Last fall, I wrote an essay and submitted it to Mothering magazine for publication–it was politely declined–and one of the submission guidelines was to include a short bio. More recently, I started working part-time as the office administrator for a local midwifery clinic. They have requested a bio and a picture for their website.
These two unrelated events have shown me that nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a dirty toilet bowl, can strike me with paralytic procrastination like a request for a bio. I might even have scrubbed a clean toilet bowl rather than write these bios.(Ok, not likely).
The bio for my essay did get done eventually, but the other one is still in extreme draft stage, probably due in part to the added difficulty of choosing a photo to go with it.
Why is it so bloody hard to write a bio?
I’d wager that part of it is that it really is hard to sum yourself up in just 2 sentences unless you’re one of those die-hard people that lives exclusively to throw themselves off cliffs using various types of sporting equipment. It seems easier to tell people what you’re all about when you’re extremely into stuff than if you’re a dabbler.
What about when you’re a mom of young kids that take up a lot of your time, energy and focus? What if you haven’t earned a pay cheque (other than maternity leave) in the last 4 years? What if you never had a career and your degree was in General Studies? What about when your hobbies are a melange of this and that, with nothing that really stands out as defining you?
I have seen introductions on various parenting boards that go something like this: “Hi, I’m Jane (32), wife to John (36), married on June 23 2001, mom to Jack (4) and Hannah (9 months),” and I vowed never to have a bio like that. I vowed that my bio would always be about more than the dates of when I got married and had kids. I vowed that there was more to me than that, despite the fact that my family really is that important to me.
Especially lately I feel that the things that were defining parts of me have slipped away and I sometimes don’t know what’s left in this in-between-projects stage.
Two years ago, my bio would have said this:
Alison lives with her husband in their converted 40′ school bus, Eliza Brownhome. She runs an online store selling homebirth supplies and advocating for midwifery care. She is mom to a 2.5 year old boy and is expecting her second child in July. She likes to play with web design and is learning to knit.
The current version of that bio goes something like this:
Alison lives in a house that she keeps tidy but only moderately clean. She has a beloved empty 40′ school bus growing moss in a friend’s yard. She is a wife and a mother to two kids (4.5 and almost 2). She drives them around in a mini-van. She wastes a lot of time on twitter and facebook and though she knows how to knit, she only finishes 2 projects a year.
Ok, so part of the problem is that I really am between things right now. Life has been in transition for the last two years and I was completely ok with waiting that out. But now, I see that we’re at a place where I can start moving again. And I’m faced with those Questions:
What do I want?
Who am I?
The other part is one of perspective and attitude. Though I was joking around, you can still tell that the second bio is written by someone who feels lost and doesn’t give herself credit. If I was looking at my life from the outside, would it be easier to see the themes? If I was looking at my days through a positive lens, would it be easier to talk about accomplishments?
How about you? Would you find it hard to write your bio? Do you want to join me? Here’s the challenge: Write your bio and post it in the comments or make it a blog post and give us the link. I want to know how you define yourself. And I want to know if you find that as hard as I do.