What that means for him and his clients isn’t relevant to this post; what it means for me is that he works with physicians and medical practices needing marketing campaigns and plans — and I write the words for all of the actual marketing materials, from brochures and doctor bios to folder inserts, postcards and websites.
So my client/colleague, whom I will call “Robert,” brings me in on these projects with all of his physician clients and, inevitably, on every first conference call or email, introduces me to them in a glowing way that always makes me feel good. (Not that I haven’t earned it…. )
But…each time, Robert says something that, because I know him and because I know it is coming, I brace myself for and bite my tongue in advance.
Each time Robert introduces me to a physician or another member of the practice, he gives me the title of “Creative Writer.” Sometimes he uses the word “Professional” there, too.
“And this is Allison Nazarian, a Professional Creative Writer I’ve worked with on many projects.”
“Allison is a Creative Writer who has worked on many marketing campaigns for my clients.”
Each time, I think it won’t matter. Maybe this will be the time I don’t care, I tell myself.
But as recently as this week, well, I still care.
Because the word “creative” feels, to me, like something that takes away every business-like, logical, practical and serious thing I have worked so hard for and tried to be.
“Creative” sounds to me like a hobby, an extra, a luxury. Creative isn’t business. Creative isn’t substantial. Creative is intangible. Creative is about art and being an artist, things I frankly never felt I had the time nor the talent to even consider.
When it comes to building an empire and doing amazing work and living my purpose and, yes, making lots of money in the process, creative just never seemed to be the description I was looking for. It never felt enough.
And, yet, this bristling I feel when I hear the word upsets me. Because I know that my creative side is bursting at the seams. I know that, without it, I am a shell of myself. A boring shell, at that.
I know that right now, during what I may very look back on as the most transformative period of my adult life, it is my right brain, my creative side, that is emerging. (Full disclosure: I had to ask/confirm with my bff Elizabeth on skype this morning about the left/right brain thing and which is which. She is my Google sometimes.)
At times, I feel there are different sides of me that I show/uncover/reveal to different people depending on the circumstances and situation. (Not surprising – we all have an element of this in our lives; we don’t act the same way with our grandmother as we do with our significant other as we do with our child as we do with the cashier at CVS. )
So when I am in “Serious Business Writer Mode” and my colleague introduces me as a “Creative Writer,” I feel like this mixing of sides of me just doesn’t work. I feel that someone is undermining my efforts at separation. I feel that my serious is negated by the frivolous. I feel, in the words of the great George Costanza that “worlds are colliding!”
While, yes, I am in flux and changing before my own eyes and emerging and discovering (like all of you, too), I am also still holding on to old parts of me, old ideas and old beliefs.
I am, for better or for worse, not ready to introduce Writer Of This Blog Allison to Writer Of Serious Medical Marketing Materials. I am not ready for Serious Clients of Allison to meet Allison Who Uses The Word Fuck In Writing Regularly.
Yes, these sides of me will meet. Well, actually, they have already met. They have been co-existing for years. Like a couple of intimates who are strangers (or strangers who are intimates?).
But, at least for today, I need to keep them separate. I don’t need to per se, but I am not ready not to. It takes work and effort that I’d probably be better off putting in elsewhere, but there you have it. I’m not perfect and I am complicated and I am multi-faceted and I do weird things for weird reasons. (Like you, no? ;))
The funniest or most ironic or realest part of all of this is that the people who really know me — the Real Me that is the sum of all of those different parts and more — love me so much I sometimes don’t even know what to do with it. They know all those parts — the good, the bad and the ugly (and the creative!) — and they love them all so deeply and unconditionally that it sometimes makes me wonder what amazing things I did in this life (or another) to deserve such love.
So here am making a case for showing all your sides to everyone, for letting only the real shine (and ditching the rest) and giving a big F.U. to stupid titles and perceptions — yet I am still creating a United States of Allison in which there are many entities living under the same flag but still separately.
Is it just me? I don’t think so.
So, why? I have no idea.