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I Am...

"First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do." Epictetus

Those two words--I AM-- at the beginning of a sentence, a statement...can stop you in your tracks. They are powerful, maybe in part, in their bold simplicity, but I think more so in their utter and complete ownership of whatever is to follow. I am STRONG. I am IN LOVE. I am LEAVING. There is absolutely no equivocation. There is no mistaking.

But now, we're going to add an article. And a quick grammar lesson. Remember articles? A, An or The are all articles that come at the beginning of a noun statement. These articles fall under the broader category of Determiners. Determiners. Determined. The Oxford Language Dictionary defines determined as:

having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it. So, think about that I AM statement that you are going to make about yourself, add in one of these little determiners, and you've got yourself standing on the edge of a cliff ready to leap with a pretty bold statement about who you are. The good news is, you can practice by jumping off curbs, like this: I AM a mother. That's easy, no one would contest that. I AM a daughter. Yes, for sure. I AM a sister. I AM a wife. I AM a resident of Minnesota.

It's this next level of statements that gets tricky. These are those I AM (with a determiner) statements that boldly say I've made a firm decision, or come to a BRAVE realization about myself, and I'm resolved not to change it. These statements kind of chose you, in essence. I've realized over the last few years that I work well with applied pressure, accountability, and the bare truth. I actually kind of breathe a sigh of relief in that environment--it's part of my process, part of my make up. And the I AM (with a determiner) statement is a part of that process. For me, the first time I felt like I was out on a limb was with this statement: I AM a Runner. Might sound ridiculous to some, but it took me a looong time to muster up the ownership to say I AM a Runner. Next, came I AM an Athlete. My coach first said that to me, referring to me as " of his athletes who..."--I have no idea what the end of that sentence was. It shocked me to my core, and then I blew it off. It took many repetitions, many months of repetitions, of that word being used in reference to me before I had the strength to pick it up and carry it as my own. I AM an Athlete.

So, all of this leads to me to the I AM (with a determiner) statement that has always been, as long as I can remember; that I have dismissed and walked away from and buried and undervalued:


I AM a Writer.


Plain and simple; I took the leap. I don't know what winds will catch me, or what rocks I'll bump into, or if I'll have a soft landing or a crash landing. But I do know that standing there wanting to jump and not doing it, not owning it, was no longer an option. I AM a Writer.