwardly through my lexicon, trying helplessly to string words together that make me sound more grown-up and “with it” (which is especially embarrassing, because I work with words for a living).

Y’all. ortega y gasset revolt of the masses As soon as the word hit my brain, the whole world made SO MUCH SENSE. electricity transformer health risks Suddenly, I understood why I’ve always felt much more at home among the artist community than the working professionals that I know. I understood why my work process isn’t linear, but ebbs and flows with the tides of my energy and inspiration. I understood why I hate getting caught up in the weeds of grammatical rules and syntactical boundaries.

My mind is relaxing into the thought that, as an artist, I’m free to operate differently. electricity bill calculator I can make my own (fucking) rules. I’m allowed to make choices based on nothing more than a gut feeling- in fact, it’s encouraged. eon gas card top up I can still totally run a responsible and professional business, but on my own terms, without looking over my shoulder for some mysterious supervisory approval.

I started (UNAPOLOGETICALLY) wearing bright pink lipstick and sporting super messy birds’ nest-esque topknot hairbuns and my old high school throwback cartilage hoop earring. electricity 101 I publicly parented my kids with zero fear of what anybody else had to say about it. I started engaging strangers with polite eye contact and pushing my cart at the grocery story without slumped shoulders and a constant string of “I’m sorry’s” for (God forbid) being there at all, in somebody’s way when they absolutely must have their Apple Jacks nowwww!!!

I stopped living to make everyone else more comfortable at the expense of my own self-worth, because I finally felt like I deserved to be here, to be seen and to give MYSELF permission to say and do what felt good to me. These were signs that my brain was done awaiting someone else’s approval in order to do whatever the fuck I wanted to do; it was letting go of its striving to perform as a responsible, “normal” adult would.

Because I am not normal. I mean, normal, responsible people wear deodorant and bras. They don’t eat cheese and beef jerky for dinner. They don’t pee with the door open in a public restroom, or smoke weed in the middle of the day (hypothetically). But society seems to give artists special leeway for such offbeat behavior. We shrug it off, because hey, “they’re artists.” They’re allowed to be unique. gas meter car They dance to the hum of their own hornets’ nests (or some shit).

When I look at the past several years through an artist’s filter, my behavior and choices aren’t erratic – they are perfectly in line with my beliefs about my unique potential, intention and values. As an artist, it isn’t (as) weird for me to describe writing as akin to giving birth; my work is the unpredictable, untidy labor pains by which I bring forth a message or idea into the world. This is a messy image not so readily accepted in the sterile, masculine world of a professional.